I Ranked The 10 Worst Valentine's Day Gift Ideas For Him & You Can Cross These Off Your List

These are going straight to the "donate" pile.

Josh Elliott. Right: Valentine's Day gifts.
Senior Editor

Josh Elliott. Right: Valentine's Day gifts.

Josh Elliott | Narcity, Cory Doctorow | Flickr

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner but “WTF do I buy” season is already here, and you just might be struggling to find the right thing to get for the guy in your life.

So you turn to a list. You go looking for 57 , 60, 65 or 69 of the "Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him" because the more ideas the better, right?

But there’s a problem: if you’ve turned to these lists for Christmas or his birthday a few times, you quickly notice that they’re recycling the same old ideas, over and over.

So which items should you cross off your gift idea list?

Speaking as a “him” whose wishlist is short each year, I can tell you there are many items on these gift lists that I would absolutely never use. They’re also the kinds of items you’ll find on sale at Walmart or as an Amazon lightning deal (again, because they're not terribly useful).

I won't call any one gift list out, and many of them include some solid ideas, but there are also plenty of filler items that really need to be cut.

You might also legitimately want one of these items for yourself, and that's totally cool; there's nothing wrong with these products on their own. It's when you give one of these out of the blue that you'll run into problems.

Here are the items that they really need to stop adding to gift lists every year — and the items that will probably end up in a giveaway pile before the end of 2023.

Rock ice cubes

I got these once as a gift. They were novel the first time I tried them. Then they just became annoying, because you have to clean and dry and then re-freeze them after every use.

There's a reason ice cubes are so popular: they're dirt cheap, easy to make and easy to pour out once they melt.

Don't try to reinvent the ice cube — and no, weird shapes like bullets don't help. Would you want to get poked in the mouth by a bullet while you're drinking?

No more novelty ice cubes!

Random workout gear

Don't try to start a habit that isn't already there.

If he's into running, sure, give him the shoes he's been thinking about. Buy him that fitness watch he wants to track his heart rate. Splurge on that BowFlex.

But if he's not interested in doing that exercise right now, he's not going to change his mind when the gear lands in his lap.


Is your partner a pirate?

Flasks start to lose their cool factor about two weeks after high school graduation, and even then, they're not all that stealthy. You're better off with the classic "water bottle filled with a brown liquid."

Or you can just go to a bar.


Babe, you look sore, instead of a hands-on massage would you like to blast yourself with a massage gun or throw a finicky massager over your shoulders?

If your partner needs a massage gun, they'll probably bring it up. Otherwise, this thing is going to sit in a drawer or in a box for the rest of 2023.

Alternatively, you could just give your partner a massage. That's more romantic than a robotic boxing glove, right?

Smart mug 

Don’t do this. If he gets set off by a cup of coffee that’s five degrees too cool, he's got bigger problems that he needs to address first.

Besides, at a price tag of $100+, there’s surely something else he’d enjoy more than a slightly hotter cup of coffee.

And while we’re on the subject, don't go throwing a bunch of "smart" appliances at him if he's not already into that kind of thing. You might just be giving him more work than he wants.


Sorry, but I don't want a candle. It could smell like farts or cigars or cedar or Gwyneth Paltrow and I still wouldn't light it.

Beard-trimming gear

Everyone's got their own self-care routine, and chances are he's not going to change that entire routine because you gave him some beard balm or a new set of clippers.

He probably already has this stuff, and you're doubling up or giving him a very mild upgrade.

Instant camera

What year is it?

He doesn't need a camera. He has a phone. He might have some fun with an instant camera for a few days, but the novelty will wear off and this will wind up in a box within a month.

Grill stuff

If he likes to barbecue, he probably likes to do it a certain way with certain gear.

If he doesn't, a "Kiss the cook" apron isn't going to change him.

There are few types of gifts that have been lumped into the "man" category over the years, and "grill stuff" is one of them, along with "leather stuff," "multi tools" and "alcohol stuff."

Give your loved one something he's interested in. Don't trust the cliches.

Breakfast sandwich maker

This isn't a handy kitchen gadget. It's a monstrosity.

The breakfast sandwich maker is probably the worst offender on a long list of overly specific appliances, and there's absolutely no reason your partner can't use a toaster, a stove, a hotplate or whatever else he has on hand to make a breakfast sandwich.

A breakfast sandwich is an egg and some other stuff between two pieces of bread. Don't overcomplicate it with this thing.

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Food & Drink and Lifestyle teams with a focus on entertainment interviews. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.