Valentine’s Day is coming up soon — it’s Feb. 14, in case you need a reminder. Convenience store shelves are already filling up with cheaply made gifts ranging from cutesy to garish. Anything that can be heart-shaped will be heart-shaped. But there’s no reason that this annual celebration of love has to be quite so generic.
Your relationship is unique, and your Valentine’s Day gift to your significant other (or best friend! Valentine’s Day isn’t just for romantic partnerships!) should reflect it. An easy way to do that is to think about the things that they geek out about. Are their Super Smash Bros. tournaments legendary? Did you and your husband bond over Pokémon Go on your first date? Do your wife’s initials still grace high score boards in her local arcade?
These gifts that show the person you love that you care about the things they love.
For the retro gamer: Mini arcade cabinet
Retro game systems like the NES Classic and PlayStation Classic brought early home console nostalgia back to living rooms, but for OG arcade gamers there are some fun gift options too. Handheld arcade games are always a fun gift, but if you want to go above and beyond, Arcade1Up makes three-quarter-sized (4-foot) cabinets loaded up with classic arcade games like Galaga and Street Fighter.
For the Tolkien fan:
A map of J. R. R. Tolkien’s meticulously detailed world, made to order by screenprinters at Inked and Screened, is a thoughtful gift for a Lord of the Rings fan. It comes in multiple colors, though the black-ink-on-tan-background version (pictured above) looks like it’d be most at home in Middle-earth.
Customize at Amazon (starting at $19.99).
For the Dungeon Master:
Hand-made soap molded into the shape of a 20-sided die is a creative gift for your favorite game master. As a bonus, each soap has a random polyhedral die hidden inside. After all, every DM knows you can never have too many dice.
Customize at Etsy ($8.66).
For the Nintendo devotee:
Surprise the Nintendo fan in your life by giving their Switch a fancy home. Leather goods from Waterfield are well worth the hefty price tag, according to our friends at The Verge; the company’s Switchpack case has five-star reviews and can hold the handheld console, its charger, extra controllers, and a Hori PlayStand for gaming on the go. Add on a game cartridge holder for $20 more.
Buy it at Waterfield (starts at $129).
For the Pokémon trainer:
ThinkGeek’s Snorlax Bean Bag is the perfect gift for any Pokémon fan, though be warned that they might want to snuggle up with Snorlax instead of you. He’s really, really cuddly — trust me.
Buy it at ThinkGeek ($149.99).
For the Game of Thrones fan:
The aspiring Mother of Dragons or King in the North in your life can use this tarot deck to divine what will happen when the series returns for its eighth and final season this April.
Buy it at Urban Outfitters ($24.95).
For the movie buff:
Ben Wyatt of Parks and Rec said it best: Listening to movie soundtracks is “like your favorite directors [made] a mixtape just for you”. A vinyl soundtrack of your honey’s favorite movie is a swoon-worthy gift right out of a rom com.
Browse vinyl soundtracks at Amazon.
For the Star Wars stan:
Forget a teddy bear holding a heart — a Chewbacca Build-A-Bear is a much more thoughtful (and just as adorable) gift for the significant other who loves all things Star Wars.
Build a bear at Build-A-Bear Workshop ($35).
For the streamer:
An upgrade to your partner’s streaming setup is a thoughtful gift that shows you care about their hobbies. Those just starting out could probably use a higher-end webcam or microphone; I recommend Logitech’s C922 webcam and the Blue Yeti microphone, respectively. For more established streamers, a green screen could take their kit to the next level.
Get more ideas in our Beginner’s Guide to Streaming on Twitch and YouTube.
For the true crime fanatic:
Your friend who’s obsessed with Making a Murderer and true crime podcasts can get in on the action themselves with a subscription to Hunt A Killer. The murder mystery unfolds each month as you put together clues to track down a serial killer. Plus, it’s a fun date night activity.
Sign up at Hunt A Killer ($35/month).
Stumped on what to get for another type of nerd? Leave ’em in the comments and I’ll recommend something fun.