20 Fun & Thoughtful Gifts Under $50 for People Who Hate Valentine's Day
Love it or loathe it, V-Day is coming at you full throttle. So, in the hopes of placating the bitter and begrudging among us, we’ve pulled together the absolute best Valentine's Day gifts for people who, well, hate Valentine’s Day.
Like with tinned fish or Pete Davidson’s tattoos, Valentine’s Day is divisive. On the one hand, you have your V-day devotees—most of whom have long term partners, some 20K Instagram followers, and an affection for bad puns (we’re not bitter, we swear). And on the other hand, you’ve got your sour-toothed a-romantic folks who typically detest all the saccharine, commercial novelty circulated on the 14th of February under the guise of “love.” But here’s the thing: Regardless of which camp you’ve claimed, at this very moment, Valentine’s Day is coming at you full throttle—and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Whether you’re single, married, coupled, loosely dating, monogamish, swinging, courting, decidedly misanthropic, et al, you’d better gear up for the most cloying of Hallmark holidays. Which means—you guessed it—gifts.
Fortunately, though, the great, glorious, commodified universe of Internet Shopping has plenty to offer even to the Valentine’s naysayers. So, in the hopes of placating the bitter and begrudging among us, we’ve culled together a list of the absolute best Valentine’s day gifts for people who, well, hate Valentine’s day—all of which fall under $50. Shop the below, save your hard-earned funds for more noble purposes, and make a fellow V-Day oppositionist marginally less bitter.
In lieu of human contact: A killer skin contact (orange) wine aptly titled “Post Flirtation” from capital C-Cool natty wine maker, Martha Stoumen. It tastes like the ocean, pairs well with Dim Sum, and is arguably far more fun than actual flirtation.
We’re not saying that puzzling isn’t sexy. We’re just saying it’s not as sexy as, well, sex. Keep things neutral with this design-forward jigsaw from hip, artisanal, DTC puzzle purveyor, Jiggy.
There are few gifts—save for perhaps a dead pigeon or a carton of sour milk—that are so deeply, pointedly anti-romantic as this 1246-page tome on the rise and fall of New York City super villain, Robert Moses. Your Valentine will certainly not read it, nor will they feel any warmth towards you for offering it up. That said, they will find themselves in possession of an extremely reliable paperweight.
Band aids! For emotional wounds! It’s a metaphor! Plus, these adhesive numbers, unlike your drug store iteration, come decorated with kitschy illustrations by Yoshitomo Nara.
What could be more romantic than a guide to cooking for one? This cookbook from celeb chef Anito Lo comes rife with dishes more sating than human intimacy—and it will surely warm the cold hearts of hungry friends and lovers.
Do the truly selfish thing this V-day, and gift someone you care about this charming, corked tube letter-writing kit from Jen Pearson in the hopes that the friend/lover/colleague/acquaintance in question will use said tools to craft you a love letter you can later burn for pleasure.
Coasters imply a certain maturity. They say, “hey, your furniture is far too nice for me to spill wine on.” So, this Valentine’s day, tell someone you love “I respect your decor” with this set of bright, geometric coasters.
If you’re in the market to send some mixed signals, this dishware from Italian design firm Seletti is the perfect vessel. Sure, it says “I love you”—but the sentiment is spelled out in organs and bloody instruments. Decode that however you like.
For the truly, deeply, emphatically romance opposed, the only appropriate gift is this heart-shaped pinata—which allows embittered users the necessary pleasure of swinging at a red, thematic object maniacally with a baseball bat.
If you feel inclined to a) inflict emotional pain on someone in your life, or b) assist them in their own masochistic tendencies: Might we suggest gifting them Phoebe Bridgers’ most recent album? Bonus point if it’s on vinyl.
In the interest of alignment: A jar of half-sour sentiment in the form of half-sour pickles.
Whether in service of celebrating, or drinking away the pain, the 14th of February calls for a martini (or seven). And as it goes in the bible, proper martinis must be made with gin. So, in the spirit of gift-giving, you might as well opt for something as aesthetically pleasing as it is tasty.
Of course, if there are martinis involved, they simply must be sipped from designated martini glasses. And while you could read romantic overtures into this set of twin, sleek vessels—you could also shut up and drink your martini.
Even for the non-believers, Valentine’s day does provide a true wealth of exceptional deals on desserts. So skip over the CVS-branded heart-shaped chocolates, and instead take full advantage of your opportunity to mainline these rugelach-croissant hybrid treats in rose flavor from the ever-beloved Breads Bakery.
Indie candle brand Mise En Scent makes a number of different candles with chic, typographic movie genre labels. And while they sell a plenty cute “Rom Com” edition, for the sake of St. Valentine, you might consider the “Macabre” version, instead.
The thing about socks is this: Everyone is eternally in need of them. They’re undeniably pragmatic. And as a mid-February gift, high quality socks, like this stylish pair from sustainable L.A. vendor, LACAUSA, will certainly charm your recipient without wooing them.
Taxidermy superstore, Evolution, has plenty of beaver skulls and stuffed jackalopes in stock, but if you’re looking for something ever so slightly more palatable from the weird, darkly enchanting menagerie, go for this anatomical human heart necklace cast in pewter.
Here is a gift absolutely noone has ever wanted: A miniature replica of the requisite, floppy, mascot you generally see guarding the gates of car dealerships to further clutter someone you love’s already chaotic desk surface. It says “I think about you” but not exactly, “I think highly of you.”
For those who still do want the sugar-loaded pink-frosted, deliciously poisonous treats that come with Valentine’s day—but without all the mushy sentiment—look no further than these made-to-order Anti-Valentine’s day cookies available on Etsy.
Save for the fact that this stellar Katie Kimmel sweatshirt comes in a delightful shade of Pepto-Bismol pink, there is minimal romantic fanfare that can be read into the stock phrase, “Lentil Soup.” That said, this is the coolest outerwear we’ve ever seen, and anyone would be lucky to wear it.