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Crafting the perfect anniversary gifts

There is no gift more thoughtful than something handmade and from the heart. A wedding anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to give something meaningful, because a crafted gift can tell a story about the couple, and even the materials you use can reflect on the milestone occasion. Here are lists of the traditional and modern gifts associated with anniversary years. These may give you craft ideas, as you think about the materials, colors and textures. Except for those years requiring things like blue sapphires and platinum. That's a year to just go buy something.

Standard Schedule of Anniversary Gifts

Anniversary Traditional Modern
First Paper Clocks
Second Cotton China
Third Leather Crystal/Glass
Fourth Fruit/ Flowers  Major Appliance
Fifth Wood Silverware
Sixth Candy/Iron Wood
Seventh Wool/Copper Desk Set
Eighth Bronze/Pottery Linens/Lace
Ninth Pottery/Willow Leather
Tenth Tin/Aluminum Diamond Jewelry
Eleventh Steel Fashion Jewelery
Twelfth Silk/Linen Pearls
Thirteenth Lace Textiles/Furs
Fourteenth Ivory Gold Jewelery
Fifteenth Crystal Watches
Twentieth China Platinum
Twenty-Fifth Silver Silver
Thirtieth Pearl Diamond
Thirty-Fifth Coral Jade
Fortieth Ruby Ruby
Forty-Fifth Sapphire Sapphire
Fiftieth Gold Gold
Fifty-Fifth Emerald Emerald
Sixtieth Diamond Diamond
Sixty-Fifth Blue Sapphire Blue Sapphire
Seventieth Platinum Platinum
Seventy-Fifth Diamond Diamond
Eightieth Oak Diamond/Pearl
Ninetieth Granite Diamond/Emerald

A Little History on Anniversary Gifts

According to the celebration experts at Hallmark, the tradition of giving year-specific anniversary gifts originated in the Middle Ages. It was a Medieval Germanic custom, for example, for a husband to give his wife a silver garland on their 25th anniversary, and a gold garland on their 50th.

The other substances can be traced to early religious beliefs in natural charms for luck or protection. Assigning those substances to particular anniversary years seems to be the work of the Victorians, those classifying over-achievers. The first known reference to gifts of wood for the fifth anniversary (the "Wooden Wedding"), for example, came from around 1875. We have Queen Victoria herself to thank for another. Diamonds had already been named for the 75th anniversary, but in 1897, England celebrated Victoria's Diamond Jubilee on the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. The diamond was quickly adopted as the appropriate 60th wedding anniversary gift, as well.

The full list of anniversary gifts we use today was first documented by Emily Post in her 1922 book, "Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home." She suggested specific gifts for the first, fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth and fiftieth wedding anniversaries. In 1957 she expanded the list to include the first 15 years and for every five years after that.

The so-called "modern" gift list is actually harder to credit, and seems to have been influenced by lobbyists from the major appliance and desk set industries.

By far, the most practical and useful gift list was devised by writer and artist Sandra Boynton, and we include her list here with her gracious permission.

Sub-standard Schedule of Anniversary Gifts

By Sandra Boynton

1st Paper 26th Soy
2nd Plastic 27th Balsa
3rd Caulking 28th Sponge
4th Talc 29th Cardboard
5th Duct Tape 30th Soup
6th Styrofoam™ 31st Terry Cloth
7th P.V.C. 32nd Suede
8th Gelatin 33rd Glue
9th Latex 34th Down
10th Naugahyde™ 35th Burlap
11th Rayon 36th Wood Grain
12th Spackle™ 37th Glycerin
13th Fiberglass 38th Wicker
14th Oil 39th Soil
15th Salt 40th Ice
16th Cortisone 41st Paprika
17th Vinyl 42nd Spandex
18th Ink 43rd Foil
19th Plexiglass™ 44th Tissue
20th Straw 45th Cork
21st Aloe 46th Velcro™
22nd Terra-cotta 47th Rope
23rd Teflon™ 48th Cast Iron
24th Film 49th Frosting
25th Silver 50th Gold

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