Yesterday, my lovely husband turned 33, marking 1/3 of a century of him making the world a better place. I always like to plan something BIG for his birthdays, especially since he comes from a large family where birthdays were primarily quiet family affairs.
In the past, I’ve done surprise & themed parties, vacations, meals at super fancy restaurants, etc. But for this year, I decided to give him one present for every year he’d been keepin’ it real, 33 in total, and have him open them one by one across his birthday weekend.
I wrapped all the gifts in the same brown craft paper, tied them with string, and wrote the # of each present on its face. Then, feigning that I “needed a glass of water” I went back downstairs after we had gone to bed Friday night and set up all the presents on our kitchen island so that they would be the first thing he saw when he got up on Saturday. The look on his face was priceless, and I think he was truly surprised at being so overwhelmed with presents.
Most of the gifts were small items I’d ordered off Amazon (to help keep it a secret in case he checked our credit card statement or saw the package return address) but for others, I got him gift certificates and event tickets. Then, I invited his friends to join us at those places, further heightening the surprise. And since most of the gifts were actually fairly inexpensive, I was able to buy all 33 gifts and still spend about the same (or maybe even less) than what I normally would spend on a large party at our house or on one big present.
All in all, here was his haul, broken up into the times he got to open each set of presents:
- A card, explaining the 33 gifts rationale. It played the Hampster Dance song on endless loop.
- A birthday crown for him to wear all weekend
- 1 pound of Valhalla coffee, a fair trade organic blend of the most caffeinated coffee in the world
- A new coffee mug, for him to drink said coffee with
- A new shirt – I got him a Cuban style shirt, as he likes these for the hot summer days, and his old one was not looking great.
- A bottle of his favorite hot sauce – this was his clue for where we were going next.
- A gift card to Torchy’s Tacos for lunch, where eight of his friends joined us.
- 2 tickets to the 2:30pm showing of the movie Inside Out
- Movie candy, which I smuggled in my purse
- Tickets to that evening’s baseball game for our local triple-A baseball team. Two of his friends joined us for baseball plus post-game fireworks.
- A new baseball cap for the Round Rock Express, the team we were going to see
- An inflatable stadium seat cushion
- A package of batteries, to power the small handheld fans we already owned
- A bottle of vodka
- A bottle of our favorite bloody mary mix, Zing Zang.
- A scratch-off lottery ticket (he didn’t win, bummer.)
- A package of two small nerf guns and extra darts. Once we’d both had a nice bloody mary to wake up, we shot at each other for a good twenty minutes.
- A gift certificate to our favorite wing bar, where more of his friends met us for lunch
- A CD of Mariah Carey’s greatest hits to play in the car on the way there. (The hubby has a thing for Mariah Carey. Yes, I know that’s weird.)
- A $20 bill and coupon (for $5 in free tokens when you spend $20) for a local arcade called Pinballz. More of his friends met us there for some games.
- A bottle of Mr. Bubble bubble bath (his favorite).
- A set of man-scented candles, for him to light during his bubble bath
- A monogram grill brand so that he could brand steaks with his name (I also had steak in the fridge, for us to have for dinner so he could try it out.)
- A bottle of rye bourbon
- Silver cocktail cup
- A crushed ice machine
- A muddler (Items 24-27 combine to give him everything he needs to make a proper Mint Julep, something he loves but can usually only get in nice cocktail bars.)
- A cigar
- A new pair of boxers (They have a lion on them, haha.)
- A Dunkin Donuts gift card
- A $25 Visa gift card with instructions that he can choose take-out food from any of our three favorite take-out spots for dinner and I’ll go get it from him.
- A large-format beer
- A box of his favorite chocolate truffles
So there ya have it. If you’re looking for a birthday idea with a big “wow” factor (and you have a few hours you can set aside for gift wrapping purposes!) then I’d totally recommend the X gifts for X birthday method – we had a fantastic weekend and Carl felt very spoiled with all his new goodies.