If Valentine’s Day sneaked up on you this year, do not worry. With overnight and even same-day shipping now commonly available, last-minute givers have plenty of options.
To help spark your ideas, we asked nine tastemakers around the world to offer some 11th-hour recommendations. Their replies, edited for clarity, included experiential gifts ideal for romantic partners and practical items that could easily double as birthday presents for family and friends.
Some can be given instantly, while others require a bit of planning. A couple of suggestions, provided by Liesl Clark, don’t involve spending money at all.
Ms. Clark is a co-founder and the chief executive of the Buy Nothing Project, a B Corp. in Bainbridge Island, Wash., that seeks to normalize secondhand gifts by encouraging people to give and receive things freely.
Since the project’s founding in 2013, more than 8,000 independent Buy Nothing Facebook groups have cropped up in 44 countries, all focused on “ensuring that items are not going to landfills,” Ms. Clark said.
“People are collectively having an ‘aha’ moment, realizing you don’t have to go out and buy new,” she said.
After reading our roundup of gift ideas, however, we can’t promise that you won’t be tempted.
Founder of the fashion blog Le Catch, in Los Angeles
Flamingo Estate gift set “A Flamingo Estate custom gift set is a box of warm California sunshine. I love the Red Carrot and Blood Orange Soap Brick, Roma Heirloom Tomato Lotion and Kelly Wearstler Honey.” Gift sets from $80; Ms. Rentmeester’s recommended set from $187; flamingoestate.com
A virtual workout “Give peace of mind (and body) via a one-on-one virtual sweat session with New York City personal trainer Michelle Kuhnreich. Her leg-lengthening and muscle-sculpting A.S.S. class is a constant sold-out hit.” From $130; bootybymich.com
Caviar in bed “Caviar is decadent, indulgent and unassailable. Overnight a tin of Roe caviar — it comes beautifully packaged and ready to eat! There’s something so personal about sharing food with someone.” From $120; roecaviar.com
Chief product and strategy officer at the cryptocurrency transaction site MoonPay, in Tenerife, Spain
Essentialist annual membership “I’ve always preferred to do my own research and planning when it comes to travel, but Essentialist has really changed my approach. Whereas before, I would comb travel publications and consult friends-in-the-know to plan a trip, now I can just contact Essentialist and seamlessly request a trip through the app and know that it will be personalized just for me. I recommend it as a gift for my well-traveled friends who would never use a travel agency but appreciate the convenience and ease of a tech-forward, high-touch service without the old-school fuss.” $2,600 a year per household; essentialist.com
Oura Ring “A gift I’ve given to many people is the Oura Ring. It changed my life, allowing me to get in touch with my health and see how changes in my sleep, stress levels and physical activity affect my body’s systems. I’ve been advocating for the importance of health tracking — it’s the perfect gift to help people get excited about monitoring and visualizing what’s going on inside the body.” Ring from $299; membership $5.99 per month; ouraring.com
Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer “The air fryer is a simple appliance that makes it very easy to prepare nutritious, delicious meals, and usually in half the time compared with a regular oven. I love gifting this to friends or colleagues who say they don’t have the time to cook or eat healthy. Air fryers make cooking everything from meat to vegetables so effortless that there’s practically no excuse.” $349.95; williams-sonoma.com
Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile
Queer playwright and activist, in Gaborone, Botswana
A personalized scent “I think of a scent as a second skin. Maison 21G allows you to show how well you really know someone by surprising them with a personalized perfume. This sensory gift is an ultimate win because it’s a little bit of you and whole lot of them in a memorable treasure.” $110; maison21g.com
Private chef experience “Food is one of my love languages. What better way to promote good health and make memories than by giving the gift of a private chef experience? These chefs are professional and will make anything your heart desires, as many times as you can afford.” Dinner from $105 per person; gathar.com
Wildlife conservation donation “Worldwide, conservationists are working hard to save species and environments, and they need our support to keep going. The Wildlife Conservation Network has a variety of species that you can donate to, or simply give a general contribution. This not only raises awareness, but will go a long way toward conservation efforts of all kinds, making for a better world.” donate.wildnet.org
Jeweler, in London, and São Paulo, Brazil Hotel Fasano stay “The Fasano hotel in the Jardins district of São Paulo, Brazil, was founded by an Italian family. It has an interior rich in wood, modernist furniture and leather and the restaurant includes some separate booths for dining.” Rates from 2,906 Brazilian reals, or $586 per night; fasano.com.br
Dinner at Maní, in São Paulo “Maní has received several awards for its contemporary take on Brazilian food and focus on local and organic ingredients. The ambience is also very cozy and charming.” Dinner for two, including wine, from $170; restaurantemani.com.br
Pistachio dish from Etel “Etel is a design gallery and furniture store in Jardim Paulistano, selling Niemeyer and Sergio Rodrigues furniture, and doing an incredible job of promoting Brazilian designers such as Isay Weinfeld and Claudia Moreira Salles, the designer of the pistachio dish I suggest. Etel also recently opened an exhibition space dedicated to Jorge Zalszupin, an incredibly refined furniture designer who was born in Poland but moved to Brazil after the Second World War. The space is in the building that was his home for almost 60 years.” $2,323 for the dish; etel.design
Tomoko Japanese Spa gift certificate “I’m a fan of treatments for body and soul. I adore the team at Tomoko Japanese Spa in Beverly Hills, Calif. They’re brilliant in transferring you to another dimension. A gift card is a great option.” Single massage from $350, couple’s massage from $720; tomokospa.com
Zhilyova gloves “Zhilyova’s brand philosophy is very close to the hearts of Ukrainian women — they started promoting self-expression, diversity and inclusivity way before it became a thing. Plus, the founder works really hard on creating new designs, like the gloves that I suggest, and ensuring a perfect fit. Every item serves as a symbol of empowerment as well, making you look and feel so good!” $140 for the long gloves; zhilyova.com
Brooklyn Academy of Music membership Kristina Skripka, Ms. Pagava’s co-founder at I AM U Are, recommended a membership with the nonprofit arts center. “Having moved from my homeland, I know what it’s like to search for ways to belong in the place you’ve settled in. And this is definitely one of them! The Brooklyn Academy of Music has the best movies, theater and dance performances, music, visual arts, and, of course, community. This is the place where art and warmth come together to make you fall in love with New York.” From $150 a year; bam.org
Co-founder and managing director of Woof Pack Projects, in Bangkok
Lotus Arts de Vivre tissue box “As we enter the Year of the Dragon, what better way to celebrate this majestic and auspicious year than by giving your friends or loved ones a hand-carved teak tissue box with a sterling silver dragon? It’s a true statement piece.” $2,330; lotusartsdevivre.com
Kudanil Explorer surf trip “The Kudanil Explorer is a repurposed expedition ship that sails around remote parts of the Indonesian archipelago. It’s been a dream of mine to take one of their surf trips and I am planning on doing this next year (friends of mine have been and swear by it). This is the kind of gift that lasts a lifetime.” $23,000 plus tax per night; kudanil.com
Co-founder and chief executive of the Buy Nothing Project, in Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Fresh cut flowers and herbs “One of the critical elements of a gift economy is asking. Everyone forgets about that. On Valentine’s Day, you could ask for a bunch of cut flowers from someone’s garden. Or a bunch of rosemary you can use that evening for the lamb you’re going to cook. Your neighbor would be thrilled to bring joy to you and your loved one.” buynothingproject.org
Gardening tools “When you start to look into categories like housewares, gift cards, jewelry, sporting goods and gardening tools, let’s face it, you don’t have to have a perfectly new shovel because it’s going in the dirt anyway. People tend to be thrilled when they’ve asked for a shovel or dandelion weeding tool because it’s sturdy and well made.” buynothingproject.org
Lalo tequila “After many years of being a wine collector, I have converted to becoming almost exclusively a tequila drinker. My first gift idea is Lalo tequila which is created by the grandson of Don Julio. A fantastic tequila with a wonderful flavor that, in my personal experience, leaves you totally hangover free the next morning.” $49.99; lalospirits.com
Roger Dubuis timepiece “The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Monobalancier Titanium Edition, executed completely in full grade 5 titanium, was the most overlooked but truly awesome integrated bracelet timepiece of 2023. It’s the watch I wore the most last year. It represents phenomenal design acumen with its hyper modern skeletonized movement, which bears the Geneva Seal as a hallmark of its quality finish.” $66,500; rogerdubuis.com