Don't Forget the Anniversary Gift
The first year is....paper?
Welcome to The First Years of Marriage Newsletter! We talk about the conversations, challenges, and changes that begin once the honeymoon ends. Advice from experts, mistakes from me (Jen Glantz), and things you’re going to want to know as you continue to ask yourself this question - “I’m married, so now what?”
One more thing for you:
I am working on THE NEWLYWED CARD GAME! A card game for newlyweds that sparks meaningful convos, hilarious adventures, & fresh romantic moments after the honeymoon ends.
A limited number of decks will be available in December, so you can snag your game in the pre-sale + tons of bonus prizes too! Thank you for checking this out - woohoo!
I overheard a guy telling his co-worker that this Thursday is his wedding anniversary.
“This Thursday?” The co-worker asked to confirm.
“Yeah and I didn’t get her a gift or plan anything.”
All of a sudden, the room felt like it was hit by lightning.
The co-worker raised her voice and said:
“ARE YOU SERIOUS? YOU HAVE NOT BOUGHT HER ANYTHING?”
The guy’s response made coffee leak out of my mouth.
“Spending time with me is her gift!”
I was sitting 25-feet away and trying not to show I was listening to every single word of their conversation. But when he said what he said, I coughed up a loud noise from my throat.
The co-worker got up and walked away. Later, I did too.
You better believe that on Thursday, I’ll be thinking about him wishing his wife a happy anniversary and telling her that her gift is… him….it’s spending time with him.
I’m not saying you need to roll out the red carpet and shower your partner with luxurious gifts that drain your savings account.
BUT you should make part of that day feel special.
You could plan to go to dinner at your favorite spot, gift them something that matters to their love language, and do something that taps into your wedding memories (watching your video, looking through photos, getting cake from the bakery that made your wedding cake).
OR you could do something more “traditional”.
Anniversary Gifts by Year:
Before I was married, I remember people talking about traditional anniversary gifts for each year of marriage. Paper for the 1st year…gold for the 50th year… things like that.
But I never knew if people followed along with that tradition or whether or not I’d care to myself.
I have 6-more months till my first wedding anniversary, so I figured why not understand what those traditional gifts are, how they can translate into modern ideas, and what the meaning is behind it all.
How did this anniversary gift traditions start?
Each wedding anniversary has traditional and modern gifts, as well as traditional flowers, colors, and gemstones. These long-standing conventions date all the way back to the medieval period and were chosen as agents of good fortune and prosperity for the marriage.
However, the tradition didn't really gain popularity until the Victorian era. Contemporary opinions diverge from traditional lore and believe that each gift should be chosen to gradually increase in value as you invest more time into the relationship—serving as a recognition of a successful marriage. This created the foundation for modern gift interpretations, which were published by the American National Retail Jewelers Association in 1937.
ANNIVERSARY GIFTS BY YEAR:
1ST YEAR: Paper
2ND YEAR: Cotton
3RD YEAR: Leather
4TH YEAR: Fruit & Flowers, or Linen & Silk
5TH YEAR: Wood
6TH YEAR: Iron / Candy
7TH YEAR: Wool/ Copper
8TH YEAR: Bronze
9TH YEAR: Pottery
10TH YEAR: Tin/ Aluminum
11TH YEAR: Steel
12TH YEAR: Silk
13TH YEAR: Lace
14TH YEAR: Ivory
15TH YEAR: Crystal
20TH YEAR: China
25TH YEAR: Silver
30TH YEAR: Pearl
35TH YEAR: Coral
40TH YEAR: Ruby
45TH YEAR: Sapphire
50TH YEAR: Gold
55TH YEAR: Emerald
60TH YEAR: Diamond
Gift Ideas & Meanings for the First 5-Years of Marriage
1-Year Anniversary Gifts
Traditional Gift: Paper
Why paper? Because its fragility is supposed to represent the first year of marriage and how if you take good care of it from the start, it will last forever.
GIFT IDEA: CUSTOM ILLUSTRATION
Modern Gift: Clocks
Clocks represent the passing of time and the change and challenges that come with it.
GIFT IDEA: A GOLD CLOCK FOR THE LIVING ROOM
2-Year Anniversary Gifts
Traditional Gift: Cotton
Cotton symbolize how you become more interconnected as time goes on and learn to be more flexible.
GIFT IDEA: A COTTON BLANKET
Modern Gift: China
China indicates the weaknesses and strengths of any relationship.
GIFT IDEA: A NICE PIECE OF CHINA FOR SPECIAL HOLIDAYS
3-Year Anniversary Gifts
Traditional Gift: Leather
Leather represents shelter and security for the third year.
GIFT IDEA: A LEATHER-SCENTED CANDLE
Modern Gift: Crystal or Glass
As a gift, glass and cut crystal both signify and reflect light and beauty.
GIFT IDEA: A DECORATIVE GLASS BOWL
4-Year Anniversary Gifts
Traditional Gift: Fruit or Flowers
Fourth year “bloom” signifies that your relationship is blossoming, making flowers or ripe fruit an appropriate gift.
GIFT IDEA: DRIED FLOWERS
Modern Gift: Appliances
A more practical gift, sure, but electrical appliances also embody that “bloom”.
GIFT IDEA: THE AIR FRYER YOU WISH WAS ON YOUR WEDDING REGISTRY
5-Year Anniversary Gifts
Traditional Gift: Wood
Your roots have sprouted much like a tree by your fifth anniversary.
GIFT IDEA:CUSTOM WOOD GIFT
Modern Gift: Silverware
Because chances are you eat a lot together and could use a new set of silverware.
GIFT IDEA: A NEW SET OF FORKS AND KNIVES
What do you think about these traditional gifts? Have any others to share?
Love you (for as long as we both shall live),
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Jen Glantz is a whimsical entrepreneur, 3x author, podcast host, and all-around pizza-obsessed goofball.
Here's what she is currently working on:
You're Not Getting Any Younger Podcast
The First Years of Marriage Newsletter
The Monday Pick-Me-Up Newsletter
Jen & Juice Business & Life Coaching
When I was married, I gave traditional gifts, my spouse gave me modern gifts. For the first year, paper, I gave him 3 stocks and printed them on a certificate paper.
An anniversary sundial is a good idea, my wife gave me a paper gift certificate on our first anniversary for one of them - it is a cool clock that tells time using the sun. It was designed to sit indoors on the window sill and make rainbows in the room when the sun shines. It was handmade just for our specific window with a special date line that the time shadow follows on our anniversary day each year, and there is a mark on that line that the shadow touches at the actual moment of our ceremony. We’ve had it for several years, it works great, and we enjoy it every sunny day. Now on our anniversary we drink a toast when the shadow hits the anniversary mark – I don’t remember what it’s called exactly but you can find it with a search for rainbow sundial. I think it is one of the best wedding or anniversary gifts that I have ever heard of, and a way to do both traditional and modern first anniversary gift suggestions in one gift!