Up your game: 6 creative gifts for Valentine's Day

If the idea of red roses on Valentine’s Day makes you nauseous, we have a list of alternative presents to woo your beloved with this year

Truffle and caviar dinner. Courtesy BB Social Dining
Powered by automated translation

Celebrated as the ultimate day for romance since the 14th century, St Valentine’s Day has been putting lovers in a panic for ­several centuries. If you, too, are stuck between ­flowers and chocolates, puzzling over which one you settled for on February 14 last year, it might be time to think up a gift that breaks with the tried, tested and traditional.

For the sentimental

Do you ever feel like you and your partner completely misunderstand each other? There might be a reason for this, according to Gary Chapman, who conceived The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts after 35 years of experience as a marriage counsellor.

The Secret to Love that Lasts (by Gary Chapman)
The Secret to Love that Lasts (by Gary Chapman)

The idea behind The New York Times bestseller is that each of us uses different modes of communication to give and receive love. Chapman identifies five ways in which we show affection: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts and acts of service.

While you might like to hear the words “I love you”, your partner may want to show their love by cooking you a nice meal, running your errands or clearing up space in their diary to spend some quality time. Chapman has devised an online assessment test to discover the love language you and your partner share (or don’t, as the case might be). Take the test together to find how best to express your love for one another – for a gift that keeps on giving even after this Hallmark holiday is over.

For the foodie

If overbooked restaurants filled with couples, all sticking to the Valentine’s Day status quo doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps a lovingly prepared, home-cooked meal might do the trick? Look to Lana Citron’s new book Edible Pleasures for an entire encyclopedia of foods that have long been synonymous with love.

Alternatively, turn to social media and compose a love letter addressed to BB Social Dining in Dubai, as a comment on Instagram or Facebook (@bbdifc), and tag the person who it is for. The winning entry will get you a complimentary 12-dish truffle and caviar dinner at BB, created by culinary expert Lidija Abu Ghazaleh, founder of @lidijaskitchen. BB's a la carte menu is available on Valentine's Day, and should you dine there you can enter a draw to win a two-night staycation at Park Hyatt Dubai with breakfast and a spa treatment. The menu is priced at Dh425, and includes crispy duck with truffle; tuna nigri, Wagyu beef nigri and butter fish, all served with caviar; and grilled lobster among others.

For the adventurous

The via ferrata at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman. Courtesy Antony Hansen
The via ferrata at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman. Courtesy Antony Hansen

Adrenalin junkies might not be into Valentine’s Day at all, but you could look to a holiday or day out that combines your passion for adventure. Check out Via Ferrata in Oman (pictured) for a rock climber’s dream or soar from a height of 4,000 meters over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on a skydive that will ensure you both remember this Valentine’s Day forever. Or if your partner enjoys the rush of a fast car, head to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi for a heady driving experience.

For the materialistic

If you have completed your love languages quiz and found that what your partner needs to feel that you love them is an actual physical gift, then consider Dolce & Gabbana’s Valentine’s Day offer. The Italian design house is offering to hand-paint the name of your loved one on to its special St Valentine sneakers this month. Go all out and buy a set of his and hers with your name on theirs and theirs on yours.

For the art lover

What Could be Sweeter by artist Anna Kenneally. Courtesy AucArt
What Could be Sweeter by artist Anna Kenneally. Courtesy AucArt

“Art is love. Who wouldn’t want to receive a beautiful work they can appreciate every day?” asks Natasha Arselan, founder of AucArt, the first online art house to offer a selection of original works by early-career artists from some of the top art schools in the world. Look to the platform for a painting that will forever remind your partner of this Valentine’s Day, from oil-on-canvas paintings of Venus, the goddess of love by artist Natalia Gonzalez Martin, to fashion-inspired pieces from artist Anna Kenneally (pictured). Particularly romantic are the free-flowing, Rococo-like paintings of young artist Flora Yukhnovich, showing this month at Parafin Gallery in London.

For the jilted

Christen a cockraoch. Photo : Hemsley Conservation center website
Christen a cockroach. Photo Hemsley Conservation Centre website

This year, you can give yourself the satisfaction of having a cockroach named after your ex. Hemsley Conservation Centre in the UK is offering those scorned in love the chance to pay £1.50 (Dh7) to give the name of their former beloved to one of the most hated insects on the planet. The zoo will share the new names of its roaches on February 14.