Valentines Day Gift Idea: A Year of Date Nights

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Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with Pinterest. Just a little.

So when I was looking for something to give my husband for Christmas, I found this amazing idea for a year of pre-planned date nights. And I knew it was something I had to try and recreate for him.

She not only planned each date, but also prepaid for many of her date night envelopes. Frankly, we didn’t have the cash around Christmas to do the same. So I just put together the ideas for all the date nights in advance. It’s the thought that counts, anyway, right? 😉

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Here’s how I made it my own:

I found an incredible box of Penguin books postcards – all featuring old, classic Penguin book covers. I fell in love with those postcards and I thought it would be neat to incorporate them in the gift.

So I had fun choosing a theme for each month, finding a postcard in the pile to coordinate and drawing up an invitation for my husband to join me on a date night. I also found a small travel-themed scrapbook kit (stickers and card stock) that was on clearance, so I grabbed that to add a little extra interest to each envelope. I thought the travel theme reflected “our journey together” nicely.

I tried to keep a relatively frugal eye to the date night planning. There were a couple splurges in there (namely, a concert), but for every splurge there was a frugal/almost free date night (i.e. a free book reading or a picnic).

Here are some ideas I came up with for our Year of Date Nights:

– Freezer cooking night. I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, how romantic, Alissa. Let’s get together and cook for several hours straight. Fun!” I actually started this themed night with the thought of taking a cooking class together – until I priced them out.

And I quickly realized there’s a reason we’ve never been to a cooking class together. Ha! It’s just not in our budget right now. So my wheels started turning and my thought was… you know, we can actually have fun doing mundane things together, if we’re in “date night” mode. So we’ll buy a bottle of wine (optional), turn some music on and have some fun getting some cooking done for the month. Not into freezer cooking? Just plan to cook a nice dinner at home! You don’t even have to pay a babysitter, if you want to feed the kids, put them to bed and plan on a later dinner together.

– The AMC Best Picture Showcase. It’s something we try and make it to every year (we had to miss the year our daughter was born within a week of the event – and even then we were tempted). It’s an incredible experience for movie fans: a 12-hour movie marathon that features all 5 of the Best Picture nominees. In a row. It’s one of our favorite dates all year, so you can bet it was going in the date night basket!

Here’s what the “invite” looked like:

Roller-skating. Yes, roller-skating. I was trying to go for something active that was a little bit outside our comfort zone. I almost chose bowling, but thought that wouldn’t be a great idea, given my husband’s semi-recent shoulder surgery. I happened to find a nearby roller skating rink that was open on Friday evenings.

– Run a 5K together. My husband has expressed interest in running a 5K together recently… so I’m making sure we make those plans a reality. I scouted out a nearby race that happened to be both an evening race and which also raises funds for a disease that has affected his family, so it’s an extra special race for us. Plus it includes a get-together for all race participants at a nearby restaurant, so that’ll help round out date night!

What do you think? What kind of date nights would you include?


  1. says

    What a fun idea, and a great way to keep the spark in your relationship month after month! I love the freezer cooking date night. That could actually be quite fun. Thanks for sharing!

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