25. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

25. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.

~Thomas á Kempis

My husband Peter grinned at me with the enthusiasm of a little boy as I reached for the last present under the tree.

“Really?” I thought to myself. “What’s he so excited about? It’s obviously a wall calendar. He makes sure I get one every Christmas. Maybe he personalized it with family photos or something.”

When I opened the wrapping I was confused. It was just an ordinary calendar with mountain scenes — beautiful but nothing exciting. I glanced over at Peter.

“Thanks! It’s great,” I stated with forced enthusiasm.

“Yes, it is great!” he grinned even wider. “Open it.”

I flipped open to January and there, taped on the first Friday of the month, was a gift card for Starbucks.

“You complain I never plan anything! Now I’m good for the next twelve months, and paid in full up front too! Our first date in the new year will be coffee and scones at Starbucks,” he announced proudly

I grinned back at him, very impressed with my groom of twenty-five years. He and I have firmly believed in the necessity of a date night at least once a month, when the two of us go out for an evening without any of our four kids tagging along. As romantic as that sounds, lately that had been reduced to meeting for an hour at our local diner and had basically become just another obligatory appointment.

Peter’s excitement on this Christmas morning was contagious. I flipped to February and saw a gift card for our favorite seafood place taped to the 13th. After our reservation had gotten “lost” at a horrifically busy restaurant on our very first Valentine’s Day together, I swore to always celebrate the day before. It was sweet of him to take my vow into account.

I looked at March and on the 4th was a gift card for my favorite Mexican restaurant. My eyes started to tear up. That was our middle son’s birthday and since he had just moved away from home for his first real job, I wouldn’t be able to celebrate it with him in person. How considerate of Peter to keep me busy that evening.

April 23rd was Administrative Professionals Day and since I work as an Executive Assistant, on the 23rd was taped a gift card for our favorite steakhouse. May 14th is our wedding anniversary, and on that date was taped a gift card for my favorite buffet.

For June we had been planning a road trip to visit my mom who lives 1,000 miles north of us, and on the departure date he had taped a gift card for our favorite road-stop restaurant. July 29th is my birthday and on that date he had taped a gift card for McDonald’s and had written “Big Macs and Sundaes on the Beach!” which is my very favorite kind of picnic.

And the rest of the year was every bit as romantic, sweet and thoughtful. Peter brought a whole new meaning to “Personalized Calendar.” When I looked up from the most perfect gift ever to stare at my amazing, if not always perfect, husband, I definitely planned to renew my lease on him for another twenty-five years.

~Jayne Thurber-Smith

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