How often do you and your hubby or significant other make it out these days? I know for me, the biggest adjustment after having Big M, was the abrupt halt to our social calendar. We went from DINKs who met out for dinner after work 2-3 nights a week and on weekends, to new parents who hadn’t seen the inside of a nice restaurant in months. Over her first year, we repeatedly talked about how we needed to establish a regular date night… and so, for our anniversary after her first birthday, I made a Date Night jar: 75+ Dates, pre-planned, addresses included. All we had to do was line up a sitter, and pick a stick! Get your printable FREE Date Night Jar book printable below…
75+ Dates for Date Night
If you were like us, we definitely let our relationship fall to second place the year after our first child was born. I could always tell when we hadn’t dedicated enough time to us – we got snarky with one another, snapped at each other over trivialities. Each and every time we spent a night out, even if it meant sacrificing what little sleep we were getting anyway, it did wonders – a chance to feel like our youthful selves again, to have real conversation, savor a great meal, a glass of wine or two, and each other’s company.
Every time we swore we needed to do it more often. And while we had good intentions, the planning involved, lining up a sitter, debating where to go and what to do – we ended up ordering take out, staying home and watching a movie On Demand. And if we did make it out, we would go to the same 2-3 restaurants every time.
Brainstorming the List
To take much of that burden off the table, for our first anniversary after Big M’s first birthday, I compiled a list of 75+ dates to make a date night jar. I brainstormed to come up with 75 different date ideas across 5 different categories: Active Adventures, Blasts on a Budget, Restaurant ABCs, Traditional Trysts and Expensive Excursions. I tried to make a list that covered things we individually enjoyed, could enjoy experiencing together, and some that might push us both out of our comfort zone.
- Batting Cages
- Cooking Class
- Dance Class
- Driving Range
- GoKart Racing
- Ice Skating
- Laser Tag
- Mini Golf
- Paint Ball
- Playground picnic
- Bike to lunch
Blast on a Budget
- Coffee date – paint your own mug, then go grab a cup
- Day of open house tours
- Dollar Store adventure – you each get $2 to invest in the date’s entertainment at the Dollar Store
- Game night & take out – Monopoly & Chinese
- Game night & take out – Scrabble & Italian
- Game night & take out – Jenga & Pizza
- Game night & take out – Poker & Pizza
- Game night & take out – X Box & Sushi
- Lotto adventure – $30 worth of lotto tickets; winnings set budget for rest of the night
- Make your own pizza
- Target adventure – you each get $20 to invest in entertainment for rest of the evening
- Test drive dream cars
- Pick a restaurant for every letter of the alphabet in your area. Some letters may be a bit of a stretch – for X, I used Sushi X, a local sushi place, and for Y, I used Hayama, a local Japanese Hibachi restaurant. Put some on the list you might never try otherwise, and test both your palettes and comfort zones!
- Dinner & a Movie – he picks dinner, she picks movie
- Dinner & a Movie – she picks dinner, he picks movie
- Dive Bar – Bar game Olympics – head to a local dive bar for bar food, pool, Buck Hunter, darts and shuffle board
- Double Date – he picks couple and place to go
- Double Date – she picks couple and place to go
- Mall Date – high school throw back, pick a restaurant or food court stop, do some shopping or catch a movie
- His Choice – he picks and plans date
- Her Choice – she picks and plans date
- Restaurant Hop – he picks place for drinks, she picks place for dinner
- Restaurant Hop – she picks place for drinks, he picks place for dinner
- Sports Bar – Game Watch
- Brunch and Couples’ Massage
- Concert – his pick
- Concert – her pick
- Regional Wine or Brewery Tour – pick one or several local wineries or breweries in the surrounding area to go sampling. You may want to enlist a car service for the date!
- Golf – pick a course and book a tee time for two
- Night at the Casino/Resort – pick a Saturday night to spend at the nearest casino or resort
- Night in [Quaint Town] – pick a Saturday night to spend away at a quaint town within driving distance
- Night in [Big City] – he picks show/entertainment, she picks dinner
- Night in [Big City] – she picks show/entertainment, he picks dinner
- Night in [Big City] – eat at famous, impossible to get reservation, restaurant
- Sporting Event – his pick
- Sporting Event – her pick
Making the Jar and Date Book
Once I brainstormed the list, I created the file below to make a book with the rules for the Date Night Jar, and the details for all the dates. It is linked as a word file so you can make your own changes, enter your own local restaurants, etc.
I wrote each date on a popsicle stick and put them in the jar. I printed the file below on AVERY Perforated Postcards. They come two to a sheet and tear along the perforations to create post cards. The file is designed to be printed double-sided, so one side of the post card has the name of the category and number of the date and the back side has the details – name of the place, address and any pertinent contact information.
I punched two holes in the cards at the top, strung ribbon through them and tied it in a bow in the front, creating a mini-date book. The rules are included on the first page: we draw a stick every other Sunday, ideally the morning after the last date night.
This leaves two weeks to line up a sitter, and make any necessary reservations or additional plans for the date. Once every three months, we draw an Expensive Excursion stick. These are pricier, overnight dates – honestly, we probably end up doing this more like once every 6 months, but I colored the ends of the sticks green, so they are easier to spot in the jar.
All that’s left is to line up a babysitter! Find all our tips for how to find a babysitter for your date nights here, along with tips, tricks and hints for using and keeping great babysitters!
Need More Date Night Ideas?
Having worked through most of our original 75+ date night ideas over the last 5 years, it was time to add a few more sticks to our jar. Check out 30+ more Date Jar Ideas for even more unique ways to date your spouse.
The Dating Divas have an endless array of printable products and 100s more date night ideas, all instantly downloadable. Check them out for even more awesome inspiration to keep your romance alive!
While this was a gift I made for our anniversary, it could easily make a great Christmas, Valentine, Father’s Day or birthday gift as well. Do you and your husband have regular date nights? Did our list give you any new date night ideas? What’s your favorite non-traditional date night?