February 14, 2017

When I was looking for a first anniversary present for Nick, I wanted it to be paper, since that is what the traditional first anniversary present is. I gave up on traditional anniversary presents after year 1.


Anyway, while browsing on Pinterest, I found this site which talked about giving your significant other One Year of Dates.

Basically, you write out 12 different dates, put them in envelopes, and wrap it all up in a box.

You could come up with date nights at home, you could write out places you want to go together, or you could buy gift certificates to places you like to go together. Or you could do a combination of all of those things. The first time I did it, I bought 12 different gift cards for little dates – they ranged from $5 to $20.

Nick really loved this anniversary present, and it was so fun to dip into the box each month when we wanted to do something but didn’t know what to do. What I loved most about this was that it got us out of the house for dates when Nick was working on his MBA and probably would have just opted to stay at home instead if it had been up to him.

For our second anniversary, I couldn’t do the one year of dates box because at that point, we didn’t know if we were moving or staying in Hawaii for one more year. I had no idea what the next year would look like. I don’t even remember what I got him instead.

For our third anniversary, which we had in August, I decided to make him the one year of dates box again since I knew we would be here for a while.

So here’s how I did it. First, I chose things that were inexpensive. I bought gift cards to the movies, our favorite lunch spots, an ice cream place, our favorite fast food place, our favorite breakfast spot. Nick doesn’t drink coffee but a gift card to your favorite coffee shop would be perfect too. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and I chose things that we would want to do anyway if we had the time. I also used Groupon! I just have to make sure I don’t forget about that Groupon before it expires.

I feel like Nick doesn’t get enough time to just relax at home with his new job, so I also made little IOU slips for at home dates. One IOU slip was for a romantic meal at home, another was for a movie night with popcorn and snuggles. When I made them, we had just moved into our house in Hawaii and the movers hadn’t brought our stuff yet. When you don’t have anything to cook with or a couch to sit on, a nice meal at home and a movie night curled up on the couch sound like absolute heaven. Ok honestly, they still do!

IOU slips and gift cards might seem like a silly gift idea to give your significant other, but it turned out to be a great gift. Nick doesn’t usually want much, so why not give him something that we both can enjoy all year long? It was kind of practical because we tend to go out to the movies and go get ice cream anyway. But giving it to him as a present made it more special, and when we do go out and use the gift cards, it feels like a free night out.

I might just do this every year on our anniversary. It makes the time together feel more special, and it forces us to go out on a date when life gets crazy. It’s probably too late to do this for Valentine’s day, but I think it makes a great gift for any holiday — anniversary, birthday, Christmas, etc.

Would you do something like this? What is the best gift you’ve ever given?

Photo by Basia Ambroziak

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16 responses to “Gift idea: one year of dates.”

  1. Emma says:

    I love, love love this idea (and gave up on the traditional gifts too after I gifted my husband a tin of peaches in desperation for ‘fruit’ LOL)

  2. This sounds like the perfect gift idea! I feel like Chris and I always focus on things that we can give that material versus thinking of gifts that would give our time or energy. I love the idea of just choosing to have a quiet night at home instead of buying each other something that we don’t really need.

    • Carolann says:

      I hate the idea of filling up our house with crap we don’t need which is why I love doing something like this for any holiday! Especially when you move around all the time, you constantly have to be going through your stuff and putting things away in new houses and it gets exhausting. I would much rather have a night out or just spend time together at home than Nick run out and buy me just because he thinks he needs to. We decided to just not buy each other anything for Valentine’s Day this year because we really just don’t need anything, but we did go out to dinner over the weekend which was so much more special to me.

  3. Leanna Cherry says:

    How did I not know that Nick doesnt drink coffee?!!

    Such a great idea, I definitely may need to steal this. After 18 years, I’m running low on ideas!

    • Carolann says:

      Not only does Nick not drink coffee, he also thinks it’s absolutely disgusting. Coffee breath, coffee grinds, he hates it all. It’s rough cause you know how much I love coffee. Yet, he will do things like make me a fancy cup of coffee or seek out the best coffee shop in whatever place we are visiting. I am always trying to get him to drink it because I don’t know how he survives work without it. It’s one of the great struggles of the Chambers household 😉

      I really think that Kev would love this gift and I think you totally should do it! It’s a lot of fun and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. I don’t know how you keep coming up with ideas after 18 years! I think I am just going to keep on doing the dates box!

  4. Jen says:

    I love this! I think those gifts are far better than anything else. It’s something that I have done as well. 🙂

    • Carolann says:

      I agree! Especially when your time together is limited, the best gift really is just spending time together doing anything!

  5. Carly says:

    I love this idea and love that you actually got the gift cards. Sometimes it’s easy to get lazy, like you said, even when you have good date ideas in mind. And so fun to have built in date ideas for the entire year. We came across a gift card from a wedding shower (so like 4 years ago…) and used it this weekend and it was such a nice treat to do something without having to spend any money!

    • Carolann says:

      I knew that if I just wrote out that we would go get ice cream, it wasn’t as likely to happen as if I just went out and bought the gift cards. It started getting expensive which was how I got the idea for “free” date nights at home, but those are the best kind of date nights. I love that you found that gift card! It’s always more fun to go out when you have a gift card!

  6. Audrey says:

    I love this. I did a year of dates as a Christmas gift for our best friends a few years back! Then I did a year of gifts for their daughter when she was born! (It was 6 months of toys or clothes and then 6 $10 envelopes for her bank account.) I’ve never done a year-long gift for K, though. I should!

    • Carolann says:

      I love the idea of giving this to someone else as a gift! It would be such a good wedding shower gift or a bridal shower gift. I think K would love it:))

  7. This is such a fun gift idea!! I love it!

  8. Julie says:

    This is perfect! So much better then getting them a video game or whatever! Will try this out!! Hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day!

    • Carolann says:

      Thank you! I agree, it’s way better than just buying something random. If you do try this please let me know how it goes!

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