By December 2012, my girlfriend Rachel and I were deeply in love. We'd been living together for several months, and she'd even spent time with me overseas while I completed my program at Oxford. That year we agreed to not get each other any Christmas gifts at all, since we were saving for a joint trip to California.
At her final day of work in Washington, DC, one of Rachel's co-workers handed her a large gift. Inside was a scrapbook, and the first part of an eight-part poem I had written. There was also a clue as to where she could find the next part of the poem.
A scavenger hunt began, across Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. With every poem stanza, I'd also gotten Rachel a personalized gift. On Christmas Day, at her family's house in Delaware, she opened two passes to Colonial Williamsburg, a historic city in Virginia. We headed there next.
At a small Bed and Breakfast in Wiliamsburg, Rachel found the final part of the poem, waiting next to a bottle of wine. As she placed it in the scrapbook and read the now completed poem, I sank to one knee and propsed. She said yes.
It was a Christmas story I will be proud to someday tell our children.