Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Year of Dates (in a box)

Thank you for the overwhelming response to this post! If you're interested in holiday themed dates and activities, check out unromantic date night ideas just in time for Valentine's Day!

My lovely sister and her husband celebrate their one year anniversary this year.  How to celebrate? Well, with a year's worth of date nights, of course. 

The idea here is that everything needed for each date is included in the box. I made a binder (see below) that acted as the guide to the date night box. Each month they will pick one of the dates, read through the directions found in the binder, and open any accessories marked with that number. I wanted the gift to be all-inclusive so I did my best to include everything they could possibly need for that date. And of course I tried to find new and different ideas.


The binder has twelve tabs, one for each month. While I did my best to vary the dates and put them in a logical order they are not sequential. Hence the numbered, rather than monthly, labels. Each tab starts out with a page of directions that describe what they need and will do. Following the directions are checklists, score-cards, etc. You can find all of the documents below.
Date Night rules:
  1. One date per month. No matter what. Even if you’re busy, even if you move. You must do a date each month; no more, no less. 
  2. The date (as in day of the month) on which you plan your date (as in the fun thing where you do something special together) is up to you. Some of these activities are great for a weeknight and others lend themselves to a Saturday morning. You decide!
  3. You must report back. We need a short note via email or phone call with details about what you did and how it went.
  4. Pictures are also required. Ideally you’d take one per date to make a mini series. Anything that allows you to document each of the twelve dates will work.
  5. The dates are not in sequential order. Switch things around if you need.
  6. Only open the boxes, envelopes and other strangely wrapped accessories only when you’re going on that date.  The write- ups provide as much information as you need ahead of time. No peeking!

Here's the assortment of boxes and envelopes. I used a mismatch of tissue paper, ribbons, wrapping paper and butcher paper because it's what I had around the house. Somehow everything fit perfectly into this box we had around the house. I actually like the way it turned out!

All documents are available via Google Drive. If you want to make changes, click "file," "make a copy," and save it into your drive. If you don't have or use Google Drive you can still download the file and edit that way. 

Below are the lists of items I included with each date. I tried to choose accompanying objects that would be light and easy to pack (ie a box of pudding mix). If you have more flexibility in packing and transporting you can make changes accordingly. Just remember to avoid anything that can't last a year in a box :) 
The template and any other documents or lists were printed, hole punched and included in the binder. Other items were wrapped and labeled (see pictures above). 

Month 1: Picnic


Month 2: Game Night


Month 3: Create- A- Date


Month 4: Iron Chef


Month 5: Puzzle Race


Month 6: Ice Cream Creations


Month 7: Breakfast in Bed


Month 8: Mall Scavenger Hunt


Month 9: Fort


Month 10: Library Trip


Month 11: Cosmic Bowling


Month 12: Dinner Out



I had a lot of fun putting this together. I hope you will too!



Credits: Diva Girl Parties for the Mall Rat Scavenger Hunt idea, Komunitni centrum Motylek for the Puzzle Race photo, We Love Being Moms for the Fort photo and GetRealGurls Nutrition for the Mall photo. 

36 comments:

  1. This is so thoughtful and adorable. I love it, Laura! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  2. This is the best list of 'dates' I have ever seen! my fiancé and I currently live about 5 hours away from one another because of work. we only get to see each other about once a month so this idea is a perfect way for us to make the most of that time! thanks for sharing! God Bless

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    1. Happy to share-- thanks for the kind words, Emma!

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  3. What was your secret ingredient? The Iron Chef idea is brilliant.

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    1. We did maple syrup and the results did not disappoint :)

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  4. What a fantastic idea.....I hope they love it, and have a heap of fun xox

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  5. I absolutely love this! Thank you so much for sharing, I feel like this is going to make my fiancé very happy:)

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  6. I've been looking for a practical, affordable, organized, flexible date night plan for me and my husband. Our anniversary is Dec 7th. This will be the perfect gift. Thank you!

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    1. I'm so glad! Happy anniversary to you and your husband :)

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  7. This is fantastic, but....Why do they need oversized pencils for a picnic? Everything else makes perfect sense, but I can't figure that one out.

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    1. I just added a document that I left out the first go around. You can find it under the picnic section titled "Cloud Sketches Sheet." This is what they used the oversized pencils for but normal pens or pencils would work just as well. Thanks for catching that!

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  8. Your post is really fantastic! Big thanks for share it with us! Hugs!
    ~Lydia Adams Holden, London
    Cleaning Services Acton

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    1. Happy to share it! Thanks for the comment, Lydia

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  9. This is such a great idea!! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks Tania! I'm happy to share it :)

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  10. Just to be clear, the pages in the binder are each month ideas printed?

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    1. Right. I used 12 binder tabs; one for each date. Some tabs held just the first page (like month 6) but most had several other sheets as well (month 1 for example had three sheets). All of the non- paper goods, like candy or glowsticks, were wrapped up and labeled. I crammed the binder and all the wrapped pieces into the box and sent it off!

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  11. So what do u put between the tabs

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  12. So what do u put between the tabs

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    1. Between the tabs I put all of the documents for that date. For the first month (the picnic date), for example, I have three documents: the "front page" which explains what that date is, the cloud sketches sheet and the list of parks in that city. All three of those documents are attached above via google drive. I hope that helps!

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  13. I am going to create a twist to this one. I am going to put a box together for our first year of marriage and give it to him as a wedding gift from me. He works a lot so this will help us make time and keep things from becoming monotonous. :) I cannot wait to document our first year together.

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  14. This is fantastic! Especially since I was grasping for wedding gift ideas for my friend that were "off the registry." Can you clarify one thing: is the binder included with the box of gifts or was that for your own purposes in planning out the dates? Thanks a bunch!! Can't wait to start putting this together!

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    1. Thanks Nikita! I included the binder in the box - I layered all the wrapped gifts and then put the binder on top. It included the description of each date in addition to any supplemental materials (ie the mall scavenger hunt checklist).

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  15. Hey Laura!
    This is fantastic! I love this idea. I am actually putting one of these together with a few custom tweaks to the couple I have in mind but I was wondering if I could reference your post and idea about this on my blog sheloves.simplicitywithabow.com
    I want to link your blog with my new post about how I changed a few things. Let me know! You can contact me on my blog! Thanks!

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    1. Cheyenne - thank you! I would be honored for you to feature this post on your blog. Thanks for checking :)

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  16. Hi Laura... I love this idea. I have 2 kids getting married soon and was thinking of making this for each of them. Do you let them know what the date is going to be before they choose it? I was thinking of putting construction paper over the description of the dates so that they would be surprised when they pick each number. They would see the tabs, but when they go to that tab they wouldn't be able to peek ahead of time.

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  17. I love this idea! My boyfriend owns his own company and after dealing with all the stress and working nearly every day of the week he is very much stay a in and do nothing kind of person so often "date nights" involve getting some sort of take-out food and watching movies. I love this idea as a way to get him out of the house once a month & a great way to have something planned so there is never any pressure on us last minute when we're ready to go out!

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  18. Such a fab idea, am using some of your ideas, combined with some of my own to make a year of dates box to give to my sister and her future husband as a wedding present... will make sure they send you some pictures when they get started! xxx

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  19. my husband and I have been through a lot... grieving the loss of our youngest daughter and struggling in our relationship. She had severe medical issues and we were her nurses- long story short- I think these simple dates well help us learn to enjoy each others company again. I am excited to get the things together and start soon :) Thanks for putting everything together and allowing us to print off. I know one day I could create different dates as well but this is a great start! and great gift idea.

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  20. Thank you so much! I've been driving myself crazy trying to find a gift.

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