Show your love this season—without spending a dime.
No one else—absolutely no one else—could have known to give me that gift. Half of the emotion was tied to letting go of a beloved companion; the remainder the joy that someone knows me so well. (And, to be honest, at times when I could throw him out the window, thinking of that index cards softens any annoyance or anger. For life—or at least so far.)
Perhaps you worry you'll suffer from writer's block? Or that your index-card gifts will look sub-par compared to his? There are other ways to show your love. A friend of mine dusted off the old homemade coupon booklet for his girlfriend. He offered 30-minute backrubs, good anytime between 6 pm and 11 pm, Monday through Thursday. ("Nope, I don't do backrubs on Fridays!" he explained.) Aside from everyday chores and favors, I won't go into detail with "in the bedroom" coupons, but you can imagine the possibilities…
And if your significant other has his or her heart set on a physical object, and you're not interested in adding petty theft to your record, consider bartering. Sites such as freecycle.org and craigslist.org are the ideal place to trade that unused, lonely treadmill for a gently used Wii.
However you choose to show your affection this season, putting some thought into your gifts—and your relationship—could mean a world of difference. Now it's time to fill 12 new cards. I know "Our daughter sleeps through the night for the rest of her life" will top the pile.