This past Tuesday marked three years that Mike and I have been together. I can hardly believe it's been that long; it seems just last week he was "accidentally" dropping the buttflap on his onesie pajamas New Year's morning...
Our first year together we went a little crazy on gifts for each special occasion—birthdays, Christmas, anniversary—until we realized that we were spending way too much money on stuff neither of us really needed. We eventually started moving away from tangible gifts and started taking ourselves out to dinner and a movie or for a night of bowling and beers. Ever since we made that switch, special occasions have lost their pressure. I woke up on Tuesday feeling like it was a holiday when all we really had planned was dinner at one of our favorites, City Girl Cafe (if they have the brussel and bacon pizza, GET IT). After dinner we headed home for pajamas and Breaking Bad, and it was perfect. Mike surprised me with flowers and an adorable card before dinner, and I gave him a journal of our year together and this: the Year of Dates.
I originally heard about this idea from Cyndi, who saw it (where else?) on Pinterest. The concept is simple and leaves a lot of room for personalization and creativity. Basically, you come up with twelve dates—one for each month of the year—and enclose them in envelopes to be opened the first of each month. I had a standup calendar from 2013 that I wanted to repurpose somehow. I used some washi tape to affix the different colored envelopes to each page (I used the blank backs of each 2013 month). January had a Groupon to go ice skating in Kendall along with an anniversary card explaining the gift and some other sappy things I love about Mike. You know.
My favorite part about this gift was that I could use all of my different washi tapes, and I got to use some of the many different envelopes that are piling up in my stationery drawer. If you don't have all of these supplies at your disposal, you can use regular envelopes or just make your own out of some pretty paper. I love how many possibilities there are for this gift, and how budget-friendly it is, no matter what your budget is.
Our first month is ice skating, which cost $13, but I plan to do some free dates like cooking an extravagant meal at home or going for a long walk while sipping homemade lemonade (in the summer). For March, we're going to make corned beef in the crockpot, drinking Baileys, and watch Boondock Saints.
I have a feeling this gift will just turn into a tradition, in which case I can reuse this calendar/envelope set up many times.
What are your anniversary or special occasion traditions? Do you give big gifts or focus more on doing things together? We have reservations for a massage on Monday, followed by a hot tub soak at our local spa, and I'm looking forward to it like no Monday before.