An Easy, Meaningful, Affordable Holiday Gift: Date-Night-In Jar
Date nights look much different these days. Since moving to a new city, growing a family, and trying to save money, trendy restaurants, eat-in-theaters, and long weekends away are things of the past. We’ve run into a rut of watching a show together after putting the kids to bed. It has gotten a bit redundant, and the novelty has worn off. Our time together doesn’t seem unique anymore.
So, to get out of our rut, I came up with the Date-Night-In Jar. This jar, which I keep on the dresser in our bedroom, is full of small folded pieces of paper. On each piece of paper is an idea for a date night activity that we can do at home.
Each Sunday, we draw a date idea from the jar and pick a night to enjoy our one-on-one time, and put it on the schedule. We have enough time to plan should we need to pick up something from the store. But we can be flexible with our unpredictable schedule.
We’ve enjoyed themed dinner or dessert ideas, activities in the backyard together, and moments of pampering each other; sometimes, the kids are included. But, on days when we can get the kids to bed a little early, we will make a nice themed dinner for us once they are down. I also love craft and game night activities too. Mainly because both are things I can’t typically do when the kids are around, and I enjoy doing them with my husband.
There are three reasons the Date-Night-In Jar has worked well for us:
- It makes planning a date night so much easier. I am at a stage in life where everything feels a bit chaotic, and I want things to be as simple as possible. The less I have to think, the less I have to plan, and the happier I am. With a variety of ideas already written down and tucked in the jar, we don’t have to work too hard to come up with a unique activity. It’s been a fun, easy, way to spice things up during our time without the kids.
- All of the ideas in the Date-Night-In Jar can be done at home. Some plans require a little preparation, but we don’t have to leave home to enjoy the themed date night. Now that we have two kids and an unpredictable work & family schedule, getting a last-minute sitter can be next to impossible. So, having activities to do at home once the kids are asleep is even better.
- Most of the activities don’t require extra money. We don’t have to pay for parking, restaurant bills, or tickets to a show. Occasionally, we order something online from the store to go along with our themed date night, but we are mostly able to use what we have at home.
While we don’t get to regularly enjoy the types of date nights that we used to, we are learning to make the most of our time together. I am so thankful for this jar to keep things simple, spontaneous, and special.
Now it’s your turn!
If you would like to make a DIY Date-Night-In Jar, click here to receive a printout including directions on how to create your own Date-Night-In Jar, plus 60 creative Date-Night-In Activities, including food-related dates, movie dates, game dates, project dates, and more!
Print out those activities, cut them out, and place them in a jar or any container you have available. When it comes to planning your next date, draw an activity from your Date-Night-In Jar, and enjoy your special time together without leaving the house.
How do you like to spend your time together at home, when you aren’t able to get out of the house? Do you have any other date ideas you recommend? Subscribe to Move Mama Move here, and receive a printout to make your very own Date-Night-In Jar
194 thoughts on “An Easy, Meaningful, Affordable Holiday Gift: Date-Night-In Jar”
What a great way to date your spouse!
The simpler the better the feeling. I am not a fan of those super romantic Valentine’s thing. Love should be around everyday after all.
I agree, Hannah.
i love it and find it romantic when we prepare activities at home and date our spouse or family. mealtime is always a beautiful way to spend time with loved ones.
Yes, it always seems more special
I love this idea! We had to do this lots when our kids were just little. Now that we have a couple of teenagers — built-in-babysitters — woohoo! We still try to keep it cheap, though, because our budget doesn’t love $100 a week on dates.
Yes, date nights out can really add up, even when you have the time to take them. Great point!!
We love our date nights in! (And they often involve wine).
My husband is in medical school so while we enjoy going out to eat, our pocketbook doesn’t enjoy it too much right now!
Saving money is always a win in our book!! 🙂
Great idea. I think this is going to be my husband’s Valentine’s gift this year!
Aw, yay! I bet he will love it!
I love this idea!! My husband works a lot and we rarely have babysitters. We are going to try this!
I would love to hear how it goes!!
This is such a fun idea!
I love your blog! I just came over from the August blogger challenge, and I love this blog! I want to be more proactive to date my husband, at home! =)
Aw thank you, Jackie!
i love date nights! They are tough with kids but we are making up for it as empty nesters! Great creative ideas!
Aw, I bet you are really living it up as an empty nester. I keep telling myself, to enjoy our time now and someday it will be much easier when they are older.
What a great idea! This will totally eliminate the need of having this conversation EVERY Saturday night: “What do you want to do?”, “I don’t care, whatever you want to do.” Then we end up doing nothing because we can’t decide!
Haha! We have had those same conversations… what movie do you want to watch? I don’t know what do you want to watch? And then we spend all night looking for a movie to agree on and never watch one.
so great! Dates dont need to be extravagant and it’s important for kids to see how the parents work at the marriage. I love it!!!
You are so right! It took me a while to get used to the idea of more laid back date ideas. Especially, as a new mama I was wanting dates to be unique and fun… this was a great solution.
Thanks for the great ideas
What a fun idea! Now I’m hungry LOL.
Haha, right? I am craving some chicken cordon bleu now too.
Such a fun creative idea! I’ll have to o start one for my hubby and me.
Great Idea. I don’t think me and my hubby went on a date until our kids were 8 and older because we couldn’t afford a babysitter this would have been great. Now that they are all teens it’s much easier to go out so that is nice but this is still great if our budget gets tight.
Right? Babysitters are so expensive nowadays…this has been a great alternative.
The jar is absolutely genius idea! We love to have date nights at home with my husband as well. Now with the jar, it will be even more exciting! Thanks for the post
Aw, glad you will be able to use it!! Have fun!
I love this idea! It’s so hard to find a babysitter each weekend so I think this sounds awesome!
Thank you! That’s what got my wheels turning to create the idea — so we could save money on babysitters.
Wow this looks like a fun way to spend time together and find new things that you can do! I love this idea, thank you for sharing it!
Thank you Holly!
What a great idea. Even if you don’t have a little one at home these would work great just to have ideas for a stay at home night. I hate always trying to figure what to do for date nights and sometimes just want to stay home but do something different
Right? We used to get in really terrible routines of not prioritizing our relationship.
This is such a great idea, and wine looks so delicious!
Thank you, Ramae!
I love this idea! I’ve made one of these for my fiance before. So easy!
Aw yay! If you like being creative, it is fun to make!
Such a cute idea! It is so hard to get everything coordinated for a night out then it’s so expensive too!
Right, saving time and money is HUGE!
I need to create something like this for us. I think date nights would happen more if I had them planned ahead of time!
You are so right, Jessica. As much as I want to be spontaneous, it doesn’t happen if we don’t plan it.
What a great idea for date nights, once you have a sitter you can add more fun things to do! Your food looks super yummy, thanks so much for sharing, have fun! 🙂
Thank you, Angela! That’s right! We hope to keep building on this list.
How fun! These date nights are building wonderful connections between you both.
Thank you, Cindy. They are definitely helping our relationship!
So clever! So sweet! Great post!
Thank you, Laura!
What a fun idea! We always get a sitter then don’t know what to do. So this would be fun even if we used it to go out!
We do the same thing with the sitter. We are like uh, now what do we do… and we usually go to dinner, but it’s fun to spice it up a little bit.
This is so fun! I’m definitely going to have to make one for me and my husband ?
I would love to hear about any other ideas you come up with… my husband and I are always looking for new ideas.
Date night is needed for a healthy relationship. I love the idea of a date night jar!
I totally agree, Dee… so needed!
Cute idea. I love your title, it draws the curious in,
Thank you, Sandi!
I just love this post!! I really do. The idea of having a fun jar for you and your spouse to pick and “plan” a simple date night together is so awesome!
Thank you, Jackie!!
What a great idea!!! We rarely have date night because if the kids and work and everything else.
Thank you… same here! It’s so easy to just let routine take over.
This is such a fun idea! And, it is so important to put attention into time with our relationships.
You are absolutely right, Jennifer!
I’m passionate about marriage and I think it is so important to date and keep the fires burning – especially when you have a family. It’s so important to keep your marriage a priority – your families foundation and legacy will be built on that. I love that you have all your ideas in the jar and you pick from it each week – how fun!
That is so true, Susan. The foundation of our marriage is so important
Those are great date night tips! And you don’t even have to leave the house. That’s awesome!
This is such a fun idea! I am going to make one with my husband AND my kids! We’re always looking for things to do as a family that we can do around home 🙂
Aw that’s a great idea to do for kids too!
Dating without leaving the house is a must with little kids! Babysitters are so expensive!
You are so right, the cost of babysitters can really add up.
Oh, my gosh – I love this idea…date night in a jar. I’m going to have to propose this idea to Hubby and see if we can find a way to incorporate it. Thanks for sharing!
aw yay! I am glad you found it helpful.
This is an amazing way to keep the romance and fun in a relationship! I love the jar idea !
What a fantastic idea! I agree, sometimes a night out is great, but I can definitely see how a night in could be just as refreshing. It’s really all about the connection and the memories.
You are so right, Magan.
This is a great idea! I may use this as valentine’s gift for my husband. Very cute.
Thanks, Heather. I am sure he would love it!
Such a great idea! We are starting a date series and I thought about using a jar, but some many of our dates depend on the weather here so it didn’t really work. Unless I had jars for each season… hmmmm….
That’s a good idea too, Robin!! Or sorted by weather requirements… like a rainy day jar, a sunny day jar, etc.
Thanks for sharing. A great idea that could incorporate a family night in the future.
That’s a great idea too! Family-friendly activities would be a nice addition.
Wow I love this idea! We will definitely need to look into having more date nights at home instead of going out and spending money ?
That’s great, Lucky! I would love to hear how it goes.
What a sweet idea. I remember doing this many years ago when my kids were young – wait till they went to bed and voila, movie and a dinner. Love the idea jar. Will be passing this on to my son and his wife! Thanks.
Thanks, Beth. I hope they enjoy it too!
Lovely ideas & just in time for Valentines day!
Date nights in are my favorite! Mainly because I can wear my pajamas!
Haha, yes!! Comfort is key!
We love cooking together and trying new dishes. I’d love to hear more about your date nights that don’t involve cooking. Thanks for the post.
You’re welcome, D’Ann. I should update this post with other date ideas that worked well…thanks for the tip!
Oh my goodness!! I LOVE this! I love date nights but sometimes (read – most times) I have no idea what to do.
Charlene, I was having the same problem. We would do the same couple things over and over…this helped a lot!
This is such a fun idea! I wish I had a significant other to do this with. It can be so hard to decide on something to do so this is a great way to solve that problem.
Thanks, Lora! You could even do this with a group of friends too 🙂
Fabulous idea! Another date option to add could be going on a walk. I realize this involves leaving your house, but when our kids were little we would just walk around our small block, poking our head in our front door whenever we passed our home to see if the kiddos were awake, then go for another lap. The simple act of moving/walking together helped us synch back up and got our creative brainstorming juices flowing. It is when we came up with the best plans for our family and our goals / travels. We never went far, and only did it when the kids were safe.
That is a great idea, Malia! Even getting out in the backyard would be fun too!!
This sounds like a great idea! Love the Italy theme!
Thanks, Lisa. Italy is one of our favorite places to visit.
Of course as a food blogger, I zeroed right in on your chicken cordon bleu … but how ingenious to make a date night jar! I’ve hardly been able to get my son and his wife to get out of the house since my grandson was born 16 months ago – so this could be a catalyst for in-house dates. Great!!
Beth, you are right, this is perfect for couples with little ones. It’s so hard to get out of the house, but this is a great way to still enjoy each other’s company.
What a lovely idea. And that pasta dinner looks delicious!
Thanks, Maria. It was so yummy!
This is a great idea. I used to use it in my clinical office with couples I worked with.
Oh, that’s a great idea too, Cindy.
I absolutely LOVE this idea!!!! Dating your spouse is so important, and is something I unfortunately neglected over the years. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of life – we need to be intentional with this. What a creative way to do so!
Thank you, Jen. It is way too easy to get caught up in life, you are right!
One of my 2020 goals is to date my husband more so this post was very helpful, thanks!
What a great goal, Katherine!
This is such a cute and fun idea!
This is a really greAT idea! Looks like you’ve had some fun with this. The wine you picked looks nice.
Thanks, Amy. It was a yummy bottle!
Ooohhhh, La, La! Great ideas for quality time together even tho staying in!
This is such a great idea! You don’t have to leave the house to have a great time.
So true, Trisha.
Well isn’t this a terrific idea and I can’t wait to use it once I get a spouse…..
This is a great idea! It’s not easy or cheap to have date night when you have kids, but dates at home are fun, too. My husband and I have gotten into a habit of watching TV together during the week when we can. It probably sounds weird, but it’s not something we used to do all the time, We also started playing “trivia” games with Alexa. Ha!I really cherish these times together, even if they’re not fancy nights out.
Thanks, Stacy. TV is a great way to bond… when you find a great show, it is so nice to share it with someone else. Trivia games with Alexa sound awesome, too!
I love this; what a sweet idea! My husband and I have 3 young boys so we rarely get out. This is a great suggestion!
Thanks, Tara. Having a little one inspired me to do this b/c we just can’t get out as much as we would like.
This is such a good idea and I love your pictures! My husband and I will for sure be trying these!
Awesome, I would love to hear how it goes.
I love the theme nights! What a cute idea!
A themed date night is an awesome idea! We have recently been pulling out the board games after our kiddos are in bed, and we’ve been having a blast!
Ah, I am a sucker for board games…my favorite is Scrabble. What’s yours?
I love this!! I am all about those kinds of things! I used the same concept with my kids and consequences when they were younger and loved it!
That’s a great idea to do it with kiddos too!
So fun! Your dishes look so delicious- you’re lucky to have some great grocery stores around too!
Thank you, Robin! We are very lucky!!
Great idea! Absolutely love it! This would be good for us during the winter. The evenings seem so long and become very boring. I think I will have to do this. Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome, Shirley. Winter would be a great time to take advantage of this idea 🙂
Great idea. De-stress, strengthen relationships, and save money. That’s a winner all-around.
I love these ideas. Especially this time of year!
Ahhh – I remember those days!!! Finding creative ways to spend time together and put each other first while the boys were little was so much fun. You have some great ideas up there – keep it up. The day will come when you can start spending time together outside the house.
Thanks, T.M. I am sure when those days come I will miss these days.
I love these ideas!
I read this post early but just wanted to say I think this is such a clever idea and so smart! So many couples don’t want to put a real effort into their relationships anymore and keep things exciting and I think this is great!
Thank you, Caitlin. I agree with you!
Great ideas! Most of our date nights are at home, after the kids go to bed. Our favourites are movies, picnic in front of the fireplace or backyard watching stars. I love the jar idea to change things up!
Thank you. A picnic is one of my favorite ideas!
I love this idea! My husband and i dont usually do much for Valentines Day simply because our anniversary is exactly a week later, so we hold off until then, but we do like to get each other a little something and this is such a perfect idea!
Love these ideas! My hubby and I try to create something similar every week. Last week was Mexico theme night equipped with corny party city decorations, nothing like dining on chips and salsa with sparkly chili pepper streamers dangling over your head with a Mariachi band playing on YouTube haha, we make great memories this way, thank you for sharing yours!
Aw that sounds like such a good time.
I love this idea! I have some old mason jars I could use.
Great, I am always looking for ways to use our mason jars.
What a great idea! Date nights definitely add up when you have to pay for the date and a sitter.
They really do, Elizabeth.
These are some great ideas! I love that you incorporate your son into the dinner ones as well! What fun experiences as a family!
Thank you. Chulengo joins us more than we’d like for date nights, lol. But we make the most of it.
This is a great idea. It’s easy to forget about having date night! Thanks for the idea!
You’re welcome, Jennifer.
This is a super cute idea. I made something similar to this when my husband and I had our first son and I realized date night was going to be difficult. I love the themed nights with different places or cultures.
Thank you, Hannah.
Love the concept of a date jar – so much fun! A lovely way to make time for your partner.
Thank you, Chelsea.
This is such a cute and adorable idea. Not only for Valentine’s Day. It can be for every day or everyday night. Sometimes we are just on a budget and this is a excellent way to maximize our time. I just love the cute mason jar you did.
Thank you, Jessica. Great point about using it year-round.
Wow, what a date idea!!!
I will try this ideas with my hubby.
Thank you! I would love to hear how it turns out.
What an amazing idea wow!!! This is fun and super creative, love it!!! I am gonna do it for sure.
Thank you, Chad.
This is such a great way to spend Valentine’s Day with your partner. I am sure he had a wonderful and sweet time.
Thank you, Dennis.
This is one of the wonderful idea I’ve encounter for this amazing occasion of not leaving our house. I loved the food featured here and all looks so yummy and delicious.
Thank you, Catherine
Such a cute idea! I think it’s such a creative way to make date nights extra special.
What a great post. I LOVE the idea of a date night jar. Hubby and I are both such homebodies that this is perfect for us. When our kids were little, they had a 7-8pm bedtime. And after we put them down, we always spend time together. It was almost like date night every night! It’s one fo the reasons I think we have such a strong relationship…even now after almost 24 years of marriage. 🙂 Date nights and spending time together (alone), is so important. We never did much going out when the kids were little because we didn’t have the means.
Thank you, Margaret. I love to hear from folks who have been married for a long time
Such cute and lovely ideas. It really increases the bondage more and more. I liked the jar concept.
This sure looks fun. It looks like a lot of work, ironic that it looks simple like that, but actually, with so many works at home, I worry I still need to ask him again and again to put one idea in the jar hahah. But marriage needs work but it will always be worth it.
Thank you, dear. I agree the hard work is always worth it.
Homemade pasta, you say? Oh yes, I would be all in for that one!
That creamy shrimp lemon pepper pasta looks so good. My husband would sure love it.
It was so yummy, Garf.