Valentine's Day - love it or hate it, it's impossible to avoid it! The shops are full of Valentine's tat (giant teddy bears, mugs, balloons, heart-shaped clutter) and we find ourselves spending so much money trying to show our partners how much we love them (in 2017, the UK spent £987 million on Valentine's Day.)

We think Valentine's Day is about so much more than just buying presents, so we've pulled together a list of alternative gift ideas (with help from some of the GAP team). These are things that won't cost lots of money, won't end up in the bin, and will really show your other half how much you care! 

1. Dinner for two

Many restaurants hike their prices up on Valentine's Day and it can be really tricky to get a table - who wants the stress of that?! This Valentine's Day, why not cook a nice meal of your other half instead of going out? Our Finance Manager, Matt, is planning to cook a 3 course meal for his partner - cooking all of her favourite dishes.

2. A romantic stroll
We know that getting outdoors is proven to make us happier; so why not spread the joy and get outdoors with your other half? Whether it's a stroll down the river or a walk around your local park; get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and stress of your day-to-day lives and escape for some one-on-one time. Change Coordinator, Amber, is planning a winter walk with her boyfriend and her dog this Valentine's Day.
3. Made with love

Handmade gifts are one of the best ways to show someone you love them - and even if you're not that crafty, it's the thought that counts! A quick search on Pinterest reveals hundreds of Valentine's craft ideas - from cute little crochet hearts to a personalised 'why I love you jar'.

4. Let the evening be-GIN

Forget wine tours, 2018 is all about gin tours! Many gin companies now offer tours of their distilleries - a chance to find out more about Britain's favourite spirit, it's history and how it's made. And of course all gin tours come with free samples - hooray for gin!

5. Unusual experience

What about trying something different or quirky this Valentine's Day? Quirky experiences are growing in popularity across the UK - from axe throwing(!), to Escape Rooms and even the Crystal Maze. An unusual experience like this is guaranteed to make you and your partner laugh and smile - and is certainly something either of you won't forget!

6. Make a scrapbook

A picture speaks a thousand words - so a scrapbook must speak a million! Make a scrapbook for your other half - to celebrate all your favourite memories together so far - your first date, your first kiss, your first holiday, your first Christmas together... 

7. Modern day mixtape

Spotify and Apple Music playlists are the modern mixtape. Pull together a bunch of songs - like the first song you listened to together, the theme song from the first film you watched together (hello Harry Potter soundtrack), songs that make you think of them and songs you think they'll love. Digital Marketing Coordinator, Abi, is making a playlist for her 'galentine' and close friend with an 'embarrassing' number of McFly songs in it...

8. Breakfast in bed

Who doesn't love breakfast in bed? Extra time in bed + food = winning! Whether it's avocado on toast, cereal, porridge, eggs or bacon - breakfast is a sure fire way to put a smile on your partner's face. Programme Assistant, Hannah, is planning to make her boyfriend breakfast in bed to celebrate their first Valentine's Day living together (awwww). 

Spread the love! Share your favourite Valentine's experiences and gifts with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Need more inspiration?

- What's the deal with Valentine's Day? Read our latest news story on Valentine's spending. 
- Valentine's birthday? Rachel tells us about what it's like to share her special day with every couple around the world.
- What do GAP staff think of Valentine's Day? Find out in our latest vlog.