10 out-of-the-box Valentine's Day gift ideas for couples with young kids

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Naipo neck massager


A massage machine that costs half the price of a single session at the spa and never gets tired hands is a thoughtful Valentine's Day gift.

  • The way you celebrate Valentine's Day changes once your lives are dominated by young kids; so too, then, should the gifts partners give each other evolve.
  • While romantic nights out, flowers, and wine might be lovely in theory, practical gifts that make day-to-day living more enjoyable are the best gifts for parents.
  • Here are 10 Valentine's Day gift ideas that might not have come to mind at first but that will be appreciated long after those roses have wilted.

When we were dating, engaged, and married, my wife and I went out all the time. We saw movies, we went to restaurants and bars, we went to museums and the theater, we hiked, we saw friends, and so many other things. Now, with two young kids, we still go to museums, but they tend to be geared toward people 12 and under, and we still hike now and then, albeit now with a baby on my back and our range limited by the stamina of a preschooler.

As for dining out? That's usually more stress than it's worth. Bars and movies? Forget about it. So these days our date nights are mostly spent at home, playing a game or watching a movie. And I'm totally cool with it - it's exactly as I expected life to be, really. But being generally limited to nights in, it has proven a bit harder to find a decent Valentine's Day gift. Taking my wife to a nice dinner means securing child care, timing things around breastfeeding, and waiting for that call that it's time to rush home because of [insert one of many issues here]. Not... very... romantic.

While I could bedeck the home with roses and candles and open a 2016 bottle of Légende Bordeaux Rouge to create a romantic evening, there's already enough stuff around what with the toys, the baby gear, the art projects, and everything else that comes with this stage of life. Also that stuff takes time. The decorating, I mean, not the Bordeaux.

How then to get a thoughtful Valentine's Day gift during the busy days of parenting? Think outside the box.

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Give the gift of great coffee.

Give the gift of great coffee.

Though many do, parents have no right to claim sole ownership of exhaustion. That said, man, parenting is exhausting. Everything you already needed to take care of in life is still right there, now with other lives fully depending on you and taking most of your time. Coffee transcends pleasure and becomes necessity. So why not make sure your partner can enjoy a great cup at home any time?

It's hard to beat the quality of a cup of pour-over coffee. This brewing process allows for the fullest extraction of the flavors and potency of the grounds and, with practice, allows you to control the strength of your brew. If your partner loves great coffee but isn't looking for extra work to make it, then the Brim 8-Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker is a must-have. The showerhead design of this coffeemaker ensures steady, even distribution of perfectly heated water, creating a hand-poured effect that's completely controlled by the device.

Buy the Brim 8-Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker, $199.95, from Williams Sonoma

On the other hand, if you're shopping for a DIY barista, get a kettle that ensures perfect water temps and let her do the pouring over herself. Try the Brim Temperature Control Electric Gooseneck Kettle.

Buy the Brim Temperature Control Electric Gooseneck Kettle, $99.99, from Amazon

Forget the lingerie; go with yoga pants.

Forget the lingerie; go with yoga pants.

Sexy lingerie is great and all, but not when you think a kid might walk in at any moment. Also, when your free time is limited to the hour and a half after the last kid is asleep and the moment you and your partner submit to exhaustion, you really don't need to add any steps to the process, if you take my meaning.

But a good, comfortable pair of yoga pants? Those can be used any time, from walks to workouts to the grocery store to dropping the kids at school. While lingerie might be the standard bearer for Valentine's Day apparel, comfortable, logical clothes make the better gift.

For use primarily indoors or during the summer, the ONGASOFT Yoga Pants are a great option thanks to their mesh venting.

Buy the ONGASOFT Yoga Pants, $29.99, from Amazon

For use in the cold, the Everyday Yoga High Waisted Go-To Pocket Leggings are thicker and warm. They're durable and perfect for yoga and beyond, with a high waistband for support and coverage and handy side pockets perfect for stowing a smartphone or small items.

Buy the Everyday Yoga High Waisted Go-To Pocket Leggings, $32.98, from Yoga Outlet

And if you want to give her a super comfortable top to go with it, this company makes just about the most comfy stuff I've yet come across yet.

Buy a Tani USA SilkCut Camisole, $65, from Amazon

Chocolate is always a good gift.

Chocolate is always a good gift.

Some things don't change when you have kids, one of them being the love of chocolate. If your partner loves chocolate as much as my wife does, then allow me to share with you her current favorite: Hu Kitchen. These guys make some of the finest chocolate bars she has ever tried, and that's saying something. It also helps explain why they cost rather a lot. But this is a gift, so go ahead and spend a bit.

Hu Cashew Butter and Vanilla Bean Dark Chocolate Bar 4-Pack, $25, on Amazon Hu Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Dark Chocolate Bar 4-Pack, $25, on Amazon Hu Crunchy Mint Dark Chocolate Bar 4-Pack, $25, on Amazon

Give the gift of great sleep.

Give the gift of great sleep.

As noted earlier, parenthood is tiring stuff. So make sure that when you and your partner finally get to bed, you get the best rest possible. That means a quiet, dark room, a great mattress, and a great set of sheets.

Soft, cooling Tencel fiber sheets can wick away as much as 50% more moisture than cotton and have a smooth texture akin to the finest linens. These sheets from Nest Bedding are sustainably sourced from eucalyptus trees.

Queen Nest Bedding Tencel Sheet Set, $139, from Nest Bedding

Easy meal times are better than fancy nights out.

Easy meal times are better than fancy nights out.

Whether you prepare a lovely, romantic dinner for you and your spouse to enjoy at home or you simply make the process of making a meal for the family that much easier, your partner will appreciate it. And these days, with so many fine foods available for mail-order delivery, it's remarkably easy to give the gift of great food (plus the bonus of no grocery shopping).

In fact, you can order an entire feast online. For the main course, if you're both meat eaters, consider mail-order steak like the Omaha Steaks World Class Valentine's Day Feast or a la carte filet mignons, boneless sirloin steaks, and more from popular Nashville butcher shop Porter Road.

Buy the Omaha Steaks World Class Valentine's Day Feast, $79.99 (serves two), on Omaha Steaks

Easier cooking might be even better.

Easier cooking might be even better.

Yes, ordering food online cuts out the need to shop for groceries, and that's great, but you probably won't switch to online for everything (and you can't live off steak gift boxes alone).

So give the gift that keeps on giving in the form of a cooking appliance that can simmer, steam, roast, bake, and much more. In fact, this multi-cooker can cook foods in 10 different ways, speeding up and simplifying meal prep and giving your partner the precious gifts of more time and less stress.

Buy a Bella Pro Series 10 Function 8-Quart Multi Cooker, $69.99, from Best Buy

Forget the flowers, but not the plants.

Forget the flowers, but not the plants.

Roses look and smell lovely for a time, but they wilt and die and are tossed away. Houseplants, on the other hand, look great, can last for years, and help purify the air, a welcome benefit when kids bring germs into the house all the time.

As odd as it might seem to order living plants online, every time I have done it, they arrive alive and in great shape. Also, Amazon will replace or refund the order if you ever have a plant issue.

Buy a Costa Farms Burgundy Rubber Ficus Elastica with Planter, $49.99, from Amazon Buy a American Plant Exchange Golden Pothos Plant, $19.99, from Amazon

Personalized stationery fits any occasion.

Personalized stationery fits any occasion.

Personalizing stationery is a great way to make a practical gift more thoughtful, and while not necessarily a romantic gift, stationary is something your partner will use all year round. And every time he or she uses it, you'll be thought of with appreciation.

Buy 50 Pen & Pad Stationers Personalized Note Cards with Envelopes, $30.99, from Amazon

Give the gift of a massage.

Give the gift of a massage.

This Valentine's Day, you could book your partner a massage, and that would be a good gift. You could also give her a massage yourself, and that's great too. But a massage machine that costs half the price of a single session at the spa and never gets tired hands is even better.

Buy the Naipo Neck Massager with Heat and Deep Tissue Kneading, $49.99, from Amazon

Give the gift of music.

Give the gift of music.

No romantic evening is complete without the perfect sound track. Neither is any weekend complete without a family dance party. And in a perfect world, your partner might even get some time alone to enjoy a few favorite tracks.

Sure, you could just download a few songs and make a Valentine's Day playlist, but it would be a lot cooler if you give a record player. Even better? A record player that also plays CDs, the radio, has aux and Bluetooth connectivity, and even plays cassettes.

Buy a Victrola 6-in-1 Wood Mid Century Record Player, $149.75, from Amazon
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