Best gift idea for Valentine’s Day. Ever.

By Elle

How over-the-moon would you be if your partner/spouse presented you with a journal that contained a year’s worth of reasons why he/she loves you?

This idea emerged several years ago during one of the communication courses that I teach. A course participant told the group that he created a journal for his wife, essentially titled 365 Reasons Why I Love You. Every day he would pen an entry, describing to his wife why he loves her.

I was immediately enchanted with the idea. Soon after, I bought a blank journal and began writing, starting, of course, with Day 1. At first, I allowed one page per entry but soon realized that I was going to run out of pages. I bought another blank journal, which allowed me the flexibility of creating Book 1 and Book 2. Nice! How awesome to present my partner with two journals jam-packed with reasons why I love him.

I tried to write in the journal every day, but I found it easier to craft a few entries at a time. Because I was handwriting the entries, I didn’t want to screw them up, so I drafted and perfected them first on my computer and then copied them into the journal. My handwriting isn’t all that, so I had to spend extra time ensuring that my sentiments would be legible.

Honestly, I had a ball creating these journals. I crafted most of my entries in the evening, but I spent significant time throughout the day — in the shower, driving to the office, sitting through mind-numbing meetings — thinking about the reasons why I love my partner, and I scribbled notes everywhere.

All proceeded smoothly until Day 80, when I messed up some wording that I felt I couldn’t fix. Back to the store for another journal and hours of carefully rewriting eighty entries. Sigh.

Creating the journals took me a full year. It was April when I finished the second journal, a time far between holidays and his birthday in September, so, for no particular reason, I presented the journals to him. “The nicest gift anyone has ever given me,” he said.

We still read through the journals a few entries at a time, laughing and reminiscing. Over the past weekend, he read one entry aloud to me and, in good fun, categorized it as filler. The entry read: “I love you because you can catch flies with a hand vacuum.”

“That is not filler!” I protested. “I’m totally impressed with that unique talent of yours!”(OK, most entries are way more meaningful than that one, but I stand firmly by its legitimacy.)

I admit it was sometimes challenging to come up with something sweet and tender for every entry, and I was terrified of repeating myself. Toward the end, I found myself reading and rereading the entries to make sure I hadn’t already covered a particular topic. Ah, if only I possessed a photographic memory…or created a table of contents.

Thinking about the reasons why you love your partner and then taking the time to write them down is akin to creating a gratitude journal. I believe the practice reduces stress, increases joy and puts the spotlight on what really matters. Not only are you reflecting on your affection and gratitude for your partner, but you are also strengthening your emotional bond with that person. Once you’ve written even a dozen entries, you will feel happier and inspired to reciprocate some of the kindnesses that you’ve chronicled. I also believe that sporadically reading the journal together helps elevate your relationship to where it belongs: the center of attention. I experienced so much appreciation for Arkady — a whole year’s worth! — while I was writing the journals, and he absolutely feels appreciated knowing how I feel about him and knowing that I took the time to craft this gift.

So this Valentine’s Day, grab a pen and a blank journal and start writing. If 365 reasons feels too ambitious, try a Top 10. Or plan to surprise your beloved with a number of reasons that corresponds to an upcoming milestone anniversary or birthday: “50 reasons why I love you for your 50th birthday.”

Here’s another idea: Share this post with your partner as a not-so-subtle hint. Either way, by next Valentine’s Day, you’ll have the perfect gift.

Enjoy the photos below of my mixed pattern/mixed metal Valentine’s Day outfit!

This Valentine’s Day I mixed it up: I combined stripes with plaid, and gold with silver for a mixed pattern/mixed metal look.

Ordinarily I might avoid pairing a sweater that has gold buttons with a silver necklace, but by including more mixed metals, they all blend.

I like playing with texture, so I added these chain drop earrings in gunmetal. (Crap, are those grey hairs?)

My Swashbucklers make me feel tough (even when I’m in a skirt).

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design | Chloé Black Leather Buckle Ballet Flats

I love wearing this outfit with buckle footwear, so when I’m not in the mood to wear my Swashbucklers, I opt for my Chloé black leather buckle ballet flats.

Thanks for reading, and have a happy, loving Valentine’s Day!

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