image of two passes to a brewery tour

A Year of Dates

A few months ago, I decided to invest in a Year of Dates to share with my partner. Best. Gift. Ever. For both of us.

stack of envelopes containing date night ideas

It had occurred to me that since the birth of our son, we had gone out with friends a few times, and attended some really fun events , but we hadn’t been on a single date for nearly two years. In fact, our last date had been the night before he was born–a glorious quiet dinner in our favourite pub, and then a great movie at the nicest cinema in town. The next morning I went into labour and life was forever changed with a new addition to our already adventurous family. And like most busy parents, we are now desperately in need of mandated time for just the two of us, so read on to see what I did!

  • Went online to see if there were any good deals on upcoming events and shows–scored a few great deals on tickets. These were the splurges.
  • Searched my rewards points to see if there were any interesting gift cards available for cinemas, restaurants, and shops.
  • Also went to the local drugstore, which has an enormous bank of gift cards. Prices ranged from $10 to $50 for the ones I chose.
  • Thought up a few free dates as well, and planned them out, with printouts of details and maps.
  • Let my buddies in on the plan–they were all really excited about the idea, and they volunteered to babysit (even four months in advance!) to help us out.
  • Prepared twelve envelopes, and put the necessary tickets/gift cards/map/details inside.
  • Wrote letters for my partner to read, talking about why I chose each date, and how much I’m looking forward to the time together.
  • Sealed the envelopes, and wrote the assigned day & time, what to wear (casual, formal, adventure wear), and as who is booked for babysitting on the back.

We open them together a few days in advance of the date, but you could wait until the last minute if that’s your style. So far we’ve been on four dates–a night at the Ballet, a nice dinner in a favourite restaurant, a movie night, and a brewery tour with wings after.

Envelope with letter and brewery tour pass inside

We’ve had such great times so far this year–and in each case, it wasn’t so much the event that was the highlight, but the time spent before or after just chatting and being excited about being out together. There’s a little more dreaming and planning that goes on during our time out together, too, which is surely good for the soul.

Parcel of envelopes tied with a ribbon

So go for it. Honestly, call in every offer for babysitting you’ve ever had, and make it happen. The grown-up time spent out of the house without the kiddos is just as much fun as building Lego car castles and blanket forts–I promise.

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