Tips & Ideas

Tips & Ideas


submitted by: Drew McLellan

For 18 months, my wife and I (while we were still dating, not married) lived 2000 miles apart. Which makes it very difficult to go on a date together — much less a date to celebrate a special occasion, like a birthday.

About a week prior to my then girlfriend’s birthday, I began gathering items.

birthday candles

birthday hat

birthday streamer


birthday balloon w/ribbon string (no helium, it would explode mid shipment)

and thumb tack

a deck of UN GAME cards (I mailed half to her and kept half)

birthday gifts, wrapped

Sleepless in Seattle VHS tape


On the day before her birthday, I also got:

one cupcake

one tupperware container to keep cupcake intact and from other items

I packaged all of these items up, and overnight shipped them to my girlfriend, with strict instructions not to open the box until we were on the phone together that night.

I then placed two calls.

I ordered dinner from her favorite restaurant, to be delivered at exactly 6:30 pm, with a bottle of chilled champagne. I ordered a bouquet of flowers to be delivered at exactly 6:15 pm.

We got on the phone together around 6 pm. I asked her to open the box and do the following:

Hang the birthday banner

use the thumbtack and put up the balloon

put on the hat (I did the same)

give the horn a blow (I did the same)

put the candle in the cupcake

lay out the presents

By then, the flowers had arrived. Fifteen minutes later, her dinner arrived. My dinner (the exact same dish, although no doubt not as well prepared — Stouffers don’t you know!) was just coming out of the oven.

So, we shared dinner and a couple glasses of champagne together. Then, we played the UN GAME (remember, we each had half the deck) while dinner digested. We opened her presents and then dimmed the lights for the romantic Sleepless in Seattle, which we started at the same time on our VCRs.

It didn’t make up for the fact that we were miles apart….but it did make the distance feel a little shorter. My wife still says it is the most romantic thing any man has ever done for her. I’m still working on ways to top it.