I like to joke that it's unfair for Alex to be on the receiving end of three gift giving "holidays" in a span of six weeks. (His birthday is 11/15, then there is Christmas, quickly followed by our anniversary on 12/29.) In preparation for the big event, I did some searches online looking for ideas on making the day a special one despite the fact that we feel pretty isolated from any network of family or friends here. There were many interesting ideas, but it was just a matter of figuring out which were most feasible and then planning the execution. For example, I liked the idea of throwing a kid-themed party (in honor of his "final year of youth"), but it didn't seem practical without a solid group of people to invite or share in the celebration.
After sharing gift ideas for his birthday with family, I was left with the boring stuff, which was mostly things he needed but weren't very fun or exciting. One of the ideas I found online involved the concept of hourly gifts, or opening a gift each hour on the minute that corresponds with a person's age. This idea worked really well with my lack of a singular gift option, and evolved into me moving forward with buying several "little" (practical) gifts he could open at intervals throughout the day. While the original concept suggested 12 hours worth of gifts, as I prepared for Alex's day of gifts, his eventually involved into a 16-hour gift marathon.
Without further ado, check it out!
6:29 a.m. - Good morning/birthday kiss! (Ok, we say "Good morning, I love you," with a kiss every day, but I still think it counts!)
7:29 a.m. - [I left earlier than usual to be sneaky in preparing for another surprise...] Alex opened his card, the outside of which read, "Open this at exactly 7:29 a.m." The card explained the "hourly gift" concept and served as the first tangible gift for the day.
Meanhile, I conspired with an intern in Alex's office to decorate his office before he arrived that morning. I was *almost* caught in the act as I saw his vehicle parked outside the building on my way out. Whew!
8:29 a.m. - A box of his favorite pop-tarts. (These are delicious, by the way!)
9:29 a.m. - Fresh baked double chocolate chip cookies. (After decorating the office, I rushed home to work on these.)
10:29 a.m. - Taking a break from food, his next gift was a reversible brown/black belt. This was one of those "needed" items that seemed like a boring gift on its own.
11:29 a.m. - This assortment includes fun dip, a huge lollipop, a can of Cheerwine, and toothbrush holders. The toothbrush holders were needed, but at one point I thought I was short a few gifts, so I prepared the other assorted items and then later found out I had more gifts than planned, so these were combined.
12:29 p.m. - It just so happened that we (finally) received our wedding album a few days before Alex's birthday, so it seemed the perfect choice for his 12:29 gift, seeing as how we were married on December 29th! Apparently the bow from this gift wrap was also a nice...neck tie/boutonniere?
1:29 p.m. - No birthday is complete without cake...pudding!
2:29 p.m. - New undershirts! Alex has plenty of white undershirts, but black ones were requested recently, so this little assorted pack was thrown in the birthday gift mix.
3:29 p.m. - Recently, Alex brought home several bottles of red Powerade from the training room, so I figured this (cheaper) version would be greatly appreciated.
4:29 p.m. - This gift crossed time zones! Again, at one point I worried about being short a few gifts, so I contacted Alex's best friend, Justin, to see if he would be interested in serving as one of the gifts. Though I would have loved to have flown him in for a big surprise (he lives in NC), a phone call was the more practical option. It worked out for Justin to take a break from work for a few minutes to give Alex a call and wish him well. Note: This one *almost* had to be improvised, because Alex asked me for the gift at literally 4:29 p.m., but Justin didn't get to call until 2 minutes later...it was a close call!
5:29 p.m. - On our way out the door for dinner, Alex gleefully tore this gift open. Peanut butter M&Ms are our favorite!
6:29 p.m. - Designed to be opened at dinner, this gift was delayed for about 30 minutes since we decided it would be awkward to open gifts while sitting at the hibachi table with random strangers. I will say we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of this CD, and we would definitely recommend it to others. Very funny!
7:29 p.m. - Thinking fresh breath after dinner would be important, a pack of Stride sweet peppermint gum was the next gift.
8:29 p.m. - Three gifts in one came on this hour - cards from his mom, dad, and stepmother were opened.
9: 29 p.m. - I thought we were through, but after a phone call from his dad, Alex checked the front door and to our surprise, a package awaited! One of our kitties, Ash, thoroughly enjoyed helping Alex open this gift, and she even got a chance to test out the new ladder golf set. ;-)
Looking back, I'm very pleased with how everything turned out. For a while there, I was worried that somehow I'd get something wrong, or the gifts wouldn't be available at exactly the right time, but in the end nothing major happened. And really, if something had been just a little bit "off," the day would have still been just as special because Alex knows I care and put a lot of thought into preparing something unique for him.
I will say that little gifts add up quicker than one might think. None of the gifts were huge or costly, but they were all needed or little "splurges" for us, as we don't buy any of those things regularly. Ultimately, that was the whole point anyway...instead of one "big gift," smaller, special moments throughout the day. We definitely had fun with it, and even I was excited watching the minutes tick by between each gift. Overall, I think it was a great success!
There you have it, :29 Gifts!
P.S. Alex thought he was clever, capturing this screen shot on his phone - 11:15 a.m. on 11/15.