*TIP: If you ever make a purchase for your anniversary, Christmas, or spouse’s birthday, make sure you activate your cash back through Ebates! It’s free money on things you already buy and can add up really fast (I installed the bookmark tool so that a little reminder pops up anytime I am eligible for cash back on any website I am on). We love to use the extra cash for date nights, and other fun things. The holidays are especially great because most stores offer double cash back.
My husband’s birthday is coming up, so it’s come time to think up some fun ways to celebrate (Update: I did a video tribute and it ended up being my favorite thing so far. I had everyone send me a video message on their smartphone and had it compiled into a video. Check it out here: Husband’s Birthday Video). If you find yourself in a similar situation, hunting for an idea for an upcoming anniversary, birthday, or Christmas….here are some fun ways we’ve celebrated in the past:
15 + Awesome Ways to Celebrate Birthdays, Christmas & Anniversaries
Half Birthdays. This is my favorite way to surprise my husband because he is never expecting it, and is never aware of when his half birthday even is! I don’t do it EVERY year (to keep the suspense), but it’s super fun. Click on the picture below for lots of Half Birthday Ideas.
12 Days of Birthday: When my husband and I were dating, I did the “12 Days of Birthday Fun.” I started 12 days leading up to his birthday and each note began with: “On the 12th day before your birthday, your true love gave to you…” Some days it was a small treat, some days it was a note or letter, and some days it was an activity. Be creative and have fun with this one.
Turn Your Bed Into a Game Board. This is actually SUPER fun and memorable, and might just end up being his most favorite gift ever. Learn how to make the sheet and get ideas here: How to turn your master bed into a game board.
Letters of Love: On that same birthday, I also had all of his friends and loved ones write a letter to him expressing love or favorite memories they have had with him. Some were funny, some were serious, and some were in poetry or “list” form. He totally cried.
Upgrade His Ring. This year for my husband’s birthday I’m planning on getting him a new wedding band. Something the Jewelry stores never want you to know is how much they rip you off on Men’s Rings. When we were engaged, we shopped around for a few rings. On a whim, I also looked on Amazon. I was SHOCKED to see that the EXACT ring he wanted in one of the Jewelry stores (for several hundred dollars), was less than $30 on Amazon!
Musical Tribute. If you have any musical skills (or lack of in my case), you could always do a musical tribute. My sister-in-law has dones these for each member of her family and they are so fun! She helped me do one for my husband one year and my husband watch it over and over and over. Here are some birthday tributes she did for her dad, brother and husband. These are meant to be crazy and silly, and are of course funnier if you know the people doing them.
Favorite Event/Sports Team: For Christmas last year I surprised my husband with season tickets to his favorite sports team. It took some MAJOR sacrifice on our budget, but he has LOVED it. Invest in something that your husband (or wife) loves! My sister-in-law loves Rascal Flatts. For her birthday one year, my brother bought tickets for her and her friends. He told her he was taking her out to dinner for her birthday, and her friends were waiting at the restaurant with the tickets to the concert. She was so surprised and she LOVED it.
Surprise Dinner: Similar to the idea above, take your loved one to dinner and have everyone they know and love waiting at the restaurant. You can keep it simple and just enjoy dinner together, or you can have each person bring a gift or small memento that represents a memory they have had with that person.
Celebrate in Numbers: This could get tricky if your spouse was born on the 30th, but if they were born earlier in the month you have it made! For example, if they were born on the 5th, you could celebrate all day long with the number 5. Five activities, 5-course meals, 5 reasons you love him/her, 5 ways of celebrating, 5 gifts, etc.
Gifts on the Hour: I’ve seen this one floating around Pinterest. Last year I wrapped twelve gifts for my huband to open every hour from the time he was born. So if your spouse was born at 8:21 A.M., they would open a gift every hour from 8:21 A.M. to 8:21 P.M. This doesn’t have to be expensive. I wrapped things like his favorite candybar, or a ticket to something fun, or a coupon for a clean house (which isn’t a big deal for most men, but it is for my husband).
Gifts that Last ALL YEAR: This is a fun one for Christmas. Rather than buy ITEMS for each other, only give gifts of things you can enjoy together: movie tickets, a trip somewhere, a sporting event, a fun date night at home kit, tickets to a play,amusement park pass, etc. This way you are spending your money on your relationship rather than on things, and you will enjoy the gift ALL YEAR long as you complete each activity/event together.
Birthday Week: Does your spouse’s birthday land on an awkward day? Will he/she be at work? Make the celebration last all week by doing something small to celebrate each day (breakfast one day, gift another, movie on another, etc.) Make it Birthday Week. My husband’s birthday lands on a Sunday this year, and since we don’t spend money or go out shopping on Sundays, we will be celebrating “Birthday Weekend.” His favorite soccer team just happens to be playing that weekend
Day Away: One of my dad’s fondest memories is when my mom surprised him and took him to Disneyland. She got it all worked out with his boss ahead of time and just showed up at his work to get him. When he got in the car, she just started driving. He was like, “where are we going?” and she said, “Disneyland!” Their bags were all packed and ready in the trunk. One of my favorite ways to save up money without him knowing about it, is through Ebates. You get cash back for almost any purchase you make online, and it adds up fast–especially if you are doing any major projects in your home or doing Christmas shopping. Just make sure to also install the toolbar that reminds you to get your cash back when you are making any purchase online. My husband keeps track of our budget, so this is one of the only ways I have been able to save up and surprise him without him having a clue.
Scavenger Hunt: This one has never appealed to me, but some of my family/friends has really enjoyed it. Take your loved one on a scavenger hunt to places that have meaning to you (where you met, kissed, dated, etc). Do something special or give a gift at each location.
A Day THEIR Way: I can list a hundred different ways to celebrate the special day, but to have the most success you must pick the ideas that best fit your spouse’s interests and personality. Last year I had a surprise dinner surprised for my husband, and then I found out that what he REALLY wanted to do was go rock climbing and drive up the canyon–just us. I ended up having to rip him from what he really wanted to do because all our friends and family were waiting at the restaurant. This year I told him he gets to plan his day just how he wants it. Similarly, I have told my husband never to plan a big surprise party for me. It’s just not my thing. I feel like I never get to really talk to my friends when they are all together in one room, and then there’s always the friends that don’t know any of your other friends…and it’s just not fun. I prefer smaller more intimate celebrations. This is why you must know your spouse’s preferences if you want to make their birthday special!
Birthday Lunch: Show up at his/her work and go out for a birthday lunch together. This one is especially fun if the person has no idea you can make it happen.
Maid Service: I HAD to include this one in case any guys are reading this. I asked a friend recently what her husband did for her birthday and she replied “He bought me MAID SERVICE!” She was thrilled! Even if it was just a one time deal, having someone else clean your house is an awesome gift (make sure it’s someone she doesn’t know)! Another good one would be a babysitter on a day of her choice to go out and have time with herself (so needed as a mom!).
Reverse Surprise Party: This one comes from Arielle, one of my readers:
The most fun I have had planning a party-SO MUCH FUN!
Its where you take your spouse out to a restaurant that you had been talking about (make them think its going to be just the two of you and that you are planning something with friends a few days from then (it worked awesome to let it slip to my husband, who is impossible to keep a secret from, that I had planned a surprise party on his actual birthday)), and by coincidence you have one or two of your friends who happen to be eating already at the restaurant. Then 5 or so minutes later you have another friend or two “happen” to show up. They pick a table near by…and then another set of friends come soon after…etc…etc…. It is so fun to see your spouse realize that they are being duped! You have to make sure that the restaurant is okay with the arrangement ahead of time. I also went to the restaurant earlier in the day and delivered a cake to be brought out at dinner. My husband is so good at picking out surprises, but he was totally shocked! He had so much fun, and I had so much fun getting this together. It ended up being us and 15 of his buddies. He kept trying to figure out how I got them all timed perfectly to arrive in intervals. All I am saying is…it was epic.
Now it’s your turn to give me ideas for next year! What are your own ways to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas? What has been a favorite birthday?
For some more fun and unique ideas, visit my post Meaningful and Fun Christmas traditions to start with your family.
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