12 Valentine’s Day gifts that are actually interesting

From space-scented candles to huggable bouquets.
Space candle
Probably the only chance you'll get to smell space. Cool Material

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Please do yourself a favor this February and prepare in advance for Valentine’s Day. You want a gift that’s as interesting and cool as your partner is, so don’t wait until February 12 to frantically buy something on Amazon Prime. Below, our favorite picks for your romantic pal. If none of these catch your fancy, we’re still pretty sweet on our list from last year.

Plush Bouquet

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A bouquet of roses is great and all, but a crepe-paper-wrapped group of planets, Star Wars figures, or corgies is way better—and less thorny. The Plush Planetary bouquet is 19 inches tall and comes with 10 celestial bodies—including fan favorites like the Sun, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto. $40.

Alternatively, the 18-inch-tall Star Wars bouquet features nine long-stemmed plush characters. Your valentine can enjoy snuggling up next to you, plus characters like BB-8, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and a Porg. This bundle is $80.

Oreo Subscription Box

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With this subscription, you or your loved one will receive two boxes of Oreos, an Oreo gift (I just got some comfy socks), and recipe card for an Oreo-inspired dishes. Choose between 3-, 6-, and 12-month subscriptions. The three-month box is $60.

PopSci T-Shirts

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Unambiguous fact: There’s nothing sexier than a human person with a vintage PopSci cover on their torso. Over on Threadless there are five design options—available in sizes for men, women, and children—and multiple fits and colors. $23-$27.

Minimal playing cards

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If games are your thing, consider these classy-as-heck playing cards, which are totally stripped down to their essential parts. Nothing like a romantic night in of strip poker or—the steamiest of all games—cribbage. Place your bets and make sure they get all the hearts ;). $10.

Chemist's Cocktail Kit

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Make your own love potions to shake up the night and not cause a stir. This cocktail chemistry set comes with a 500ml flask, six borosilicate glass test tubes, a glass stirring rod, and a stainless steel shaker and strainer. All the pieces fit in an included powder-coated steel rack. $20.

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Why say “I love you” when you can instead present this NSFW book about gingerbread cookies? $10.

Sony Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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These Sony quick-charge headphones have a 30-hour battery life, swipe-triggered controls in the right ear to control the volume and skipping songs, and have a Quick Attention feature lets you temporarily lower the volume of your music by placing your hand on the right earphone. The digital noise cancellation has Smart Listening that detects your environment adjusting how much ambient noise you hear and even self-adjusts the sound levels depending on changes in atmospheric pressure.

Noise-cancelling headphones are great gifts for two reasons: (1) You can be super sweet and create a playlist of romantic songs to go with it and (2) sometimes your partner doesn’t want to hear you yell at your friends while you play video games on Steam. Noise-cancelling headphones have sustained many a relationship. $348.

Secret Stash Flask

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The Secret Stash stainless steel flask comes hidden within the pages of a fake book. Choose between three fake book jackets—The Vampire Desires, Sherluck Holmes, and How to Hide Your Stuff—or leave the spine of the book naked with the title “Biting Your Neighbor’s Horse: and other confusing euphemisms.” The flask holds six-ounces of liquor. $40.

Hot chocolate pops

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Snuggle up on the couch with two glasses of steamed milk—almond and other dairy alternatives work—and stir in one of these hot chocolates on a stick. The set comes with three flavors: peppermint, peanut butter, and salted caramel. $20 for three pops.

Space candle

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Candles are a Valentine’s Day stand-by, but these ostensibly space-scented soy wax candles are the only ones that make for a genuinely interesting gift. With one candle, you get 80 hours of space smell—a scent determined by interviews with astronauts. $25.

Sticky notes

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The best foods are salty and sweet. The best gifts are too. If they remembered to clean up the dishes after breakfast, leave a sweet XOXO sticky note show your appreciation. If they didn’t put down the toilet seat, you fell in, and then you decided to drink the last can of seltzer, let them know with one of these Sorry, I’m Not Sorry notes. $8

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

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There might not be a recipe for a successful Valentine’s Day, but there are science-backed ways to make a romantic dinner or breakfast in bed. Included in the more than 900 pages of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science: a deep dive into scrambled eggs and a 21-page spread on Thanksgiving foods. $34.

Retro video game puzzle

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If you’ve got a soft spot for puzzles or retro video games, this 26″ x 19″, 1,000-piece puzzle will provide hours of quality time together. After dinner, pop open a bottle of wine, put on your matching thinking caps (you guys are so cute), and start puzzling. $19.

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Billy Cadden Avatar

Billy Cadden

Senior Director of Commerce

Billy Cadden is the Senior Director of Commerce for the science, tech, and outdoor group at Recurrent. He began working as the Commerce Editor at PopSci in 2017, where he spent 5 years diving deep into every product he could get his hands on. Cadden splits his time between Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and Woodstock with his dog Wanda. He spends his time seeking new coffee shops and writing for his solo music project