As part of Handcrafted Christmas 2018, for the hubs, I decided to do a Year of Dates. I saw this idea on Pinterest from a number of pinners done a number of different ways. Everyone has their own preference to creating, so ultimately you do too, but I’ll include a number of different ideas / options / opinions below to give you an idea of all the variables you get to make decisions on.
This is a great idea for couples who don’t typically go out a lot together. We are generally homebodies and would much prefer a night in working on projects or hanging out than getting organized to go out. However, that sometimes means we don’t always make it a point to spend quality time together, so for this upcoming year, I decided to give us an excuse to do that.
- White and navy cardstock (or whatever colors you want)
- Paper cutter
- Various stickers and markers
- 12 envelopes
- Any supplements for various dates (print-outs, actual tickets, treats, etc.)
- Box to hold finished dates
Variables: As mentioned, there are lots of different ways you can execute this gift. Below are a few callouts to the variable decisions you can make about how to do it.
- Book vs. box – I saw lots of pinners who used a binder with page sleeves and letter size paper (or A4) for each date; I used a box with cards in envelopes because I got a few actual gifts to supplement some of the months
- Pre-purchase vs. Post-purchase – some pinners recommended purchasing all the materials and tickets for every date in advance so the gift would be fully pre-paid and there’d be no excuse NOT to go do it; I opted not to do this for a few reasons:
- We may change our minds on what a certain date is or where, so I didn’t want to be locked in
- I want to use Groupon for some of the months and most Groupons only offer the promotional price for 120 days, so this wouldn’t work for anything after April
- That’s a lot of money to spend at once vs. spread out over a year; especially if you’re already budget conscious at Christmas (who isn’t??), you may also want to opt to buy a few things only and save the rest as deferred payments.
- General date ideas vs. specific activities & dates – for a few of the months, I picked a specific activity and corresponding date that we’d go. I didn’t do this for every month because, depending on the time of year, we may have a packed calendar and may need to work around other commitments. I didn’t want to buy tickets or spend money on something only to have to reschedule or miss out on something with one of our families. Also, my husband is not the type to be dictated to. He WILL, but it’s not his favorite, so I wanted to create some control/choice in the gift for him.
Okay, let’s get into the how to and the date ideas.
- Brainstorm a list of dates that match your budget and location. Pair each date idea with an appropriate month. Determine the idea for each month BEFORE you start creating the date cards.
- Identify an image, drawing or sticker you can use for each date idea (pre-plan your cards). I ended up using a lot of stickers, but I also hand-drew a few cards. It doesn’t matter if you are a great drawer – this is for your other half, so hopefully they’ll be understanding of your drawing abilities.
- Create date cards. I had a couple of sessions when I sat down to do this. For me, it definitely wasn’t something I could just do in one go, both for time and creativity reasons. I used a variety of markers, stickers and drawings to illustrate each card and date idea.
- Purchase and organize any supplements.
- I purchased some boxed candy to go along with May and July, both of which are “movie months.” I also created a supplemental doc to go with June which you can see here. We are going on an all-family cruise in June and our date will be to pick and enjoy an excursion together.
- Label box and stack cards inside.
Here are some date ideas I used along with a bunch I didn’t. Keep in mind that you will have other ideas that are specific local activities unique to your area. There are a few on my list that are unique to where we live, so while you may not be able to do them, I’ve left them here to get you thinking about what you could add from your neighborhood.
- January – we’ll be going to see our city’s basketball team play; I got us super good seats (we aren’t doing so hot this season, so they weren’t terribly priced)
- February – Tea for Two at my favorite tea room
- March – Ice skating
- April – Mitchell’s Ice Cream Factory tour (and ice cream!)
- May – Dinner and a movie – we really want to see Avengers 4 when it comes out, so I picked May because it comes out May 4
- June – Excursion on our family cruise
- July – Drive-in movie
- August – Picnic
- September – Mini golf and ice cream
- October – Glassblowing
- November – Paint night
- December – Couples’ massage
- Other ideas:
- Horseback riding
- Beach day
- Laser tag
- Bike ride
- Amusement park or water park
- Other sports game (soccer, baseball, football, hockey, etc.)
- Play / musical
- Comedy show
- Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
- Kayaking / canoeing / paddle boarding
- Escape room
- Go kart riding