DO | Traditional Anniversary Gifts

When my husband and I first got married almost five years ago, I didn’t give much thought to future anniversary gifts. I knew there were gifts you might give a couple for their big anniversaries – silver for their twenty-fifth, gold for their fiftieth – but I didn’t realize there were categories of gifts starting the first year.

The year we got married, one of my coworkers was celebrating his fifth anniversary with his wife and he asked me what he should get her. I started thinking of things, and when everything I came up with was nothing he was interested in, he mentioned they gave each other gifts that matched up to the traditional list of anniversary gifts and he was looking for something in the wood category.

I started looking things up, and learned there were not only “traditional” gifts to give, but also “contemporary” gifts.

This sparked my interest.

So, starting with our first anniversary, I have given my husband a gift that aligns with the “traditional” list. I don’t ask for gifts from him, nor do I expect him to do the same for me, but I like to give gifts and it’s more fun to think of creative ways to give items from the list.

Here is the Hallmark List which includes both traditional and modern gifts.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

First Anniversary: Paper

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When my husband and I first met in person (through a national organization we’re both involved in – we had been working together for two years over the phone and email before we ever met in person, and once we did that was the end of that!), we were in St. Louis at a convention. One of the nights a bunch of us ended up at Flamingo Bowl, a bar with a few bowling lanes inside. As we started dating, we adopted the flamingo as “ours” and now have a bazillion things with flamingos on them. Our daughter has also adopted flamingos, unbeknownst to her.

I wasn’t sure what to get him, especially since we had talked about not getting gifts. We were spending the night at a popular resort in Montana and having a nice dinner out, so I figured that was good enough.

But, when my mother-in-law and I stopped in a local bookstore I happened across the Penguin Books clothbound covered edition of Alice in Wonderland which is littered in flamingos.

The book didn’t hold any special meaning, but it was paper and flamingos. Done and done.

Second Anniversary: Cotton

My husband had been complaining about how he hated all of our pillows. We had recently stayed at my aunt’s home, and she has a lot of nice things, including their guest pillows.

Since pillows need pillow cases, I thought I could give him the new sets of cases as the “gift” and then say “Oh by the way, we also got new pillows.”

Worked like a charm.

I found unique screen printed pillowcases from a shop on Etsy called branchhandmade and unfortunately they’re taking a break right now, but when they’re back be sure to check them out. (Photos are from their Etsy site.)

Third Anniversary: Leather

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My husband had talked about needing a new leather travel “kit.” He was using a very old one and while it still worked, it was in need of a replacement. He traveled a lot up until a few weeks ago, so I knew it would get a lot of use.

I found a shop on Etsy called Marble Hill Studio that makes beautiful leather bags, including travel kits. She also included the monogram on the front. (Photo is from her site, not my actual purchase.)

Fourth Anniversary: Fruit/Flowers

My husband started brewing beer back around 2011, and got into making ciders, meads, and cysers over the last few years. He’s always looking for unique honey to put into his concoctions, so when I met a local bee guy here in Denver and he had honey on hand, I took home four jars of it.

Bees > Flowers > Honey made sense to me! (I forgot to take a picture of the jar and he doesn’t have a website, so… sorry about that.)

Fifth Anniversary: Wood

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This anniversary is wood, and the first thing that always comes to mind is a cutting board. Since he just got me huge new cutting board for my birthday last year, and he doesn’t cook, I didn’t think that would be the best gift.

However, I am enjoying taking the item on the list and going a little off the page to find an appropriate gift for my husband.

He loves national parks, and he just visited Rocky Mountain National Park with his dad last week when they were in town. I was reading through our most recent issue of 5280 Magazine (Denver’s mile high magazine) and came across a section on the national parks. They’re celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, and within that section was a blurb about a company called Parks Project. This company makes an apparel line that gives a portion of every sale to conservation efforts in 22 national parks.

“Proceeds from the Rocky Mountain National Park shirts go toward supplies for the Rocky Mountain Conservancy-Conservation Corps, an educational work program that repairs trails and assists with revegetation,” according to Paige Brettingen of 5280 Magazine.

And since I know there are trees in RMNP, and those trees are made of wood, I thought a tee shirt celebrating his visit that also helped the park would be a good gift for this year.

Next year the list says “Candy/Iron.” This could get interesting.


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