What anniversary is the appliance one? The leather? The original poetry?
This is the 400th list I’ve published on 11 Points. It took me just over two years and five months to get here. It got me thinking about milestones, which got me thinking about anniversaries, which got me researching anniversaries, which got me writing about anniversaries.
Most of us know the traditional gifts for major milestone anniversaries: The first anniversary is paper, 25th is silver, 50th is gold, 60th is diamond, 92nd is (I assume) uranium. I wanted to dig up the more offbeat anniversary gifts and yes, there were plenty to choose from. Here were my favorite 11.
1 | 4th anniversary – appliances
The person who established this gifting tradition was clearly thinking that it takes a solid four years of marriage before you can get away with giving your wife a vacuum cleaner as an anniversary gift. (It’s damn near as controversial as giving her a bowling ball engraved with “Homer.”)
2 | 7th anniversary – desk sets
Isn’t the 7th anniversary the one where the seven-year itch sets in? So instead of getting the most mundane gift of the entire pack — really, a desk organizer? is a three-ring binder too edgy? — shouldn’t this be the one where people go for the spiciest gift? (And just think — if you decide to go that route and get a hooker, you could both end up with a whole different kind of seven-year itch.)
3 | 9th anniversary – leather
Some people — primarily the ones that read Vanity Fair and wear monocles — might take this to mean a fine Italian leather jacket. I saw leather and immediately thought — nine years of marriage, time to switch things up with some cuffs, a whip and a gimp hood.
4 | 11th anniversary – steel or fashion accessories
These aren’t the most exciting of the gifts, but since this is 11 Points I figured I should pull the 11th anniversary — steel and fashion accessories. Might be easier to combine them and either (1) buy a steel bracelet (2) buy a Steelers accessory, like perhaps this toe ring or (3) steal a fashion accessory. In all three cases, it’s class all the way.
5 | 14th anniversary – ivory
This comes in quick succession after the 7th anniversary with wool, 9th anniversary with leather and 13th anniversary with fur. You’re like the serial killers they always talk about on Law & Order: SVU, escalating. I guess after 14 years of escalation you really do have to poach an elephant to satisfy your mania for PETA-unfriendly gifts.
6 | 24th anniversary – musical instruments
Just in time for a midlife crisis, how about one of those guitars that are, like, double guitars?
7 | 27th anniversary – sculpture
I would, naturally, give a sculpture of a 3x3x3 cube for the 27th anniversary. Then I would be so proud of myself. Then I would be all condescending when I had to explain its significance.
8 | 41st anniversary – land
I feel like this one is a leftover from a past era when people were all about acquiring land. In a way, it’s just like the board game Risk. (Only that takes more than 41 years to play.)
9 | 42nd anniversary – developed real estate
Seems a bit late in the game to be opening up a new mortgage. Then again, it’s got to be right there around the perfect median age to be a slumlord. No etiquette book specifically says the 42nd anniversary real estate can’t be a crackhouse, right?
10 | 44th anniversary – groceries
You’ve had that crackhouse for two years now, might as well stock it with canned goods and spray cheese.
11 | 46th anniversary – original poetry
And it goes a little something like this…
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
We’ve been together 46 years,
Did you remember to water the plants?