Four date night boxes to inspire your Valentine’s Day plans

If you’ve been with the same someone for a number of years, you can find yourself in a gift-giving rut for occasions like Valentine’s Day. So we challenged four of our talented artists to come up with a unique date idea…with one condition: It had to fit in a box. Here are their creative solutions, a few of which have the rest of us inspired to craft date boxes of our own this weekend! MARDI-GRAS-DATE-BOX-_-thinkmakeshareblogFrom illustrator Samantha Lewis: When challenged with the Date-In-A-Box for my husband this Valentine’s Day, I first scanned the Internet for local events to get ideas. When I saw we were having a Mardi Gras event downtown this year, I knew this would be the perfect thing to center my box around. My husband has always had this crazy love for Cajun music, Cajun food, and much of the New Orleans culture around Mardi Gras. Which, to be really honest, is not something we have in common.

I might be at risk of offending some of the hard-core Mardi Gras lovers out there, but the combo of cheap beads, large crowds, brassy music, and spicy food was not something I was ever drawn to.  Over the years and a trip together to New Orleans, I’ve learned to appreciate the culture through my husband, including the food and the music. However… nothing has changed for me when it comes to the mass marketed green, gold, and purple tchotchkes.

I decided it would really surprise my husband to take him to this event, but I wanted to provide him with one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras gear. He will be the envy of the town with his unique beads and voodoo-inspired mask. I also included a Cajun music playlist, a chocolate bar to stay in the tradition of Valentine’s Day, and a beautifully illustrated Studio Ink card that fit my theme and pulled it all together. I wrapped the card in twine accented with a feather instead of using a standard envelope.

The great thing about my husband is he doesn’t need to hide behind a mask to be himself. He loves a good dance party and he will dance anywhere, anytime. It’s one of the many things I love about him.

BEER-AND-BOOKS-DATE-NIGHT-_-thinkmakeshareblogFrom lettering artist Amber Goodvin: I tailored my “Date in a Box” around two of my husband’s true loves (besides, of course, me): BOOKS + BEER. My husband is a writer and loves stories, and we all know stories get better with beer. I thought this date box would be a good way to celebrate him and all the ways he makes my life fun this Valentine’s Day.

Starting with only my theme and a box I had lying around, I built out from there, filling the box with little treasures that were a good fit thematically (and literally). Tip: I highly recommend shopping WITH your box so you can see what fits! I learned the hard way.

In the box are: 1) one of his favorite beers decorated with a chipboard bottle trim (thanks, Hallmark) and a great writers pin, 2) a new book I spotted on his to-read list on GoodReads wrapped with Hallmark tissue and a book light, 3) a Studio Ink Valentine, 4) a small journal to capture his brilliant thoughts, 5) the hand lettered date card containing gift cards to his favorite bookshop, 6) Some pompoms on sticks. I probably appreciate those more than he will. 😉

The Date will include dinner and drinks at his favorite restaurant, a short walk to the bookstore where he can pick out a new book with his gift card, and a longer walk to the Lawrence Art Center for a Story Slam, a collection of readings centered around a theme (this month’s is “lust” for Valentine’s Day).

INGREDIENT-INSPIRED-DATE-BOX-_-thinkmakeshareblogFrom illustrator Mirna Stubbs: The “Date in a Box” I created for my husband is simply a very fancy dinner at home. I did not have a big budget to work with but still wanted to do something thoughtful because our wedding anniversary also happens to be the day before Valentine’s Day. We’ve created a tradition of picking one special ingredient each year and making a dinner around that ingredient.

This year we chose ginger. I’ve created a six-course menu, because it’s our 6th anniversary, and have written it out on a fancy scroll of paper that we can have as a keepsake. I tried to add little details that go with our ginger dinner theme, like napkins that have a gingery-yellow edging, and candles in the color of pickled ginger. My husband loves dark chocolate, so when I spotted the ginger-wasabi chocolate at the store, it seemed like the perfect little treat to include. Not that we need much encouragement for conversation, but I wrote a couple of date-night questions to keep us from talking about everyday, routine things. I also made a playlist of instrumental music to have in the background during our fancy dinner, which is mentioned in the (Hallmark’s Studio Ink) Valentine’s Day card I included in the box. Some songs are from the soundtracks of our favorite movies.

This gift is very simple, so I tried to decorate each part with little details to make it more unique and lavish. I cut off a part of an old Hallmark card and wrapped the candles in it. I tied the napkins and chocolate with ribbon and created a special container for the date-night questions. All parts are nestled on tissue paper (Hallmark, of course). I wrapped the box in craft paper and embellished it with painted patterns and ginger-colored tissue-paper roses. I know he will appreciate these little adornments, and it will definitely help create an experience…and set the mood for a chill, romantic evening, with good food, conversation and music.

PROGRESSIVE-DINNER-DATE-BOX-_-thinkmakeshareblogFrom designer Amy Kligman: My husband and I are wanna-be foodies and we used to go out to eat a lot, but since our year-and-a-half old son came along, going out to eat has, well, stopped. So for our Valentine Date Night Box, I decided to take advantage of our one night out and do an epic progressive dinner at some of our favorite splurge-y restaurants. This doubles as a gift for me, too, which I felt a little guilty about, so I wanted to make sure that my box included some solid, true “gifts” that my husband would keep and love. He has a sort of family tradition of having special tableware: meaning mugs and spoons given on occasions that are brought out again for specific days or guests.  I thought gifts like this incorporated into my box would make great tokens or triggers for the meal courses..

The box itself I designed so that the cover doubles as a menu when you flip it over, where I spelled out my progressive dinner plan. For gifts, I first included a pacifier (that’s actually a gift for our son, but I used it to signify a true gift for us on Valentine’s Day—a sitter!).  Then I used a tiny moscow mule shot glass and coasters to demonstrate the first course, a small antique plate and tiny fork and spoon to signify dinner, and a special artisan espresso mug for coffee and dessert.  I added the menu for each of the places we’ll go to the tokens, along with a fun tag describing each course. I used Hallmark bags and Studio Ink cards to design my box, giving it some funky flair that I know Misha will love.

Show us what you’re making for your special someone and follow us on Instagram at @think.make.share for more inspiration! You can also find cards and other great Valentine’s Day gift ideas at


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  1. 2.6.15 | Reply
    sjanemills wrote:

    A lot of great ideas! Thank you for sharing 🙂