After much internet sleuthing, (well I checked several websites, including wikipedia!). I have come to the conclusion that there is no definitive list of themed Anniversary Gifts.
I have found that the UK versions differ slightly (and in some cases drastically) from the US versions, there are ‘traditional’ and ‘modern versions’ as well as gemstone and flower lists. Almost every site you check will have a different idea of what is right for at least one of the years!
I have decided to throw caution to the wind and piece together my own Handmade Wedding Anniversary Gift List! I’m avoiding the ‘modern’ lists as some of those include things like electrical appliances (and I can’t quite see Mrs Smith appreciating a new vacuum cleaner for an anniversary gift!).
1st – Paper
Paper is a pretty universally accepted 1st anniversary gift choice, dating back to the Victorian era, though there doesn’t seem to be any definitive reason behind paper for year one but some nice ideas found here such as it representing a blank page, a fresh, new start to a new year together (there are also some less nice ideas, about it being fragile and easily ripped like a new marriage – but we’ll ignore those!)
There are lots of ideas for paper as a theme, from something as simple as a lovely piece of artwork to something more unusual like a piece of decoupaged home-wears or origami item!
2nd – Cotton
Cotton is again, widely considered to be the 2nd year go-to-gift, perhaps because it symbolises the need for a marriage to remain strong and be able to adapt to changes. And as cotton is at the same time both strong and soft, the couple is learning how to be flexible and adapt to each other’s needs.
There is quite a selection of cotton items below, just to give you some ideas to fit the theme for the second year.
3rd – Leather/Glass
Leather seems to be 100% universal for year number 3, there are many reasons why this could be the case. Leather is widely considered to be protective and durable (like a marriage!). In Russia it is said by the third year of marriage a couple can feel each other in their skin as they have come to know each other so well. Glass is also linked to the 3rd anniversary, possibly because the gemstone for that year is crystal.
Personally I prefer the idea of glass for year no3 as there is more scope for a gift for both of you. Something lovely for the house or nice glasses to fill with your beverage of choice etc…
4th – Linen
Linen has many properties which could be why it is often associated with the 4th year of marriage, though fairly similar to cotton in a lot of ways too, which is perhaps why it isn’t always no.4 on every list. It is a good absorber of water and also contains anti allergic properties, it’s these properties of the linen that symbolises marriage, able to absorb troubles and protect you from any bad things that may come your way.
Being quite an old fashioned material, I’ve struggled to find much to fit with linen as a theme but these decorative home wears certainly are lovely!
5th – Wood
Wood is included on pretty much every Anniversary gift list, just not always at year 5. Historically trees symbolise wisdom, with deep roots which keep them strong. Wood is also a strong material, which stands the test of time.
There are a wealth of hand crafted wooden items to choose from, from decorative items, to jewellery and more practical items such as home wears and pens, below are just a few examples.
I’ll be following on from this blog with years 6-10 soon so keep popping back for more!