Love is in the air as we approach Valentine’s Day. You can gift your special someone with the usual chocolates and flowers, but why not try something unique this year?
You don’t need to break the bank to get a great gift. Does your beloved enjoy beer, picnics or journaling? If so, tap or click here to check out our list of 15 great Valentine’s gifts for every budget.
Perhaps your partner is a lover of tech. In this case, we’ve got some fun and thoughtful ways to show you care.
If you’re together
No need to go out shopping. You can set up these gifts using your smart devices at home.
Set up an Alexa Blueprint
With Alexa Skill Blueprints, you can easily create and publish your own skills. Just choose a template and fill in the blanks.
Go to blueprints.amazon.com to see the templates. Let’s try Hallmark Valentine’s Greeting. The next few steps are easy:
- Choose a theme.
- Choose between Alexa-narrated messages or record your own 90-second messages.
- Keep the current image, choose a new image from the library or upload your own.
- Keep the current wish or write your own.
- Pick a name for your skill.
- Send your greeting card to others by sharing your skill with the recipient.
Set the mood with your smart home
Have fun with this one. Tell Alexa to set the mood by dimming the lights to 35% and putting on a list of their favorite music. If you have color-changing bulbs in the bedroom, say something like “Alexa, it’s naughty time,” and have them change to red while Barry White plays out the speaker.
Alexa routines let you group actions and activate them with a single command. Here’s how:
- Open the Alexa app.
- Tap More and select Routines.
- Tap the plus button.
- Select When this happens, and choose Voice.
- Enter your phrase.
- Select Add action and follow the steps in the app to choose the actions of your routine.
Make a playlist with all their favorite songs
Whether you use Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music or any other streaming music app, you can create playlists to set just about any mood. If you have an Amazon Echo, you can create playlists using your voice:
- Open the Alexa app.
- Tap More and select Settings.
- Select Music & Podcasts, then Link New Service.
- Select the music service provider and follow the on-screen instructions.
Note: Prime subscribers have access to free music without having to add a service.
Now say, “Alexa, create a new playlist” and name it. Next, find a song from your music app and while it’s playing, say, “Alexa, add this song to my (name of your playlist) playlist.”
Create a shared digital photo album
Share photos that mean something to you both using just your smartphone.
Create a shared album using a Google Photos account and an iPhone or Android phone:
- Open the Google Photos app.
- Tap Photos and select photos or videos for the album.
- Tap Add > Shared album.
- Enter an album title.
- When the album is complete, tap Share.
- Select who to share your album with.
Create a shared album using the Photos app on your iPhone:
- Go to the Albums tab and tap the Plus button.
- Tap New Shared Album.
- Give the shared album a name, then tap Next.
- Choose people to invite from your contacts, or type an email address or iMessage phone number.
- Tap Create.
Display a photo slideshow on the TV
While you’re setting the mood with lighting and music, why not share some memorable photos on your TV? You can do this with an Android phone using screen mirroring and a smart TV or streaming device like a Roku.
Amazon Fire TVs let you display photos using your Alexa app, while Chromecast lets you do the same with the Google Photos app. You can also display photos on your TV with your Apple device. Tap or click here for instructions to easily display photos from your phone on your TV.
If you’re apart
If you’re not able to be together this Valentine’s Day, you can still send a special message.
Send an ecard
An ecard is a fast and easy way to send a message anywhere in the world. Paperless Post lets you choose a template and customize a card. Check out its Valentine’s Day section.
Paperless Post uses virtual credits in the form of Coins. You get 25 Coins for $10, and there are some fabulous cards that start at two coins.
Between app for couples
Between is an app that lets you chat, track anniversaries, share photos, videos, gifs, notes, and even keep track of each other’s schedules. There’s also a free call feature.
Add some flair to your iPhone messages
You can make a message stand out if you and your recipient use iMessage.
To add a heart to a message:
- Type out a message and touch and hold the send button.
- Tap Screen, then swipe to the left until you see the option Send With Love.
- Tap the Send button.
A handwritten note can hold extra meaning:
- Rotate your iPhone sideways while in a conversation and tap inside the text field.
- Tap the handwriting button in the lower right, which looks like a loop.
- Write a message then tap Done.
- Tap Send.
Sometimes it’s best to hear a message from the source:
- Open the Voice Memos app.
- Tap the red record button and record your message.
- Tap the red record button again when finished to save your message.
- Tap a saved recording in your Voice Memos list, then tap the three dots.
- Tap Share, choose a sharing option, select or enter a recipient, then tap Done or the send button.
Give the gift of spirits
Send someone a gift card they can use for Drizzly and an online delivery app, and then set up a virtual date so you can wine and dine them from afar.
Send a link to online karaoke or game night
Game night can happen from a distance with apps such as KaraFun for Karaoke.
Drawasaurus is a drawing and guessing game you can play online in your browser. It’s not available as an app yet.