Year of Dates Gift 2.0

Last year for Adam’s birthday I gave him a Year of Dates and it turned out to be one of the best gift ideas ever! It was such a great opportunity to spend quality time together and try new things/see new places around the city. I also love the idea of gifting experiences instead of just buying all the things. Because we had so much fun last year, I decided to give him another Year of Dates for his birthday last weekend.

If you’re not familiar with the idea, Year of Dates is a gift of 12 pre-planned and (somewhat) pre-paid activities. I originally got the idea from Camille from Friday We’re in Love, so if you need more date ideas or want to see other ways to package them, check out her blog!

Anyway, last year I put together a binder for all of the dates. I had a page for every month with a description of the activity and the other page was for tickets, brochures, menus, or any other info for the date (see more here). I wanted to do something different this year, so I ended up using these cardstock sheets decorated with washi tape. Then I used some baker’s twine to bundle the cards together.

I love how it turned out and it was really cheap to make. I already had the cardstock and baker’s twine, so I only had to buy the washi tape. Michael’s had their individual washi tape rolls for 3/$1, so I bought like 18 different ones. I probably didn’t need that many, but I wanted plenty of options and didn’t want to have to go back to the store.

I ended up handwriting all of the cards because I think it looks so much more personal than printing them out. Although I probably did all of them at least 3 times, so maybe I should have just printed them and saved paper!

I was a little worried about coming up with 12 more date ideas after using all of my good ones last year, but it ended up being easier than I thought! I ended up with way more than 12 ideas, so I saved a list for next year. Honestly, the hardest part is matching up dates with months. We live in Phoenix, so I didn’t want to plan anything outdoors from like May - October. I also wanted to stick with activities we’ve never done together.

I also tried to have a good mix of expensive dates (UTV tour, Verde Canyon Railroad, Staycation) with cheaper dates (Japanese Friendship Garden, Goat Yoga, Musical Instrument Museum). Our library has a great culture pass program that covers admission to certain museums for free, so our January date will only cost me lunch! I’m also going to use a Groupon for the Classic Cooking 5-Course Dinner + Wine date to save $$$ (don’t forget to use Ebates to earn cash back on those Groupons).

The gift was perfect for Adam’s birthday because I could use the December date for his birthday adventure, but it would also make an excellent Christmas present or anniversary gift. It also doesn’t need to be for a significant other. You could plan a Year of Adventure for your parents, children or friends. It take a bit of planning, but it’s actually a lot of fun to put together. I used a spreadsheet to keep track of my ideas and sort them into months. I rearranged everything about 100 times, but I’m really happy with the list I ended up with.

December: UTV Tour
January: Japanese Friendship Garden + Sushi Lunch
February: Goat Yoga
March: Electric Desert at Desert Botanical Garden
April: Verde Canyon Railroad
May: Agaves & Tequila Tasting Class
June: Classic Cooking 5 Course Dinner + Wine
July: Staycation
August: Musical Instrument Museum
September: Glass Blowing Class
October: Downtown Phoenix Food Tour
November: Saguaro Lake Boat Cruise

If you’re planning your own Year of Dates and need more date ideas I recommend checking out last year’s post, reading Camille’s blog, searching Groupon, looking at local event calendars, and searching Tripadvisor for popular sites/activities in your area. I ended up planning all of our dates as outside activities, but you could also plan a few home dates too. I think a chocolate or wine taste testing date at home would be such a fun idea!

P.S. We've already gone on our December UTV tour date! You can see all of the beautiful desert pictures and read about our first time off-roading together here.


  1. That is such a sweet idea! Love the DIY aspect of it

  2. What a cute idea for a gift for a special someone!

  3. This is an amazing idea! I think I'll do this next year for my husband. It's so hard to know what to get each other. I hate buying stuff we don't need.

  4. What a great idea for gifts for your partner! I wish I had the foresight to plan something like this for my husband. I love gifting experiences over things anyway.

  5. This is such a fun idea. It would be nice if I got the gift certificates for what we would need to eliminate an excuse.


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