The Germans began the tradition of giving anniversary gifts to their spouses during medieval times. Since then, numerous lists have emerged indicating that specific types of gifts should be given for each year of marriage. While the lists offer suggestions, you don't have to adhere to the list. However, when you combine the list and a little bit of creativity it's easy to come up with a romantic anniversary gift that tells your spouse how much you care.
In 1922, Emily Post became the first person to publish a traditional list of anniversary gifts. However, it wasn't until 1957 that the list was updated to include a gift for each year of marriage -- up to the 50th wedding anniversary. According to Emily Post's list, it was a tradition to give your spouse a gift made of paper for the first wedding anniversary, wood for the fifth anniversary, aluminum for the tenth, silver for the 25th and gold for the 50th year of marriage. While some of the suggestions are vague, it's possible to use each element in a romantic way. For example, give your spouse a bouquet of paper roses for your first anniversary; build a romantic fire for your fifth anniversary or give your spouse an aluminum watch for your 10th anniversary.
Choosing a gift from the modern anniversary gift list (which was introduced by the American National Retail Jewelers' Association in 1937) requires a lot less creativity, but you may find some of the gifts a bit impersonal. Clocks, china and crystal are considered appropriate for the first three years of marriage. Appliances, desk sets and silverware also made it onto the modern gift list. Consider having your gift engraved or personalized to give it a more romantic meaning.
For centuries people have used flowers as a gift to symbolize different feelings. Because of this, some flowers have special meaning and are associated with the various years of marriage. It's proper etiquette to give pansies for the first wedding anniversary; pansies symbolize loyalty and mean you're thinking about the person you give them to. The calla lily, associated with the sixth wedding anniversary, signifies beauty; while the red rose, associated with the 15th anniversary, signifies love, passion and perfection.
If your someone who likes to buy jewelry for gifts, there's a gemstone that symbolizes each year of marriage. Created in 1912 by the European Jewelers Guild, the lists gold jewelry as the gift for the first wedding anniversary, garnet for the second and pearl for the third. Most of the gemstones on the list are commonly known -- ruby for the 15th anniversary, amethyst for the 17th and emerald for the 20th. But lesser-known gems made the list as well -- tourmaline for the eighth anniversary and iolite for the 21st. Diamonds made the list three times, for the 10th, 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries.
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