Traditional and Modern: Anniversary Gifts By Year

newsprintwrappingOur ninth anniversary is less than a week away. Yup. Nearly a decade of wedded bliss up in here.

This anniversary snuck up on me like one of my kids when I’m trying to have a few quiet moments alone in the bathroom. All is peaceful and then HEY! WHATCHA DOIN’?

I realized the anniversary was nearly upon us last week but, like a deer in headlights, I froze. Instead of getting on Amazon where my husband maintains a wish list filled with items relating to fly fishing that only he ever purchases from I just pushed the whole anniversary thing to the back of my mind.

So now, here I am, anniversary in T-minus 5 days, and I’ve got nothing. Or, if you’re Serge, I have something and this whole post is a diversionary tactic so you’re really surprised. Yeah, that’s it.

Serge happens to be really hard to shop for. After nine years of marriage I know better than to buy him anything he will ever wear on his body. Not even socks. He won’t like it. He just won’t. Which I totally understand. I rarely like any clothes someone else purchases for me. I could buy him fishing-related gear because that’s what he spends most of his time doing, but I’ll be damned if I know what he wants or needs. This isn’t just a rod and reel kind of deal. He fly fishes and lately he’s fascinated by something called ‘czezch nymphing’ which sounds like some kind of sexual position but I can assure you is not. I don’t know if it’s some kind of fishing gear or just a technique but I think everyone, especially Serge, can agree I should probably stay away from purchasing fishing gear.

My complete loss over what to purchase led me to googling random things like ‘anniversary gift’ and that’s when I remembered the old annivesary gifts by year thing. You know, first year paper, second year glass or something like that? According to, etiquette queen Emily Post started the anniversary gift-giving convention back in 1922. Turns out, an updated “modern” list was created at some point. Who knew? Not me. I’ll repost it here so you can take a look-see:

Anniversary Traditional Modern
1st Paper Clocks
2nd Cotton China
3rd Leather Crystal/Glass
4th Fruit/Flowers Appliances
5th Wood Silverware
6th Candy/Iron Wood
7th Wool/Copper Desk Sets
8th Bronze/Pottery Linens/Lace
9th Pottery/Willow Leather
10th Tin/Aluminum Diamond Jewelry
11th Steel Fashion Jewelry
12th Silk/Linen Pearls
13th Lace Textile Furs
14th Ivory Gold Jewelry
15th Crystal Watches
20th China Platinum
25th Silver Silver
30th Pearl Diamond
35th Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold
60th Diamond Diamond


Toward the end a lot of the years are the same because diamonds, duh. Can’t get any better than that, right? Except I’m not a big jewelry person. But the thing I noticed about the two lists is that on the modern list leather is for nine years while it’s at three years on the traditional list. So if I give Serge some kind of leather item to acknowledge our nine years isn’t that kind of giving him short shrift? In olden days he could’ve received leather at year three. And if I do go leather for nine years does that mean I’m committed to culling ideas from the modern list? Because of all the overlap I kind of have to stick with one list or the other, right?

It’s all so confusing. I’m kind of inclined to go with the traditional list because Serge would want nothing to do with half the items on the modern list. Gold jewelry? Fashion jewelry? No way. Ruby or sapphire? Nope. Textile furs? Yeesh. And he hasn’t worn a watch in the decade I’ve known him.

That leaves me with pottery or willow off the old list. Eh. Maybe I’m better off perusing czech nymphing on Amazon after all. I think someone desperately needs to update the modern list again.

Back to ye olde drawing board.

What about you? Do you exchange anniversary gifts or just do something special? Have you ever received or given a gift based on the anniversary gifts by year list?

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