Love is in the air this Valentine's Day, and most people are giving their significant others romantic expressions of their passion. But traditional gestures, like flowers and candy, have a very short shelf life, and after a few days, they're all but a memory. Jewelry lasts quite a bit longer, of course, but not every budget has $1,000 sitting around to purchase a memorable trinket of gold and diamond jewelry.

There's one other gift that not only brings lasting value but can keep giving... and giving. And that, of course, is the stock of a thriving U.S. company. It's not that uncommon, really: Kanye West famously gave wife Kim Kardashian a $200,000 stock portfolio one Christmas, and Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson gifted his teammates $12,000 worth of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock in 2019.

Stocks are an outstanding present -- not only for another person but also for yourself. The key is to look for stocks to hold forever, and not just have a brief fling. Below is a trio of stocks that you can buy and hold and love forever.

A red heart-shaped box filled with hundred dollar bills, sitting on hundred-dollar bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

Where do you buy your gifts?

Let's start with one of the greatest companies of all time -- Amazon.com. It's where more than 150 million Prime users worldwide shop for their wares. The company claimed a 56.1% share of the online marketplace as of 2018 and has only grown since then. It also boasts a booming Amazon Web Services (AWS) business, which delivered more than $45 billion for the company in fiscal 2020. So why buy a gift from Amazon when you could own the stock?

While most companies struggled during the pandemic, Amazon propelled itself to record-breaking numbers. In the fourth quarter, Amazon recorded a mind-blowing $1.4 billion of sales EACH DAY. And in 2020, the stock returned just over 76% to its network of happy investors.

Even though founder Jeff Bezos recently announced he's stepping down from his position as CEO after 27 years, Amazon shows no signs of slowing down. It will continue its aggressive spending in 2021 as it beefs up its warehouse, fulfillment, office space, and data center capacities. There's little doubt the company will maintain its vision even as its original visionary steps down. It's a stock that deserves a place in your portfolio -- forever.

Get rich paying for gifts

Once you choose your gifts, how are you going to pay for them? How about via digital and e-commerce payment provider PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ:PYPL).

The company has been growing like gangbusters. In its recent fourth quarter, both net income and operating income soared, and net revenue was up 23% to $6.12 billion. It also added 72.7 million new accounts, which puts its total active accounts at 377 million.

PayPal is shaking up the financial industry and adding additional merchants. As more and more people see the company as a trusted way to make purchases online, PayPal should continue to provide investors with impressive performance. If you believe that the future of retail is going online, consider buying this stock and never looking back.

Cleaning up from cleaning up

After all the gifts are opened, the flowers are put in vases, and the chocolates are devoured, you're left with one thing: trash. And that's the name of the game for forever stock Waste Management (NYSE:WM).

Garbage is definitely not romantic, but steady income and cash flows are -- and that's what this company delivers. As the U.S. leader in trash, Waste Management has 20 million customers, 224 solid landfills, 124 gas-to-energy facilities, and 145 natural gas fueling stations.

The company thrives during any environment -- although it did take a temporary hit from its commercial business customers during the pandemic as offices closed down -- and recessions, in general, won't hurt it. And it recently added 3 million customers in 16 states a few months ago when it purchased Advanced Disposal.

To put a little cherry on the cake, Waste Management just increased its dividend for the 18th year in a row, so it makes a nice portfolio addition for the retirement crowd, as well. It may not be a fast-growing company, but it's a slow and steady achiever in a business that's not going away anytime soon.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day with your loved one. And if you don't have a partner now, there's always next year. But if you add these three stocks to your portfolio, you'll be adding three companies that will never stop delivering benefits -- no matter who your significant other may be.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.