Two of the most romantic gift ideas I've come across won't cost you a dime. They were suggested on the Reader's Digest website, I think. Apologies to all concerned if I've got the wrong source.
With these declarations of love, it doesn't matter if your significant other is eighteen or eighty, a dreamy romantic or a matter-of-fact realist. Neither does it matter if its Valentines Day, a birthday or a non-occasion...there are just simple expressions of love.
The Soap Trick
To pull this off you're going to have to either wait until your partner is tucked under the covers before you go to bed or be first to get up in the morning.
Write the words "I Love You" on the bathroom mirror with a piece of soap. Then sneak outside and on the drivers side window of the car, write, "Did I tell you lately that I love you?"
The car window idea is a nice touch because it will be there at the end of the day and your mate will have warm fuzzy feelings on the way home to you!
The Historical Tour
Surprise your beloved with a picnic lunch, packed and ready.
Take her to visit two or three places that have had meaning to you as your relationship developed ... even if that means eating your picnic on the patio at Burger King if that's where you went after you first date!
Talk about the things that were going on in your lives at the time, what you were dreaming about in those days and how you see your lives together unfolding in the future.
The reason I like these romantic gift ideas is that they're free, they work for either men or women, and the communication is appreciated no matter the age.
Some version of these simple romantic gestures were what passed for gift giving throughout history. The exception may have been lavish presents from a nobleman to his lady. But given the ratio of aristocrats to commoners in the world, I think it was more likely that spontaneous expressions of affection were the norm.
But in our consumer culture we often have to take out our wallet and shop for romantic gift ideas.