Mark planned some pretty sweet date nights in 2013. I mean, the guy feels constricted in most t-shirts, so you know that’s love when he willingly suggests we get dolled up to go out to eat, he in a tux, I in my black sequined jacket. Everyone at the Mexican restaurant asked us where we were going. To which we replied, “Here!”
Our server was sweet enough to offer to take some photos of us to remember the occasion by. They are some of my favorite of last year!
Anyway, I felt like it was my turn to show Mark some major love through some special date nights this new year, so for Christmas, I gave him a collection of pre-planned date nights, one for each month in 2014!
And here is Mark’s priceless reaction to it on Christmas morning:
(NOTE: the particular date he is getting excited about is a board game marathon.)
I think he liked it!
And really, this is a gift to both of us. We’ve committed to “date” each other through the years, no matter how busy life gets. It’s important to us to carve out intentional time together to grow our relationship. That way, when life’s storms do hit (and they will), we’ll have a solid foundation to stand on, so we can weather whatever comes our way…together.
How to Make Your Own!
Here’s all you need in order to create a mini-book with 12 Pre-Planned Date Nights for you and your sweetheart:
- 2 sheets of white cardstock
- assorted divider pages (scrapbook paper, magazine paper, photos, book pages…you can really use whatever suits your fancy!)
- hole punch (some of these are affiliate links)
- binder ring, twine, or ribbon
- free PDF printable (download instructions below!)
So, in terms of the gift design, I adopted the idea of a “pocket-sized mini-book” from Ashley over at The Creative Place who offers up an awesome free printable for a Mother’s Day gift akin to this one; in fact, that’s a project idea you just might want to squirrel away for the next few months.
Then, I printed them on white cardstock, adjusting my printer settings to the highest quality photo settings.
Just inside the cover, there’s a dedication page…
…followed by each month of the year and the specific date night I’ve planned out. At the beginning of each new month, it’ll be my responsibility to look at the calendar and designate an evening (or afternoon) for our special date that month.
I even included a “wild card,” which either of us can put into play when we’re feeling extra…well…wild!
In between each sheet of cardstock, I included cut-outs of red, pink, and gray scrapbook paper for added whimsy. This was another idea from Ashley’s post that I was keen on. It makes the collection even more thick and colorful! You could even replace the scrapbook paper with memorabilia or photographs.
And for the grand finale card, I made a special Valentine’s Day farewell…with space for a personal note and signature.
I cut out all my cardstock and scrapbook paper dividers, punched holes in the upper-left corner of each of them, and strung them on a binder ring. Done and done!
UPDATE: Since publishing this initial post, I created a new-and-improved version of this printable with new color schemes, cover options, occasion cards…and so much more. (Yup, it’s now a 14 page printable PACK chock full of gift-giving goodness.)
Just fill out your name and email below to nab your freebie!
Our 12 Months of Date Nights
Here’s a run-down of all of our 12 months of date nights just to get your creative juices flowing as you plan out your own:
JANUARY: Let’s enjoy our evening by the fire pit, roasting s’mores and picking up where we left off in reading aloud Catching Fire.
FEBRUARY: We’ll pack a picnic dinner and head to Leu Gardens for an outdoor movie: “Stuck in Love.” Gardens open at 6p, movie at 7:30p.
MARCH: Let’s get dolled up for a night at the theatre to see Children of Eden at the Cocoa Village Playhouse!
APRIL: Road trip! Let’s head north to Blue Springs State Park. We can explore the park by canoe and look out for manatees.
MAY: How ’bout a game of singles tennis? Followed up by brunch at White Wolf Cafe. We’ll ride our bikes, of course!
JUNE: Now that you’ve seen the light about Downton Abbey, let’s plan a D.A. Marathon! And make fondue!
JULY: In honor of our anniversary month (5 years!), let’s open up the chest and read through some of our old love letters. Then, let’s each write a letter to each other to open in 20 years!
AUGUST: To College Park we go! Part I – We each have $20 to spend at Dechoes thrift store. Part II – We’ll grab a bite to eat at Infusion Tea!
SEPTEMBER: D.I.Y. Duo Date! We’ll scour Pinterest for a project that suits our fancy, then pull out the power tools and craft supplies to make it happen…together!
OCTOBER: Food Crawl: first we’ll enjoy appetizers at Cafe Tu Tango, followed by the main course at Pho 88, and top it off with dessert at the Blue Bird Bake Shop!
NOVEMBER: I’ll grab the wine if you grab the cheese…for a sunset boat cruise to look for owls and to enjoy the night air.
DECEMBER: Game Night! Carcassone followed by Small World followed by Ticket to Ride. And a hot drink for each game.
WILD CARD: After a bike around Lake Baldwin, let’s get some frozen yogurt, then sit on the dock and draw up the blueprints of our dream home!
And a Pinterest-friendly graphic for the pinners:
Although Valentine’s Day is around the bend, I think this gift would be lovely year-round be it for a birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day, on an anniversary…or one of those unexpected gifts on a random Monday. I guarantee it will turn even the most ordinary day into something extraordinary.
On a Mini-Book Kick?
If you’re like me and just can’t get enough of these mini-books, be sure to check out my latest one, a “What I Love About You From A to Z” Mini-Book Gift. Your recipient will receive a barrage of love through 26 different affirmations, one for each letter of the alphabet! Check it out HERE.
Hungry for More Meaningful Gift Ideas?
If this post has whet your appetite for more gifts that aren’t too expensive but come straight from the heart, guess what? I wrote a 143-page eBook to help my comrades come up with meaningful and one-of-a-kind gift ideas quickly, some in as short as 5 minutes.
The book includes:
- 21 gift ideas
- 78 actionable-examples
- 20 pages of printables.
Oh, and most of the gift ideas will cost you $10 or less. Truth. So, what are you waiting for, friend? Click HERE so you can read the sample chapters before nabbing your copy of Thinking Outside the Gift Box.
Join the revolution as we rediscover the joy of giving.