The Date Jar

Mitch Cole
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This is one for you couples out there. Worried that the spark has vanished? Or are you just plain shite at decision making? Maybe you’re low on funds or you live in the middle of nowhere. Look no further, guys, because I’m here to share with you the wonderful creation that is “The Date Jar”.

I first saw this idea on tumblr many an aeon ago whilst I was scrolling through a mutual friend’s page and it stayed with me, niggling away during those god awful, awkward date nights full of stifled conversation and silent wine-and-dine sessions. You know the ones I’m talking about. Regardless, for mine and my beau’s 6 months, I decided to propose the idea of making a date jar together and, much to my relief, it was met with open arms. Here’s how to make your own.

All you’ll need is:
An empty bottle (something like a jam jar or a curry pot)
30 (ish) thick lollipop sticks
Some paint (preferably 3/4 different colours)
White envelope stickers
A sharpie (or cheap equivalent)
And some ribbon, but that’s just for aesthetic

What’s especially nice about this little beauty is that making it together is half the fun. You can really get stuck into a cute little activity before you’re even using the jar, so embrace that aspect of it too. Start by finding a jar; I’ve used an old curry pot which I just washed out (…time and time again) but a jam jar is just as acceptable – as long as the lollipop sticks don’t stick over the rim and you can screw a lid on, you’re green lit. Peel all the rubbish off and make sure it’s lovely and clean (maybe even get some polish on that shit so it’s extra shiny) before moving onto your lollipop sticks.

Now, don’t get regular ice lolly sticks because they’re far too thin to write anything on: go for the paddle looking ones, the ones you could spread glue with. I got about 50 for £2, so head to Ryman or Hobbycraft and you’ll find a similar bargain. Choose a few nice colours and then get down and dirty with those paints – if you’re using 30 sticks, I would recommend painting 8 red, 8 blue, 8 yellow and 4 green. It’ll all become clear soon, fret not Vadaists.

Here’s where I explain the science behind the lollipop sticks (using the term science very loosely). Assign a “type” of date to each colour you’ve chosen and start thinking up cutesy ideas between the two of you, or if you’re really struggling ask loved ones for some help too. Write the style of date on a white envelope sticker and whack it on the side of the jar so you don’t forget. Then, ready your best calligraphy skills and start writing date ideas on those coloured lolly sticks – make sure you’ve shortlisted the best ones and agreed that they are all doable. There’s no point in dropping in a cheeky “two week holiday to the Bahamas” (unless you guys really are the epitome of the pink pound, hats off to you if that’s the case).

For example, we’ve used four colours in our date jar: Yellow is “day fun”, Blue is “evening out”, Red is “evening in” and Green is “expensive planning”. A few yellow possibilities are window shopping for the house, feeding the ducks, pets at home or disposable camera day. Blue stuff ranges from dinner in town (his choice) to dessert only dates. Our reds are board games & booze, breakfast for dinner, film series night, homecooked dinner & comedy, curry + wine + rom coms, facemask fun etc etc. Green stuff is much mightier – michelin star food, city break, hotel in Bristol – things we can pull out but might need to hold back on the spontaneity in regards to our bank balance and sanity.

But let your imagination run riot. Find things you guys really want to do but might not think about a lot – the little things from the start of the relationship or big things you’re working towards. It can be as nice or as naughty as you like, after all it’s your date jar so you’re entirely free to design every aspect of it. I colour co-ordinated the white stickers to the date type on the side, just for future reference. Even threw a little blue ribbon on there (get an adult to help with the scissors – they’re ever so sharp!) and painted the lid so it looks pretty.

So the next time you’re stuck for a date night idea, crack out your date jar, pick a colour, pull out a stick and enjoy each other. It might be the best decision you make in 2013. You’re welcome.

About Mitch Cole

The love child of all seven dwarves, Bristol will always be home to me. With an unusual degree in Early Years Education, I'm keen to get my teeth into something new. Excited to write about anything and everything, I might even stimulate you with my emphatic opinions and disappointing vocabulary.