Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thank You Gift Basket

"Empty Nest" Basket Idea!

Recently my friend and her husband generously gifted us a week in their time share condominium in Gatlinburg Tennesse. My husband John and I were able to stay there for a week last month and had a wonderful time.  I wanted to do something special for them and since they just had the last of their six kids leave for college at the end of August I knew they would be adjusting to a new life as "empty nesters" and My friend Nadya was feeling a little sad and unsure about how this would be. 

I put together a special basket for them with "date ideas," gifts, and gift cards so they could begin this new phase of life together in a fun and special way.  Below are some ideas if you would like to create your own "empty nest" basket for a special couple you know.  This would also be a great shower gift for a couple just beginning their lives together, or for an anniversary gift for a seasoned couple who may want to jump start their dating ideas!  

#1 find an awesome basket, or other container to hold your gifts

I found this one at JoAnne fabrics and used a 40% off coupon!  

#2 make up some "Date Ideas" to put in a cute jar
I used a jar from the dollar store and made a "chalkboard" label using my scrapbook oval cutter and some chalkboard contact paper.  I wrote on it with a white paint pen because I did not want regular chalk to rub off!

I also used a "business card" template on Microsoft publisher to make my own little cards to put in the jar with date ideas on them and to attach to various gifts I included in the basket.  At the end of this post you will find my list of 70 different and fun date night ideas!

#3 Get creative with gifts and date ideas!
I had fun shopping with coupons and adding stuff as I found them below are some of the things I added to my basket!

70 Date Night Ideas!
Dating your spouse is as important after you are married as it was before!  Whether you are empty nesters or newly married, many couples start taking their relationships for granted and lose sight of what drew them together in the first place.  Don't forget to take time alone together doing things you both enjoy (even after you say I DO).  And don't just wait for a special occasion to have a date night... get dressed up and make it special, even if you are just staying in to cook dinner together (light that candle).  Below is a list of fun and mostly inexpensive date night ideas that you and your spouse can enjoy together...
  1. Game Night – Blow the dust off the old board games and challenge each other… or even invite a small group of friends over to play!
  2. Net Flix – Pick a night and start a TV series together you have been wanting to watch and make it a standing date.
  3. Breakfast in Bed – Make breakfast together on the weekend and take it back to bed... in fact you can stay there all day and watch old movies!  (Perfect for a cold winter weekend… I suggest banana pancakes, YUM-O)
  4. Carry Out Date – Too busy to cook… no worries, bring home some take out, light a candle and enjoy each other’s company!
  5. Dinner Out – Busy day… plan a night out and your favorite restaurant.
  6. Sweet Treat Date – Nothing makes you feel younger than licking an ice cream cone!
  7. Movie Night – Go to the movies and watch a current flick… Don’t forget to get some popcorn!
  8. At Home Date – Cook dinner together and rent a Red Box or two and stay in and cuddle on the couch.
  9. Spa Night – Put on your robes and get out the lotion it is time to pamper each other with a massage!
  10. Bubble Bath Date – Take a long hot bubble bath together, light a candle, and share a bottle of your favorite wine… need I say more ;)!
  11. Java & Books Date – Go to your favorite bookstore and buy yourselves a new book… stop by the local coffee shop on the way home for a cup o’ joe.
  12. Picnic in the Park – Go to a nearby park, pack lunch and a blanket and don’t forget to bring bread to feed the ducks!
  13. Pretty Lights Tour – Drive around and look at all the beautiful Christmas lights…make sure to pack a thermos of hot cocoa or coffee!
  14. A Little Bit of Romance – Light a fire (or candle), pop open your favorite vino, and give each other a foot or back massage! 
  15. Build a Snowman – Build a snowman together in your yard.  Make sure to take a picture, your kids will never believe you… don’t forget the hot chocolate and mini marshmallows after!
  16. Ice Cream Sundae Date – Head to the store and pick out your favorite ice cream and toppings and create a masterpiece… enjoy your tasty treats together!
  17. Theme Night – Pick a theme and make a romantic dinner around it… Italian, French, Mexican!
  18. Boogie Down – Get out the CD player or IPod and speakers and put on some oldies but goodies, push back the living room furniture and dance the night away!
  19. Photo Album – Create a new picture album together to store away all your fun date memories!
  20. Give Me S’more– Grab some sticks and roast some marshmallows and make s’mores over the fireplace or a candle and have a “camp out” on the living room floor!
  21. Cuddle Date – Light a candle and just spend the night snuggling under a cozy blanket together.
  22. Baking Date – Bake cookies together and then pack them up and deliver them to friends!
  23. Wine Tasting – Go to a local vineyard and do a wine tasting… bring home your favorite and share together with some cheese and crackers.
  24. Harvest Date – Go apple or pumpkin picking, take a hayride, or do a fun corn maze… make sure to hold hands!
  25. Time Capsule Date – Make a time capsule together with pictures and mementos and notes to each other… open it in 10 years!
  26. Puzzle/Scrabble – Put on your jammies and put together a puzzle or challenge each other to a game of scrabble… make sure to share your favorite junk food!
  27. Rock n Roll – Go to a local bar and grab a beer or a glass of wine and watch some local talent… you might even want to put on your dancing shoes!
  28. Nerf Gun War – Get some Nerf guns (or borrow your kids) and have at it… your never to old to act like kids and has some crazy fun!
  29. Flea Market Date – Search for something special to repurpose for your house… one man’s junk is another man’s treasure… and the hunt is half the fun!  You can even start collecting something together to give you something to look for!
  30. Bonfire – Build a bonfire and roast hotdogs for dinner on sticks… sit around the fire and share about your busy week… or tell ghost stories!  It is a great way to decompress after a busy week!
  31. High School Musical – Attend a local High School play and have coffee and dessert after.
  32. Take a Class – Learn something new together.  Take a cooking, dance, fitness, or art class together.
  33. Bed & Breakfast – Splurge for a weekend and get pampered at a quaint Bed & Breakfast off the beaten path.
  34. Water Fight – It is always fun to do chores together… wash the cars and have a water fight (it can be fun drying each other off after!)
  35. Bike Ride – Get out the bikes, blow off the dust, oil the chains, and take a ride… there are some great trails at the local parks.
  36. Bucket List – Compose a bucket list together and start checking things off!
  37. Love List Date – Make a list of why I love you and share it with each other over a glass of wine!
  38. You Pick – Go to dinner at a restaurant and pick your dates dinner… point to it for the waiter to see but let each other be surprised!
  39. Bingo Date – Find a place that has Bingo and mingle with the seniors… they will love it and you might even win something and make some new friendships along the way.
  40. Antiquing Date – Drive off the beaten path and hit some quaint resale and antique shops together… you never know the treasures you might find!
  41. Wet & Wild Date – Rent a room at a local hotel and pack your swimsuits… take a dip in the pool and sit in the hot tub for a long soak.
  42. House Hunting – Go to open houses on a weekend afternoon in an area you like and dream a little.
  43. PJ Party – Pull out the sleeping bags and camp out in your living room… make sure to light some candles or build a fire in the fireplace!
  44. Goodwill Shopping – Go to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army store with a spending limit of $10 each and buy each other something!
  45. Long Drive to ???? – Take a long ride with no destination and explore a new town.
  46. Festival Date – Find a local festival and enjoy the afternoon together exploring new things.
  47. Go Fly a Kite – Go to the park and fly a kite!
  48. Down Stream – Rent a canoe or Kayak and head downstream together.
  49. Winter Night Walk – Bundle up and take a winter walk in the snow during a snowstorm… it is a magical time!
  50. Concert – Get tickets to see a concert… don’t forget your Bic lighter (oh yeah they use their cell phones nowadays!)
  51. Walk in the Woods – Take a walk in the woods together, you are sure to spot some wildlife!
  52. Malt Shop Date – Make a yummy milk shake treat together, put it in one glass but share it with two straws!
  53. Art/Craft Show Date – Attend a local art show or exhibit and pick out something new for your home.
  54. Fancy Dessert Date – Go to an expensive restaurant and just order a decadent dessert and coffee.
  55. Zoo Date – Walk around the Zoo, it is not only fun but good exercise too!
  56. New Restaurant Date – Don’t go to your same old place… try something new!
  57. Volunteer Date – Sign up to serve together at a local pantry or food bank, retirements home, or soup kitchen and lend a helping hand!
  58. Ready Set Smile Date – Take your camera and take fun pictures in local places like you are tourists and make a scrapbook… it is a cheap fun date!
  59. Restaurant Hop – Go to a different place for each course… appetizer, dinner, dessert & coffee!
  60. Sports Date – Enjoy a sporting event together… on TV, at a high school, or splurge on tickets to see your favorite college or pro team play!
  61. Bowling Date – Go bowling or pick something that you used to enjoy doing when you were first dating… glow bowling is always fun!
  62. Theater – Get tickets to a community theater… they are usually inexpensive and it is a fun night out.
  63. Stargazing – Pull out your cuddle blanket and lay under the stars and just enjoy the moment!
  64. Color Tour – Take a drive on a sunny autumn afternoon and enjoy the fall colors… stop into a new place for lunch!
  65. Fondue Date – Make your own cheese and chocolate fondue and crack open a bottle of vino!
  66. Pizza Date – Gather all of you favorite toppings and create!
  67. Geocaching/Letter Boxing – This is so much fun and it is a free activity that can be done just about anywhere!  Look online for more details and find local parks near your home for a fun adventure!
  68. Book Club – Read a book together and discuss it… better yet take turns reading to each other!
  69. Museum Date – Visit a local exhibit and enjoy coffee and a treat at a nearby cafĂ© after.
  70. Concert in the Park – Check your local community parks they often have free concerts or movies in the parks… all you need is your blanket or lawn chairs for a good time! 
There are many more ideas for fun things that you and your spouse can do together, just be creative! Sometimes it takes a little planning and fore thought, and sometimes it can be a spontaneous fun adventure but I promise you it will be well worth the time and effort you put in!  And your payoff... a stronger, happier, more content marriage, and isn't that something we all long for.  What are you waiting for... make a date with your honey tonight!

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