Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The month of Danuary has returned to our house! And, no, that isn’t a typo. It’s really Danuary with a “D” because it’s a month I like to devote to my husband Dan.

As best as I can recollect, this was an idea I started for our anniversary in December 2008. I have always tried to be creative with the anniversary gifts I select for Dan, but it’s hard for two reasons: 1) He’s a guy and guys don’t get typical gifts like diamond anniversary bands, and 2) Our anniversary is two days before Christmas, for Pete’s sake!

In the past, Dan has given me a one-size-fits-all anniversary gift idea. He said I should just buy some lingerie and, well… you know. (This IS a family blog, y’all!) So in 2008, my brilliant idea was to give him thirty days of, well… you know. (I’ve never discussed this on the blog, and probably never will again. But it DOES serve a purpose right now, besides embarrassing my sweet husband.)

We quickly dubbed the thirty days “Danuary,” since it would encompass the month following our anniversary. It stuck, and has become a repeat present four years in a row.

HALT! Before you go getting all “ewww” and all “THIRTY days for FOUR years in a row?!!!”, let me explain. The original Danuary was wonderful and all (that’s the only detail I will ever publish), but we learned a lesson from it the following year: sometimes spontaneous is better. Our goal for 2009 was two weeks, but it didn’t go as well as the first year.

In 2010, I changed it up a bit. I had gotten a laptop and was becoming more attached to it than I was to Dan in the evenings. I would (and often still do) stay up after he went to bed, surfing the Internets and wasting time while the man I loved went to bed alone. For a girl who once looked forward to marriage simply so I could have someone to sleep beside, this routine needed to change. So for our anniversary in December 2010, I promised to spend Danuary 2011 unplugged. That was defined as: 1) Not using the computer when Dan was home (evenings and weekends), and 2) Go to bed when Dan did. It was a hard – but wonderful! – month; hard to get my computer work done when he wasn’t home, but a wonderful way to spend Danuary and to honor our marriage with a sweet anniversary gift.

With all that explanation out of the way, I know you’re wondering what the anniversary gift was this past December. And now I’ll tell you!

Dan and I went to dinner at our new favorite restaurant (The Tavern Kitchen and Bar – if you live in St. Louis, you should GO!), and I gave him three gifts.

The first was a three ring binder, with all the ticket stubs we’ve collected over the years organized into chronological order. I love having a visual reminder of so many fun times we’ve shared. It’s also cool to see the ticket stubs where we started doing things with our kids._MDS3673

The first ticket in the binder is from the second concert I ever attended: Aerosmith in 1988. Yes, I know this ticket wasn’t from an event I attended WITH Dan. But it’s still part of the fabric of our lives, so every ticket stub I found was included in the binder. (And, yes, those are the ticket stubs from when I saw Rain Man, The Land Before Time, and Dream Team. Ha!)_MDS3675

Night LightThe second gift I gave him was a book. It’s called Night Light, and it’s a devotional for couples to read together (written by a couple too). I started reading it out loud to Dan at bedtime this week, and it’s been nice to make time for each other. Of course, this means I have to go to bed when he does, so that’s the second part of Danuary.

Jesus CallingThe last gift I gave him was one I wanted to write about in this post about voice recordings, but couldn’t spoil the surprise for Dan. Now that he’s received it, I can spill the beans! I recorded the entire month of January from Jesus Calling for him on a cassette. I recited each day’s devotion into my cheapo cassette recorder, and personalized it by adding Dan’s name to whatever Jesus is saying to him that day. This gift is a way for Dan to commune with Jesus, as well as hear my voice to encourage him each morning while he commutes to work.

You know our family is 100% invested in the Advent Conspiracy movement, but it’s so much more than a Christmas thing for me. Changing how we do Christmas (especially the gift-giving) has changed how I look at gifts the rest of the year. I want to give gifts of presenCE, even for my anniversary. I hope this inspires you to do something similar. And I hope each of you have a wonderful and blessed DANuary too!

P.S. Feel free to change it up a bit. A friend of mine, whose husband is named Larry, gave the gift of FebruLARRY one year. I’ve also heard of MARKch from another friend. Let me know if you come up with your own!

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