Put a modern twist on traditional gifts


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Framed pictures are a great way for couples to share past memories or locations in a meaningful anniversary gift.

Hanna Johansen

The list of “traditional” gifts to give your spouse on each corresponding anniversary dates back to the Middle Ages. Each year the couple spent more time invested in each other, the more they would invest in each other’s gift. It was believed that by following this tradition, luck would come to the couple. Here is a list of the first five traditional wedding gifts with some modern gifting ideas.

First anniversary: Paper

They say the first year is the hardest, so congratulations! The rest should be smooth sailing, right? Your first anniversary is one you will both remember, so take some time to make your gift personal.

Some gift ideas for men include a magazine subscription, cigars, a favorite book or tickets to a sporting event or concert.

Gift ideas for females includes artwork, a self-written poem or love letter, plane tickets to a special place, or send a personal ad to the local paper announcing your anniversary.

Looking for something fun to do together? Visit an art gallery, attend an origami class or sit down together and flip through your wedding scrapbook together.

Second anniversary: Cotton

Your second anniversary is a great opportunity to purchase new things for your home such as towels, linens and pillows. If you are looking for something a little more personal, here are a few more ideas.

Gift options for your husband include a baseball hat for his favorite team, an apron to grill in or a hammock the two of you can cuddle in together.

Trying to think of something for your wife? A dress she can wear out to dinner or a monogrammed bathrobe are both great choices.

Third anniversary: Leather

The leather anniversary provides a perfect chance to splurge and get some new furniture for your home such as a couch or desk chair. Not a fan of leather? Make a donation to an animal foundation instead.

Other options for him include a new wallet, luggage or leather shoes.

Gifts for her include a new purse, briefcase or leather picture frame with a picture of the two of you in it.

Fourth anniversary: Fruit and flowers

The fruit and flowers fourth anniversary comes with many options and a wide range of prices.

For him help landscape the yard, bake a fruit pie, or send him a fruit basket.

Options for her include classic red roses, flower-shaped jewelry or floral-scented perfume.

Spend the day visiting a botanical center or planting a fruit tree.

Fifth anniversary: Wood

The fifth wedding anniversary comes with many possibilities to suit your relationship. Versatile gifts that can work for him or her include wooden sculptures, engraved lovespoons, wooden furniture or an etched photo of the two of you.

A great bonding activity the two of you can participate in is a wood carving class. Elmer Marting, of Monona, Iowa, encourages couples to come to his free class offered at the Monona Historical Museum.

“We encourage folks of all ages and skill level to attend the class,” Marting said. “The class is not only a good occasion to bond with the people you come with, but to learn about the elders who attend the class and their life lessons.”

Marting instructs the class every Tuesday and Thursday and the class is free of charge. Tools and materials are provided.