You have an anniversary coming up. Every day you look at your planner and realize that you have one last day to find a gift for your special someone. Isn’t this supposed to be a happy celebration instead of a time intensive, stressful activity?

Most of what you need for the right gift exist in one of the last places people look — inside your head and inside your heart. The first step is to think about the person you love. What do they like to do? Have they ever turned to you and said, “I wish we could go…” or “I would really like to….”? Once you get a grasp on something that would make them happy, you are well on your way to providing the greatest gift.

For my wife, she mentioned that she would really like to have a photography studio some day. As a professional photographer, she does not currently have her own space so there is no place to hang up examples of her work. She had also mentioned that she and I never have time together without the kids. Lastly, she has lamented on the fact that with my job, I cannot get away for any type of an extended vacation.

On our anniversary, I took her to the hotel where I had proposed to her 10 years ago. Upon walking to the front desk, the agent recommended that she take a look at their new breakfast room. Hanging inside that room, to her surprise, was a collage of photos that she had taken over the past year. She was really surprised and excited.

Next, we proceeded upstairs to look at one of their “newly remodeled rooms.” Instead, we received the key to the room where we had spent our engagement night. I had come to the hotel earlier and decorated the bathroom with rose petals and candles and added in some romantic music, chocolates and bath and body products. We were able to enjoy a nice couples bath in the middle of the afternoon before heading off to the movies. Mission accomplished: no kids and time spent together. The hotel provided the room at no charge (in exchange for some consulting services) and the movie was at matinee pricing.

Lastly, we picked up the kids from school and headed out to a local resort for a one night getaway. Because of the slow season and last minute booking, we were able to get a fantastic rate and a suite so that we had some privacy from the kids once the lights went out. Due to our anniversary celebration, the hotel provided some complimentary champagne and strawberries and dinner that night was a make-shift indoor picnic in front of the fireplace.

She loved our anniversary celebration. Although i know she would have loved a diamond anniversary ring, we simply could not afford it. But with some creativity, listening and a little advance planning, she certainly knew that I love her very much. Even an expensive piece of jewelry cannot express your feelings better than you can.

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