What do blueberry pancakes and rhinestone Hello Kitty bracelets have in common?

Nothing… except everything.

Valentine’s Day can be rough for guys.

I know this because as February nears, I can expect the same Facebook and/or text messages to enter my inbox before Super Bowl invites are even received…

“Hey Annie, I was wondering if you could help me with Valentine’s Day for (insert friend’s name)” – her semi-boyfriend, boyfriend or husband.


Every year I provide the same trusty ground rules with gift suggestions catered to my girl friends, despite the fact that the last time I can recall having a valentine was Sophomore year of college. My college boyfriend made me heart-shaped blueberry pancakes and gifted me at rhinestone Hello Kitty bracelet before 9 a.m. Microeconomics.

Most would consider this a miss; however, the idea of a super masculine guy seeking out a Hello Kitty bracelet to fuel my Sanrio obsession that he actually quite hated, made me smile. That day he could do no wrong, and most importantly, he followed two of the most important Valentine’s Day rules for guys:

  1. Appear prepared no matter what the plan is – whether it’s waffles or a hot air balloon ride
  2. Make her feel special – whether it’s a $10 Target find or Tiffany’s

VDay Gift Guide for Guys2

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Guys

To cut the decision-making down for you, I’ve provided a simple Valentine’s Day decision tree and suggestions.

Note: There are edge cases, including guys who love her but have low standards and guys who just met a girl but think they’re married. You get it though.

V-Day Gift Guide for Guys


Below are suggestions for card, dining, flowers and gifts depending on where you fall.


TIP: The V-Day text could also be substituted for a fun, punny valentine. Because cards are always a good idea.

  1. Funny, punny valentine
    Meri Meri Pizza Love Notes Set, $8
  2. Heartfelt card
    Bow Chicka Card, $5.50



TIP: Just look prepared. Don’t ask her what she wants to eat. You should know her by now (or message one of her best friends on Facebook…) Just decide and tell her where you’re going or what’s on the menu.

  1. Dinner reservations: Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year decide ahead of time if you want to make reservations for the Saturday before or that Tuesday. Choose somewhere that you know the food will be good based off recommendations or Yelp reviews.
  2. Home-cooked dinner: Purchase and prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time. If you have to order part of the meal – like a steak – that’s fine too as long as it’s ready to go.
  3. Home-cooked breakfast: The best way to start Valentine’s Day can often be as simple as coffee and pancakes.

VDay gifts



  1. Be original if you don’t know what she likes. If you do, stick to her favorite.
  2. When in doubt, send them to her office. If you don’t know the address, look it up on whitepages.com. She’ll feel super cool and won’t be jealous of Gretchen in Accounting.

Some great options:



Below are examples of gifts that girls would love.

Shared Experience: Purchase a pass for two to an upcoming event or activity, like The Magic Castle or Malibu Wine Safari

Go-To Gift: Watch. It’s not quite jewelry and a staple piece that she wouldn’t normally buy herself. Opt for something different, yet classic, like the Jord Frankie watch.


Heartfelt Gift: Is there a photo you took together that she loves? Or a trip you recently went on? Order a print or photo book for an unexpected gift.

Fun Gifts:

  1. Beach cruiser or city bike, like this PureFix Duxbury Cruiser, $279
  2. CucinaPro Heart Shaped Waffle Maker, $39.95

And perhaps have the ingredients handy for some morning waffles before she goes to work with fresh blueberries or strawberries. Because even though my college boyfriend could be off-track and insane most days, he was spot-on with that morning. And I admittedly still have that Hello Kitty bracelet stashed in my keepsake box.