The Traditions of Anniversary Gifts - Gifts - Married Fun!

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The Traditions of Anniversary Gifts

Wedding anniversaries are a traditional way to celebrate the anniversary of the wedding date, and there are many traditions associated with wedding anniversaries. Commonly, two of the most distinguished anniversary milestones are the Silver and Gold Anniversaries, which are reached at year 25 and 50 respectively. The reason these anniversaries are called “silver” and “gold,” however, is not because of the symbolism with achievement, but because these are the traditional gifts to give for the anniversary. Therefore, if looking to give a traditional gift to a couple who have reached their 25th anniversary, a gift of silver (or something made of silver) would be appropriate.

Yet one does not have to wait until their 25th anniversary to give or receive a traditional gift. Several other years have also been coupled with a material that is significant to only that year. The first anniversary traditionally corresponds to paper. In general, the following years’ gifts increase in value to follow the growing achievement in years marked by the anniversary. The years and traditionally paired materials are as follows:

Year-Material

1-Paper

5-Wood

10-Tin / Aluminum

15-Crystal

20-China

25-Silver

30-Pearl

35-Coral

40-Ruby

45-Sapphire

50-Gold

55-Emerald

60-Diamond

The History behind the Gifts

Some of the traditional anniversary gifts have been around for a long time. Historically, in medieval Germany wreaths of silver and gold were presented to the wife after the couple came to the respective 25 or 50 years of marriage. These wreaths were supposed to be a reward that symbolized the achievement of maintaining a healthy and working marriage. Therefore, the Silver and Gold Anniversaries have existed for many centuries.

It was only more recently that the other traditional anniversary gifts became solidified. In 1922, a woman named Emily Post published an etiquette guide that outlined the traditional gifts for years 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 50. It is not entirely clear whether Miss Post invented the rest of the traditional gifts or just combined popular traditions, but either way these materials have stuck around ever since. Additionally, in 1957 Ms. Post came out with another edition of her book that outlined a longer list of traditional anniversary gifts, one that sets a material for every year until fifteenth anniversary. Also, in recent years a Diamond Anniversary has come into nomenclature, which is debatably set at either the 60th or 75th anniversary year.

The Anniversary Gift with a Modern Twist

In the modern world of today, not many people would appreciate getting a stack of paper or a pile of wood for an anniversary gift. Therefore, more recently a Modern Anniversary Gift List has come out (even though some people still question its relative modernity). This modern list outlines different items that are appropriate gifts for a particular anniversary year. The basic modern list is as follows:

Year-Item

1-Clock

5-Silverware

10-Diamond Jewelry

15-Watches

20-Platinum

25-Silver

50-Gold

Some anniversary mile markers are so set in stone that they did not change in the modern list, like silver and gold. This modern alternative can provide a reasonable substitution for the traditional anniversary gift.

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