Alternative to flowers for an anniversary?
July 10, 2011 6:42 PM   Subscribe

What is a good anniversary present for a long-distance relationship on a budget?

This will be our second. We're both pretty traditional on things like this--anniversaries and Valentine's Day are for flowers and a nice dinner out. Birthdays and Christmas are the times for quirkiness.

BUT...I have just been dealt a fairly savage financial blow AND we are both working overtime to save money for relocation and cohabitation. Much of our conversation lately revolves around our respective tight finances now and planning for the future. And flower delivery in her city is, like everything else there, about twice as expensive as in the rest of the country. I have a feeling that if I sent flowers this year there would be a bit of "um, we're supposed to be cutting back on this sort of thing to save for the future together."

Since we're not going to be together on the actual day, is there something more affordable that I could hide in her apartment for her to "find" on the day that would have a similar impact of delivered flowers while saying "I skipped the flowers this year to save money towards our future together"? I thought about making origami flowers (or something similar) and putting them in a vase made from rolls of brown packing tape (you know, for packing boxes when the big moving day comes) but that'd be hard to transport, sneak in, and hide (and is possibly a bit too trying-too-hard-to-be-clever).

Any ideas, oh cash-strapped-romantic-Hive mind?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Romantic mix CD!
posted by equivocator at 6:45 PM on July 10, 2011

Make origami flowers out of money: use the money you would have spent on having flowers delivered. She can then save that money for your future, but she'll get a smile out of the time you spent on it.
posted by lollusc at 6:56 PM on July 10, 2011

yes, a romantic mix cd, a handmade choose your own adventure book about the two of you, a soundtrack on a cd for your choose your own adventure! a mix cd for her morning wake-up, for her evening relaxation, for cooking (different themes), promise coupons for when you're together (1 hour of dishwashing, 2 footrubs, etc., 3 walks together), 1 card a day sharing how you feel about her for the week of your anniversary, a puzzle or scavenger hunt for her to complete in her city/hometown that leads to more clues from you. anything from you will be meaningful, i'd imagine. i think your words, intentions and energy, more than the product, are important. :) happy anniversary!
posted by anya32 at 6:56 PM on July 10, 2011

get an unindicted co-conspirator to purchase and deliver the flowers. Just pay them with a check in the mail.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:14 PM on July 10, 2011

Hand-write a beautiful letter letting her know exactly what she means to you. That's something to cherish for a long time, and only takes a stamp.
posted by xingcat at 7:21 PM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

The CD is a nice idea. And origami is good, as is anything you make yourself to give from the heart. A live plant is also a nice idea, something to nurture and thrive--appropriate for an anniversary.

If you go with origami flowers, you can also fold a vase. Here's another idea: a string of origami lights. Makes for nice soft lighting in a bedroom or living room. You make the balloon fold, and pop it over individual lights in a standard string of twinkly lights. String a long one along the top of a wall, over the bed, or a short one in a giant houseplant. She'll think of you every time she looks at it.

Transport the folded papers flat, ready to expand, that way they won't crush. Blow them up just before hanging the lights. That last part is something you can perhaps do together. An interactive gift. Sort of a novelty if you've never seen them before.

They look nice and decorative during the daytime, but really fantastic in the dark.

Here's a tutorial:

Have fun!
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 7:48 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pressed wildflowers in a card are wonderful.
posted by jb at 10:47 PM on July 10, 2011

A really sweet handwritten card (not just "happy anniversary" but why you love her, what the anniversary means, how you are looking forward to the future, etc). I like the idea above of pressed wildflowers. The origami lights and the origami money she can save are pretty cool too - almost anything that you make yourself will probably go over well, even better if it's something tailored to her interests.
posted by mrs. taters at 3:19 PM on July 11, 2011

Echoing the suggestion of a long, thoughtful letter.

Does part of your long distance communication involve chats/emails/other electronic means that are archived? I made a book for my SO of our emails, chats, texts, sent photos, etc, extracted from my phone and gmail, arranged in chronological order! This could be handmade or put together with a site like

Do you have any artistic talent? A drawing, a song, or a poem are all totally free and better than the usual gifts.

If she's out while you're visiting, you could clean her bathroom or her room, stock her kitchen, or mow her lawn - anything she may be too busy to do because she's working so often.

Good luck to you both!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 11:57 AM on July 13, 2011

« Older Have I pruned my facebook friend list too much?   |   Can you help me make sure it sucks less when I... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.