You know the feelings well—fluttering butterflies in your stomach, the inability to think straight, and the constant need to wipe your sweaty palms on your jeans. Your body is overcome with pure fear, much like you were on your first date, but this time you’re staring at the mall entrance. You are in need of some Valentine’s Day gift ideas that will express every unspoken word of love and adoration you have in your heart for your significant other but achieving such a feat is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest—many have tried, and many have failed. You only need two items to wow your special someone: a gift (why not use a book?!) and a few words of your own.
Love Stories That Stand the Test of Time
First, you’re going to need some inspiration. We’ve compiled a list of epic love stories, personal letters, and more. Whether you’re in need of a Valentine’s Day gift for him or for her, these books look at love from perspectives both old and new. Use a red ribbon to tie your letter on top of one of these books and consider the summit of Mount Everest reached.
Classic love stories:
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Written from the heart:
- Devotedly: The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot by Valerie Shepard
- Love: Quotes and Passages from the Heart by B.C. Aronson
- The World’s Greatest Love Letters by Michael Kelahan
To read together:
- The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Back to Basics
Long before roses, candy, and jewelry were used to show one’s love on Valentine’s Day, there was the love letter. In 1415, Charles, the Duke of Orléans, penned the oldest-known valentine to his wife, Bonne of Armagnac. His words, “My very gentle valentine,” opened the letter.
Gifts, or words, from the heart may be the most unexpected and most cherished gift you’ll ever give your partner. Before your sweaty palms return, remember that you already have all the material you need to write the most beautiful love letter—your memories and the small moments that made you fall in love with each other.
If you’re palms are still a bit damp, here are six tips to write a beautiful love letter:
- Start simple. Sit down for 15 to 30 minutes and write down all the reasons you love your partner and some special memories you have together. (If it makes you more comfortable, write a rough draft using tips three through six and then go back to the second tip.)
- A handwritten letter is the gold standard. Use a high-quality, thick paper and a pen with black ink that won’t skip as you write. These tools ensure your letter will stand the test of time.
- A grand opening. Instead of using a cute nickname for your significant other in the opening line, use his or her first name. It may seem more formal when you write it, but it will lend a more classic feel to your letter.
- Use your notes. When writing the body of your letter, refer back to the list you made. Maybe start by telling your partner one of your favorite stories about falling in love with him or her—something you’ve never shared will be even more special.
- Expand on your thoughts. The second portion of your letter can be some of the reasons you love your partner; use this time to tell your special someone some thoughts you wouldn’t typically share. If you wrote “I love your eyes,” on the list you made, you could expand this to “I love how your eyes convey the depths of your love when you look at me,” in your letter.
- The signature. Instead of the more formal, business correspondence closing lines like “Sincerely” and “All the best,” use this space as one last place to convey your love. “Ever thine,” “All my love,” and “Endlessly,” are fun and romantic ways to end your letter.
We’re curious, have you ever received a love letter? If so, how did it make you feel to read how much someone loves you?