Of all the post-wedding traditions, perhaps the strangest is the giving of traditional gifts, made out of a different substance for each year. Modern retailers have tried to update the tradition with little success. Everyone knows that the 25th anniversary is silver and the 50th is gold, but what about those just-starting-out anniversary years? Here are the traditional gifts for the first ten years, and a fun idea for what you can give each other as a couple for each.
Year One: Paper
Unless you and your partner are really into origami, you can be forgiven for going a little less literal on this one. You know what can be printed on paper; stock certificates. Give yourselves the gift of a few strategic investments that can grow throughout your relationship and pay dividends later.
Year Two: Cotton
We’re assuming that you’d rather not buy each other a pair of socks for your second anniversary (though by your tenth anniversary, that might be the perfect gift). We recommend going for some naughty under things for the both of you, something that will add a little spice to your marriage bed.
Year Three: Leather
The third year is, for some reason, cow flesh. Provided you and your partner have no moral objection to leather, that is. Anyway, it’s the perfect excuse for each of you to buy the other a new pair of shoes, and to take those shoes out dancing together.
Year Four: Fruit or Flowers
Now we get into the weird ones. Fruit or flowers–what perishable items will you choose? We recommend booking a trip together to a tropical locale, some place that has beautiful flowers and exotic fruit aplenty. Maybe you can cash in some of those stock certificates for the first year to pay for the trip.
Year Five: Wood
If you’ve been thinking of buying a boat or a house together, the fifth year is a good time to give that gift to each other. A lot of couples end up buying a baby crib in the fifth year, so if baby’s on the way you might as well have the gift be practical and make the crib your anniversary gift.
Year Six: Iron
By now you’ve probably settled into a nice household routine. You’re cooking your own meals like grown-ups do, and you’ve realized the chintzy pots and pans you bought when you graduated college are no longer doing the trick. Treat yourselves to some real cast-iron cookware for your sixth anniversary.
Year Seven: Copper
Sure, you could go for jewelry or a nice copper teakettle. But electronics have plenty of copper wire in them as well. So if your seven-year-old TV is starting to lose its luster, you can upgrade it as your anniversary gift.
Year Eight: Pottery
This one is a little bit strange. The years have been going up in value thus far, and now we drop from copper to clay. But that’s okay. By this point your everyday dishes are likely cracked and several have been broken and thrown away. Buying new dishes is easy to put off, so this is a good excuse to replace them.
Year Nine: Bronze
You are thoroughly entitled to take the “bronze” in this anniversary as metaphorically as you want. Book a vacation to go work on your tan (make sure to bring bronzer), make a trip to the Olympics, get some baby shoes cast in bronze–it’s up to you.
Year Ten: Tin
Do you suppose its “tin” because the word sounds like the number ten? That seems like a lousy excuse for an anniversary present. So we’ll just point out that lots of things have aluminum frames–things like cars, some bicycles, airplanes, motorcycles, go-karts–so let your imagination run wild. If you want to stick to something inexpensive, you can always opt for some cheap sparklers to use in your anniversary cake. Believe it or not, aluminum powder is the main ingredient in most types of fireworks.