4 unique ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts

Try something different for a Valentine's Day gift this year.

There's nothing wrong with roses, chocolate or paper hearts, but what about trying something new? This year, you have the perfect chance to go above and beyond your significant other's wildest dreams with a nice surprise. You might end up surprised yourself at just how easy it is to get outside the box of typical Valentine's Day presents.

Before Feb. 14 makes its way here, plan on one of these for a different kind of celebration.

1. Get an experience together, not a gift
What better sign you care about someone than finding a way to spend some time together? This doesn't have to be a vacation (though it could be): The important thing is that you commit to an exciting adventure that will be equally fun for both of you.

That might mean a cooking class you both are interested in, or a day trip somewhere you've been putting off, or even a joint membership to a gym or sports club you've both been meaning to try. Whatever it is, the fact that you're taking the plunge together could be exciting enough on its own.

"Make sure you turn to an expert or some sort of guide if you don't know the field that well."

2. Show that you're paying attention
Quick: What's your partner's new favorite hobby? Does he or she like to read, hunt, play guitar, cook, watch baseball, ride a bicycle or go sailing? Maybe all of the above? (If so, you've got a lot of options to choose from!) 

If you can answer that, you have a possible hint toward a slam dunk present. It can be inspiring to know that your favorite person in the world shares your dreams and supports your hobbies.

When you give someone something that has to do with their new favorite pastime, they'll know you're taking it seriously and want to be a part of it with them. Just make sure you turn to an expert or some sort of guide if you don't know the field that well. For example, Forbes recently published a list of ideas for cycling-related presents

3. Do something charitable
Maybe you'd rather do something that benefits people outside yourself this year. That's certainly a noble endeavor, and there are plenty of different options. You could give donations in each other's names or put your money toward a cause you both support. This might be just as good of a bonding experience as taking a class together, especially if it represents something new neither of you have ever done before.

"A charity gift require research, but it will be worth it."

This might require some more research on your part, but it will be worth it. Back in November, TIME reported on some of the things you need to do when you want to make a donation. This includes looking past the name and even the type of work this organization does to their actual track record.

It can help to go to the organization's website and make sure they are both a well-run group and dedicated to the sort of cause you support. This piece may have specifically referred to holiday giving, but some of the same ideas may apply as you use Valentine's Day to continue making a difference.

4. Give a gift to your home
Finally, your present doesn't have to be to a single person so much as to the home you're sharing together. As this U.S. News & World Report article suggested, you can invest in a subscription to something together, or beautify your home by planting seeds together in a garden.

This last idea gives you something to watch grow together. That's not a bad metaphor to go out on, don't you think? Whatever you choose to do, make sure it's special!