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Hopeless procrastinators need love too.
It’s officially the eleventh hour, and all signs point to you ruining Valentine’s Day for bae due to your poor planning abilities.
Maybe every single semi-romantic restaurant in town is booked solid on Open Table. Perhaps it’s too late to order the hand stamped BDSM bracelet on Etsy you’ve been eyeing. And a last-minute jaunt to a romantic inn is way out of your price range.
But don’t despair, call it quits, and tell your sweetie to meet you at Chipotle on Sunday for matching burrito bowls. Unless you’re hoping to fly solo next year. Thanks largely to technology and same-day shipping, a last-minute Valentine’s Day isn’t a hopeless scenario. There are plenty of creative gifts and activities for Valentine’s Day that don’t require standard shipping or a reservation. Many of these may seem more original or fun than the typical, over-priced prix-fixe dinner most couples will be treating themselves to on Sunday. Best case scenario: Your significant other will find you spontaneous and exciting, instead of completely devoid of executive functioning skills.
Here are some of our favorite last-minute ideas for Valentine’s Day. Some are activities you don’t have to plan until that day. Others are Valentine’s Day DIY gifts or tech hacks you can coordinate on your own schedule. The rest require no shipping, same-day delivery, or rush shipping up to 24-72 hours in advance. You got this.
1) Turn their face into an emoji with EmojiFace
Turning your partner’s mug into its own emoji is a thoughtful act that is perfect for Valentine’s Day, especially since it’s one of those things that’s more fun to do for a special person than yourself (unless your name is Kim Kardashian). Just unearth your favorite headshot or profile picture of your beloved, and the EmojiFace app will produce you a full emoji keyboard featuring their precious face with a variety of expressions. You can make an emoji of yourself as well, so the two of you can just skip written communication altogether and text each other emojis of yourself throughout the year.
You can download EmojiFace on iTunes for free.
2) Get them a sex positions guide on Kindle
Sex manuals may not be the most obvious choice for your e-reader, but it’s an ideal way to keep your X-rated reading material discrete. There are simply hundreds of sex guides in the Kindle Store. Spring for the classic Kama Sutra, or for a niche position guide centered around a favorite activity. For example, if you’re planning on camping during Valentine’s Day, try Sex in a Tent: A Wild Couple’s Guide to Getting Naughty in Nature by Michelle Waitzmain.
3) Get an in-home couple’s massage
Soothe is a massage on-demand app that will have a licensed masseuse to your door with only an hour’s notice. You can request a couple’s massage, or treat your honey’s tired limbs to a solo, deep tissue, sports, or pre-natal massage. Soothe also allows you to book massages days in advance, as well as specify by gender and speciality.
4) Order them a 3D-printed rose from Postmates
Postmate’s Valentine’s Day shop is filled with a range of goods and gifts this year, including a 3D-printed rose. Proceeds from the sale of this techie beauty go to benefit Girls Who Code. You can also order lingerie, chocolate, and jewelry on Postmates for V-Day.
5) Order a personal chef to cook you dinner with Kitchen Surfing
Kitchensurfing will send a personal chef to your door to prep a home-cooked meal for two at $59. You can pick from an assortment of different dishes. Your personal chef will bring all the needed ingredients, you only have to give them access to your kitchen. All meals will be cooked in 30 minutes or less.
You can download Kitchensurfing on iTunes .
6) Enjoy a new experience in your city with a local expert on Vayable
Vayable is usually a go-to for travelers looking for unique experiences led by local experts, but is likewise brimming with great Valentine’s Day ideas such as food tours, personal concerts, and tango lessons. Search under their romantic tab for specific experiences geared toward couples, or go for something non-obvious and quirky like a haunted pub crawl.
7) Change their phone’s wallpaper to a customized Valentine’s Day love card
Instead of buying a Valentine’s Day card, why not turn your mug into a personalized love card that your partner can turn into their phone’s wallpaper? Better yet, do it for them when they’re asleep. The Valentine’s Day app by Tomas Masiulis offers a variety of different backgrounds and images perfect for the most romantic day of the year.
8) Display a Valentine’s Day message on your screen with Google Chromecast
Chromecast users can switch out their television screens with a special message just for Valentine’s Day. The Valentine’s Day app for Chromecast allows users to customize a special message for their sweetie. It’s a nice added touch, especially if your sole Valentine’s Day plan is “Netflix and Chill.”
9) Make them a Valentine’s Day birdfeeder
The sound of birds singing is downright romantic. This heart-shaped birdfeeder by Wine and Glue only requires birdseed, gelatin, water, corn syrup, and flour. Bake these the night before and let them firm up overnight.
10) Send them an unconventional bouquet from The Bouqs
The Bouqs has a huge assortment of new and inventive bouquets you can have delivered to your sweetie in no time, including roses that were grown alongside an active volcano. Most of the arrangements can be mailed with two-day shipping. There are also many available from local florists for same-day delivery.
11) Enroll them in an ‘ice cream of the month’ club
COOLHAUS is an ice cream company started by an architect that first became popular with the Coachella crowd. Its 12-month “pint of the month club” can be shipped overnight for $99. Notable flavors include beer and pretzels, buttered french toast, and coconut negroni.
12) Buy them a drone on Fancy
Fancy is where luxury goods, impulse shopping, and same-day delivery meet at an expensive intersection. If you can afford the splurge, there’s no doubt your sweetheart will be impressed by a $650 pair of crimson Air Jordan 4s or a $2,295 custom iPhone 6s. If all else fails, you can opt to have a $49 SKEYE Nano drone delivered to your honey’s doorstep.
13) Go on an urban adventure with Kamino
Take your significant other to a part of town they’ve never been before. The Kamino app lets you view themed walking tours of your city. The guides are created by locals and suggest attractions, restaurants, shops, and other hidden gems that may have escaped your attention.
14) Send a handyman to their apartment to paint them a red accent wall with Handy
A red accent wall can seriously energize a space — perfect for a music room! 🎹🎸(Wall: Santa Fe Sunset DET458; Hallway: Bone DEC765) #DunnEdwards #DEoriginalhome #interiordesign #musicroom #designinspiration #homedecor #red
A photo posted by Dunn-Edwards Paints (@dunnedwards) on
If you live together or have access to an extra set of keys, why not use the Handy app to send a handyman over to your partner’s apartment to paint them a Valentine’s-themed accent wall? The Handy app allows you to book home cleaning and other services, usually with only a couple of days advance notice. If you’re not sure of your significant other’s buildings policies on paint (or if you’re not sure how much a fan they are of the color red), it might be safer to treat your Valentine to a home cleaning instead.
15) Uber your honey some lingerie
Uber is teaming with lingerie company Naja to offer lingerie delivery on Valentine’s Day. Naja is the brainchild of Jane the Virgin actress Gina Rodriquez. Options include Naja’s Ada Bra in Rose for $85, the Emma Brief in Rose for $20, the Gina Bralette in Monarchy for $65, and the Martina Lo-Rise in Black for $65.
16) Gift them your Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go password
i will gladly accept someone’s netflix password as a valentine’s day gift alright i’m dead serious
— you don’t have to (@stxrryeyedafi) February 4, 2016
A Netflix password is the gift that keeps on giving. But seriously, why not use Valentine’s Day to officially hand over the use of your most precious service to your sweetheart? And if you want to sweeten the deal, hand them over the password to your Hulu and HBO Go accounts to boot. Hand over all your passwords, but do remember to change them the instant you split—there’s no such thing as “Netflix and prenup.”
17) Perform a Valentine’s Day science experiment for them
Pinterest this year is filled with ideas for Valentine’s Day science experiments that are delightfully geeky. Little Bins for Little Hands suggests this Valentine’s viscosity experiment. Or try your hand at Valentine’s Day slime, courtesy of the Nerd Wife.
Photo via Romeo66/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Amrita Khalid is a technology and politics reporter who specializes in breaking down complex issues into practical, useful terms. A former contributor to CQ, a Congressional news and analysis site, she's currently a master's candidate in international relations at the University of Leeds.