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Valentine's Day gifts starting at $10: 11 unconventional gifts for her

Time is running out. Here are some quirky choices that go beyond the usual candy and flowers.

Rebecca Fleenor Former Project Manager
Rebecca Fleenor was an editorial project manager. She enjoys all things wacky, techie and entertaining, and she's usually off binge-watching films and television shows (and writing them in her spare time).
Rebecca Fleenor
6 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

Valentine's Day is Thursday. That means you're officially late when it comes to giving gifts. You're thinking: What can I get her that'll show I care? If you have a girlfriend or wife in your life, and no clue what to get her, never fear! Here's a Valentine's day gift guide for her. And -- shout-out to my fellow procrastinators! -- you can get all of these gifts all on Amazon Prime, but at this point, you're going to want to go ahead and pay for next-day shipping. (Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the resulting sales.)

Now, you won't find flowers or chocolates on this list -- not that they're a bad idea, I'm just sure you can figure out for yourselves. Instead, I've collected a few of my favorite things: Every single item on this list I have purchased for myself or was once gifted to me, so at least one human female can vouch for their awesomeness. 

A few Valentine's Day gift buying tips

Before we begin, a few general tips:

When in doubt, buy it in black or dark gray. Even white is controversial. Please apply this to advice literally everything you purchase for another human being.

Don't cheap out, especially on candy or flowers. High-quality candy is actually a reasonable Valentine's Day gift. But if you are on a budget, check out Rick Broida's Survive Valentine's Day 2019 on a limited budget, which has some thoughtful alternatives that won't break the bank. 

If you don't know what to buy, opt for two small themed gifts one more expensive gift. Two gifts on theme (like a cocktail-making book and a bottle of alcohol) appear like you put more thought into the gift than just a single random one. Likewise, don't think getting any one item below is the beginning and end of your gift journey.

Know the one you're with -- and adjust accordingly. All women love flowers, chocolate and scented candles -- except for all the ones who don't. All women love long walks on the beach -- except those who prefer to ski. All women hate video games -- except the ones smoking you in Fortnite. You see what I'm saying: Make sure you customize your gift ideas to her, not to some generic stereotype.  

To that same point: Keep in mind that I opted not include more intimate items on my list, because I believe you should probably be making those personal purchases with your partner. But if you feel so inclined, I would be remiss if I didn't mention womankind's greatest "back massager."

With those caveats in place, let's get to my choices -- present from most affordable to priciest (don't worry, I stopped at $150).

The last season of Game of Thrones is almost here and I cannot think about anything else. You could also get her a Daenerys figure, but Cersei in this fierce Season 6 finale outfit would be my personal preference. Then your girlfriend can display Cersei on her desk at work to hopefully scare away anyone who tries to bother her.

As we get older, we learn the real truth. Socks are the best gift. However good quality socks can be pricey and not everyone feels comfortable spending that much on a single pair of socks. Most women need to wear no-show socks and most no-show socks are terrible. They always slip. Except Smartwool socks, which seem to have magical powers. I walked over 20,000 steps across Disneyland in Smartwool socks and they never slipped. Buy a pair for literally every single woman you know.

Buying skincare for women is challenging because all humans have wildly differing skincare needs. If you opt for a variety pack, she can try different ones depending on her skincare preferences. These pair nicely with a good candle or bath products.

It took me years to convince my ex and my mother that all I wanted for any holiday was a Lego set. Spoiler alert: Lego sets are super-fun to put together and display. As a child, I felt very left out of the Lego. But now as an adult I've fallen hard down the Lego well. The cool thing about Lego is it's partnered with so many properties that it's pretty easy to find a set in the fandom your partner enjoys. Dinosaurs? Star Wars? Harry Potter? Get it!

I just want to be a fancy lady drinking my fancy cocktails. And maybe I won't actually make any of them, but I will proudly display my cocktail books on my bar cart before making myself a basic vodka tonic. Plus cocktails and cocktail accessories are easy way to try out "themed" gift giving. Consider pairing a cocktail recipe book with a bottle of bitters, a muddler or a nice bottle of medium-shelf alcohol. (Or top shelf. You do you.) If she already has this one, the sequel -- Gone with the Gin -- is also a good choice.

This night light is probably my all-time favorite purchase from Amazon. Sure, there are probably fancier and pricier versions you can look into, but this affordable night light has given me so much joy. Look, I live in a big city so I don't get to see many stars. Sometimes it's nice to throw on some music and cuddle up with your partner under the shiny moving lights. Who doesn't love shiny things? (CNET has also verified that I'm not a cat.)

Does your girlfriend own a billion sunglasses? If so, she may benefit from a sunglasses display case. While organizational tools don't always feel like a romantic gift, I can't tell you how hard I'd swoon if a guy told me, "Hey, I really like your sunnies collection. Why don't you show them off?" Plus, I never lose my sunglasses anymore. Oh, and this one is easy to buy in tandem with a cool pair of sunglasses.

Some women love shoes and some women could care less about them. Either way, often we find ourselves owning quite a number of boots, sneakers, heels, sandals, mules, flats and so forth. If your wife or girlfriend's closet is a bit chaotic and overflowing with shoes, this may be just the ticket. It's not the sexiest gift, but it's another gift you can build for her. And when you build things for women (even a simple shoe rack that took me three minutes to put together myself), you seem useful. And usefulness is sexy. Remember that.

Carrying stuff is the worst. And I don't know about you, but my arms get tired carrying all my books, snacks, crayons and Disney Chapstick. (Don't worry. CNET has verified that I am not an 11-year-old.) Backpacks have made a comeback in a big way, and it's hard to go wrong with the classic Fjallraven Kanken. I cannot tell you how much easier traveling has been since I bought myself a backpack last year.

Women need good Wi-Fi, too. I finally upgraded my router a few months ago and now my entire bed magically has Wi-Fi coverage. Bonus points if you set up the router for her. (Don't get me wrong, I set mine up myself and it was super-easy. But it's nice when people do things for you.) A single unit is $99, but to cover a whole house, you'll want the 3-pack ($249).

Read the CNET review: Google Wifi.

Warning! Do not buy your girlfriend a gigantic bean bag chair without at least somehow verifying that she has somewhere to put the darn thing! That said, bean bag chairs are so comfy and cozy. Getting one for your girlfriend is your way of telling her you support her napping and reading more. #blessed

Read More: Best Gifts for Girlfriends

This story was originally posted February 11, 2019.

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