12 Free Romantic Gifts

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12 Free Romantic Gifts
Show your love this season—without spending a dime.

"A three-story brownstone in the West Village."

"A 20-acre ranch to rescue and raise all the homeless dogs from the animal shelter."

"A $3000 clothing allowance from Barneys."

These are a few of the gifts my husband and I gave to one another last year. (I'll let you guess which one of us received the Barneys clothing allowance.) OK, so we gave one another these lavish gifts…on index cards.

Times were tight last Christmas, and rather than set an arbitrary limit, then be forced to search for something, anything of importance for $25 or under (pretty much impossible, by the way), we decided to skip the gifts altogether. What's worse than no gifts at all? Those random ones that were forced because of a price limit. They often rival Secret Santa office presents.

We still wanted to show thoughtfulness and thankfulness for one another, however. That's why we decided to gift one another the ideas of things we would have purchased, had money been no object. We allotted one another 12 index cards. On each, we described over-the-top presents ("A backstage pass to a Radiohead concert, with a one-hour visit with Thom Yorke"), as well as some simple ones ("Candy Cane Hershey Kisses"—I couldn't find them anywhere last year).

It truly was the embodiment of "the thought that counts." Although it may seem underwhelming to receive a dozen index cards, the thought that my husband put into my "gifts" was amazing. To think that someone put so much consideration into my likes, loves, and passions—made me love him all the more. It told me that he listened to me and really, truly knew me.

The one that really got me? "A time machine to go back and spend time with Isaac as a young, energetic, playful dog." I had put my 12-year-old husky, Isaac, to sleep that September. He was suffering from cancer, and really hadn't been himself for the final year of his life. I always told my husband I wished he could have known Isaac when he was younger—that he was a different dog. My husband wished me the power to see him, too.

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