Every year for the last 8 years, from Valentine’s Day until the first weekend of March, has been spent in reminiscent mode. These are what I affectionately refer to as the High Holy Days of our story – our love story, that is. How we started dating, how I convinced the Sexy, Beard-Sporting, Man of God to just give it a shot with me, and then BAM! Here we are, 6 years of marriage, 3 kids, 5 moves, and almost 25 chickens later. This is my real life fairy tale and I wouldn’t trade it for all the Disney magic in Orlando.
Each year, we love celebrating our anniversary. Whether it’s hiking in the rain or the snow, a lunch hibachi, or an evening at a French restaurant, there’s just something so special about celebrating our latest milestone, remembering what brought us here, and looking forward to the future.
If you’re like me, living in the land of little people, anniversaries may look a little different. It may mean a breakfast date instead of dinner. It may mean a night in instead of a night out on the town. It may mean waiting to getaway until the baby isn’t up every 2 hours at night.
And I think that’s totally fine because part of the fun of an anniversary is sharing together in what’s changed and what hasn’t over all the years you’ve been together.
Like, sometimes, I know back in September what I’m getting my husband for our anniversary.
And sometimes, it’s two days before Christmas and I’m scouring Amazon Prime for SOME stroke of genius that seems ‘just right’.
This is my real life.
So for me, and maybe you?, I’m making a list of anniversary, romantic, love, and intentionality inspired date nights so that when I’m sleep deprived, out of creative juices, or just looking to round out a gift, I have some ideas ready to go.
Shall we begin?
Out of the Box Anniversary Gifts and Activities that Will Knock His Socks Off
Games for Two
Activities are so much fun! Doing something together can’t be beat. There are classics, movies, ice skating, mini golf, real golf, and also, there’s GAME NIGHT!! I love this idea because with little kids at home, usually our date night is at 9pm after we get them off to bed and games are great activities for us to do at home together.
Sometimes all it takes is a little competition to spice things up.
Ping Pong (otherwise known as Table Tennis) is a great way to have some friendly competition. In case you didn’t grow up spending your entire summer playing in your grandma’s basement, here’s the how-to on Table Tennis.
Wii Sports and Sports Resort is a classic in our house. When we can’t go bowling because kids are sleeping in the other room, we bowl electronically in the living room.
What about the classics?
Stomple which maybe wasn’t a classic in your family is definitely a classic in mine. Your stomper indicates which color of marbles are yours to stomple and there are jumps. The last one with their own marbles on the board is the winner!
Uno went with us on our 5 week mission trip/honeymoon and we used that deck to make new friends and hang out with lots of people. The deck is no longer complete but I can’t bear to part with it. For two players you can keep score and then use this as a running date night activity.
Rummikub is in my opinion the best way to play Rummy. Well, to be fair, I don’t know that I’ve played actual Rummy. You use tiles to make straights and sets, keeping score.
Banagrams is like speed Scrabble, building words in front of yourself with your own letters until all of the letter tiles are gone.
Carcassonne is inspired by a French town of the same name, which is a medieval city where, let’s just say, there wasn’t a plan for how to lay it out. This game emulates that.
Ticket to Ride is a game where you connect cities by railroad. Strategy comes in on what to keep and what to toss. Expansion packs are available for Europe, India, and Africa.
Yahtzee is competitive but not strategic, so it can help take some of the competitive edge off. Roll 5 dice up to three times and YAHTZEE!!
Jenga is a classic game moving blocks from bottom to top without toppling the tower. You can also modify this game by writing fun directives on the blocks to take the game up a notch.
And sometimes, competition leads to a fight. So here are some cooperative games for the two of you to enjoy.
Wildcraft is a board game that helps you learn about edible plants. Which is good if you’re married to an outdoorsy sort.
Forbidden Island requires that you capture the four elements of wind, water, fire, and earth before the island they are hidden on sinks.
Castle Panic allows you to work together to protect your castle from monster attacks! If that’s not a metaphor for marriage, I don’t know what is!
Off the Beaten Path
I love that je ne sais quoi factor in a gift. Something off the beaten path, or something above and beyond. In the last few years, my husband and I have done some things with online resources as gifts and it’s one of my favorites!
Melt Couple’s Massage Videos were one of these. My husband bought us these PG videos on massage techniques and for the first time, I was able to give him a back rub that didn’t leave me with hand cramps (and the one I got was pretty awesome too!)
The Respect Dare or another marriage devotional book is a unique gift. This is not a “here, honey, let’s do this together”. This is more like a “here, honey, I’ve done/am doing this for you to love you better”.
Like maybe 31 Days to Great Sex? Or even Marriage, Sex, and Intimacy?
I also love the idea of taking a class like Becoming More Sexually Engaged for Christian Wives.
You guys also know that I’m really in to encouraging my husband in his outdoorsy-ness. So I love these ideas for the outdoorsy guy.
But I also recently heard that for guys who have bigger, costlier, or complicated hobbies and you’re not sure what to get them, to just get one small thing. If he wants to fix an engine, do a little research on the spark plugs he’ll need. If he likes to build computers, a tiny screwdriver will be awesome. And if he wants to get backyard chicken, some poo boots might be just the ticket.
And for the Sentimental
Guys, I found these Love Books online and can I just say, I’m a little too excited about these? It’s reminds me of the Love is… comics only it’s YOUR story in a book. So cool.
And I’m totally a sucker for things like this that have my words to my husband right on them.
Of course, there’s playing to his love language, like…
writing a love letter
making his favorite meal
going on a hike
wrapping up one of the board games
or giving him that back rub
Dinner out at a favorite restaurant? Yes please.
A walk through downtown Christmas lights? Yum.
Romantic movies? Yes. (I have found the key to my husband and I being on the same page on this is to choose historical fiction…they usually include some sort of love story, but the history and being able to look up stuff on google makes it so we’re both pretty happy with the choice. So Downton Abbey, ftw.)
A weekend away? Heck to the yes.
Candles lit all over the house? Mmmmmm
Soak in the tub or hot tub? *raises hand*
Need some more great ideas?
Want to have meaningful conversation on your date night? Check this out!
Here are some great posts on date night activities – in or out of the house!
And where do you get the extra money for date night when the budget is tight?
(I’m linking to these posts because I think they’re great. It doesn’t mean I agree with everything on their websites.)
What is your favorite way to celebrate your anniversary? I’d love to hear about any clever ideas I may have missed!