It has been two years since our first date, though we use the 23rd of September as the day we commemorate our relationship.
For our anniversary I really wanted to make it special. Instead of gifting Caleb something for him, I wanted to gift US something we can do together - we are celebrating our love after all.
I decided to make him A Year of Dates in a Box. I got this idea off of one of my favourite muses- Pinterest and with much aid from this page I crafted my anniversary project.
The thing I love most about this gift idea for an anniversary is that it isn’t just about the other person, rather it a gift that keeps on giving to both parties over the next year in your relationship. You are in charge of how you will set it up and tailorize it to suit your relationship. For example, if you as a couple are adventure/thrill seekers, make the most of each date night by including hike locations to places you have never sought out, a rock climbing date or even a gift card to Pursuit OCR in Toronto! Make it fun and active. For those who are home bodies, tailor this experience to try new activities in the home. Perhaps you just moved into a new place and you both have been wanting to paint the walls a fresh shade of cream. Add a can of paint, brushes and fondue set as one of your date nights. It is completely your free space, much like blogging, you pilot the next 12 experiences.
I know, I know...this looks like a lot and to be quite honest it is. This gift is and can be a frugal, inexpensive yet totally sentimental gift idea if you let it. Set your budget and follow through. I tend to throw my budget out the window and go crazy.
For example, my last gift to Caleb next September (which will be year 3) is a gift card to The Keg. Instead, you can always do something as simple as recreating your first date (one activity) or planning an activity you both have always wanted to do. Either way, it can be economical and seeing as it is 12 date ideas you can always complete the first 8 and wait to complete the final 4 later on (if financially that is what works in best interest for you).
Again, any of the crafting can be omitted. The same notion applies to the personalized tags as a sharpie writing the numbers is just as efficient! All gifts can be made frugal or opted out for something else. This is your creative project and a means to resemble the love you both share for one another. These dates are intended NOT to be overly extravagant (if you so choose) but a way to connect that is fun, flirty and outside the comfort of the same dates. I mean, you TOTALLY can make this gift to the nines if it is within budget. Do you, have fun and do what is within your reach without being hard on yourself (yes, I know, Gena practice what you preach). These dates should spice up your love life and introduce activities that are familiar, different, unique or even something that’s sparks a memory between you both. It doesn’t need to be one way or the other. It could be all new activities, stuff you both love with a twist, the familiar ones, or a mix of everything in between!
1. Plan: On Word, outline the months, number them and figure out what activity will be suited for each month. If there is anything edible involved in your date, try and bump those acutivities up in the execution time line (and check expiration dates). Remeber to be mindful of the season. For example, a water fight in March may not fare well - push that activity to the summer months. You are free to brainstorm the longest and hardest in this arena. If you need to be more frugal with this activity, nothing says I love you like home made fun and activities. It may take some time, but the date nights will come to you and you are free to use any ideas above.
2. Buy items: Give yourself some time with this aspect. At least a week to organize which items go with each month.
3. Wrap & number: Grab a tab of sticky notes to itemize each activity. If all October gifts will be the first of the twelve months. Wrap as you go (all #1/October gifts) and leave them with a sticky note OR label each as #1. I went extra with mine as you can see below and tagged some of them, but a simple sharpie will do just find and will say you on necessary costs.
4. Edit and print: Using Canva, outline your journal of activities. You can do this in many many ways. THIS IS YOUR SPACE, I included a sample page above to showcase how you can design your project with this amazing software. I included a table of contents (each month and number), a dedication page, and a How To Use book (explaining the box, what we will do and so forth. Specifically to my box, I included my polaroid camera, that way, we can document a picture for each activity. This way, we have a collection of memories to look back on and can make our own little scrapbook if we so choose....WAIT AN IDEA FOR THE FINAL MONTH?! I finished mine, but see, as I write, ideas just POP into this little head of mind. Seriously, getting creative with date ideas and creating this project will spur from anywhere!
5. Bind and check over: CHECK FOR TYPOS. I always suggest using word before, that way, it can catch any mis-spelled words. Also, rec citing the passages o yourself can help with any run ons or grammar altogether (although, most of my blog posts are riddles with the things I am telling you to look out for)...oh well! Nonetheless, as you will see in step 7, you do not necessarily need to bind them the traditional way. You can easily use an old binder at home, a local printer and hole puncher and VOILA! You can give your partner sheet by sheet each month, that way they are not tempted to snoop through and ruin the surprises. OR LEAVE OUT THE ACTIVITY ALTOGETHER for each month and leave hints in your monthly descriptions. Whatever the plan ensure it is cohesive while you are editing it all and compiling your project.
6. Spray paint box or decorate front: This is completely optional. Have fun, be as extravagant or as minimalistic as you would like to! I used the black foam board and cut it to fit in the indentation and wrote out Happy Anniversary Caleb. You can leave it as just that (with your partner's name of course) or even label it A Year of Dates. HAVE FUN!!
For this section, a simple happy anniversary drawn by hand is sufficient. Just give it a little something to know what it is so the box is never tossed out by mistake!
7. Velcrow hidden tabs (optional) if you would like all the dates to be a surprise, make sure that the descriptions or titles are blocked off if you so choose. I cut out black construction paper to hide the activity names by binding it together with Velcro pieces to reveal. It is a lot more work and at the end of the day, your partner can easily sneak peak, but it reassured my own peace of mind. This is completely optional and you could even just buy or use an old binder and add a date sheet to it each month which could eliminate this step all together. Meaning, giving your partner each sheet to add to the binder when it is all said and done avoiding the sneak peaks.
Please NEVER hesitate to comment below or sent me a direct message on Instagram if you need help planing out this gift idea. If you are struggling to figure out an idea I can most definitely help you compile some or help you with the Canva app!