Ryan and I just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. And when we first got married, we starting buying each other the "traditional" wedding anniversary gift each year. (Hey! We were newlyweds, and we figured that's what you were supposed to do.)
Let me tell you a few things that we've noticed in the 16 years we've been doing this:
- There are two lists, a traditional and a modern. You can see both full lists at anniversariesbyyear.com.
- I don't know who came up with these lists, but there's some downright ODD stuff on them. ;-) And, many, many of the items are not suited at all as anniversary gifts for men.
- Sometimes the traditional gift is SO VERY ODD that it might be in your best interest to go with the modern gift.
- We Walkushes are not ones to back down from a challenge, so we've gotten awfully creative some years. And as it turns out, those gifts have often been the most memorable.
So, I thought I'd bring you some tips for how to choose a creative and unique anniversary gift.
- Choose your target gift item and use word association to help you think outside the box.
- Brainstorm ideas that are associated with that item.
- First, think big and then think BIGGER.
- Remember, even something that is loosely associated with the gift, if presented correctly, can be very memorable (even more so than something that is "by the book").
This was my thought process and what I ended up giving Ryan this year. My options for gifts this year for 16th anniversary were wax (traditional), silver hollow ware (modern), or peridot (modern).
I immediately decided to try for silver hollow ware because wax, what?, why?, and peridot, no. So, with that target gift in mind, I immediately changed silver hollow ware to anything that is silver and hollow. From there, I racked my brain to come up with what silver hollow thing I could give to Ryan. I came up with bullets and trains.
I searched online and found a train that I could buy a day trip on through the mountains, but it wasn't silver. Shoot! So, then I wondered how could I make this train related to silver (because that still sounded like a really fun trip and we're at a point in our life that we don't need any more "stuff" even if it is silver stuff).
I thought and thought a little more, and the more I thought about it and researched nearby hotel accommodations should we want to make this a whole weekend trip, I found out that the nearest hotel to this train was in Tennessee. Guess who was really good at history and remembers at this point to check the order in which the states joined the Union? (Yours truly!) As luck would have it, Tennessee was number 16!
I felt like that was a sign - for real. So, I made the arrangements for the weekend trip because I could see the whole anniversary trip coming together as a game of Monopoly!
I customized a free printable Chance card and a Community Chest card that specifically mentioned the train ride and the trip to Tennessee in Monopoly lingo.
I wrote a poem that included parts of the game and designed it to look like a large Railroad Property Card.
I set the whole thing up on our Monopoly game board for Ryan to find when he came home from work.
Have you spotted the "silver hollow ware" yet? The pieces from the Monopoly game are TECHNICALLY silver and hollow. ;-) The might be a little tarnished from years of use (this is the Harris Sisters' original Monopoly game from when we grew up), but I've lived up to my end of the bargain for this year.
If you'd like to read all about the many ways the world has changed since we got married WAY BACK in 1999, check out this blog post Confessions of a 90's Bride.