Anniversary gifts

Jan and I have a standing agreement not to buy each other anniversary gifts. We’d rather not engage in guessing games, trying choose the “perfect” gift for each other. And we resist the diamond industry’s attempts to persuade us that their wares are the only gifts suitable for an anniversary (or a birthday, or Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, or Talk Like a Pirate Day…well, maybe not the last one, but you get my drift).

Instead, we purchase a joint gift–something we can share together. So far, we’ve stuck to the list of traditional and modern anniversary gifts. The first year (paper), we sprung for personalized (with two bees–our hyphenated last name starts with two Bs) engraved stationery from Crane’s. The second year (cotton), we had dinner at one of our favorite places, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Philly’s Chinatown (also referred to as “Chinablock,” since it’s really quite tiny), and they just happened to be selling incredibly tacky t-shirts with the restaurant’s name in 3-d letters. The third year (leather) and the fourth year (linens) were a bit more practical: a new leatherbound address book for the office and new towels, respectively. Last year (silverware) we bought a new set of stainless-steel silverware–which I adore!–from Oneida (a company, I just learned the other day, with origins in a utopian community in upstate New York!).

This year, the “traditional” gift is candy or iron, and the “modern” gift is wood. Neither of us is interested in candy, and I suggested getting a new cast-iron skillet, but Jan remembered that we bought one a few months ago and haven’t gotten around to seasoning it yet. (Fortunately, the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated has an article on the subject!) A new wooden dresser for our bedroom is a possibility, but we may find that, after we complete our current get-rid-of-clothes-we-don’t-wear-anymore purge, we may not need more storage after all.

Suggestions, anyone, for iron or wood gifts?

12 Responses to “Anniversary gifts”

  1. Imperatrixon 16 Sep 2007 at 9:36 am

    Thanks for the link. I bought a cast-iron skillet at a garage sale a few weeks ago, and I haven’t gotten around to seasoning it, either.

    The Consort & I don’t buy individual gifts, either. (Mostly because we often forget our anniversary is coming up!)

    Hmmm. Iron: a sculpture for the garden? Wood: A gorgeous wooden salad bowl or other serving dish? (see, it was the first thing that came up on a google search [but please don’t buy exotic wood!])

  2. Ginaon 16 Sep 2007 at 10:58 am

    Well, wood was for the 5th. It’s the traditional and the silverware is the modern. I remember getting you guys little wood canisters for tea and spices last year. I guess it depends on which chart you really want to use (traditional vs. modern). Except for the silverware, you guys seem headed down the traditional path.

    I’d go with something iron. What about some iron trivets to use in the kitchen? Or some iron fire-place implements? Or wrought iron curtain rods or even a small wrought iron table or umbrella stand? The cast-iron skillet is very practical too, once it’s properly seasoned., that is.

    If you do decide on wood, how about a good rolling surface for dough? Or a great wooden rolling pin? I know Jan bakes a lot, and really well!

    Oh yeah, Oneidans were cool! Women were pretty well empowered in that community, at least for that time. :-)

  3. Kiranon 16 Sep 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Happy Anniversary! How about a really nice, wooden Peugeot pepper mill? Useful, beautiful and high quality…

  4. pixieon 17 Sep 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Dirk and I give each other anniversary gifts based on the traditional gift ideas as well!

    For our 5th (wood) I got a beautiful oak bookcase that Dirk refinished for me. For our 6th (iron) I got some really cool wrought iron towel racks for the bathroom.

  5. Sonyaon 18 Sep 2007 at 9:21 am

    A park bench. We got my parents a park bench one year. It was made out of iron and wood.
    For a front porch or backyard even a balcony.

  6. Sonyaon 18 Sep 2007 at 9:22 am

    P.S. this time of year you can usually find them discounted.

  7. Marshaon 18 Sep 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Imperatrix: We already have a huge wooden salad bowl (of myrtlewood from southern Oregon). The iron sculpture for the garden might be something to look into, though…

    Gina: I love those little wooden cannisters! : You’re right–we’ve done mostly the traditional stuff. The wooden rolling surface is a good idea, but we already have one of those (and a marble slab, too, for candymaking). We are seriously considering converting our fireplace into a natural-gas stove–which is made of iron, now that I think about it…

    Kiran: Good idea! We already have a set of salt and pepper mills that we adore, though. We also have a set of awesome salt and pepper monkey shakers (a gift from my brother), which we use when we’re eating corn on the cob, ’cause we don’t want the metal mills to get all buttery.

    Pixie: Towel racks–another idea to consider!

    Sonya: An iron and wood bench is a fabulous idea! We already have some teak benches outside, though (Jan’s dad bought them when Jan was a kid, and they’ve weathered to a beautiful silvery gray), and I’m not sure our yarn could stand to have more seating in it!

  8. jdon 21 Sep 2007 at 3:17 am

    I’m not very good at this, many of my peers and me still being single… So I’ve tried to give this some thought… the best I could come up with is with wood–maybe you and Jan could choose and plant a tree together?

  9. Bethon 23 Sep 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Oh, here it is. I get to make suggestions. Do you play cribbage? How about a cribbage board or a nice salad bowls to with your claws?

  10. Marshaon 24 Sep 2007 at 11:08 pm

    JD: A tree is a fabulous idea! I love it! Jan and I are both big fans of trees (hence our daughter’s name, Sylvia). Unfortunately (well, fortunately, really), we have tons of trees in our yarn–lots and lots. I wouldn’t know where to add another one!

    Beth: Nope, not cribbage players. And already nicely set up in the dinnerware department.

  11. Bethon 28 Sep 2007 at 11:39 pm

    I like jd’s tree idea. Why not plant a tree at a location other than your home? Maybe a favorite park?

  12. Bedeon 06 Oct 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I’m with Beth on this one. Donate a tree to an organization planting around town–parks dept., beautification committee, etc.–or to a reforestation effort somewhere nearby. If not that, what about a woody flowering shrub for the yard?

    If not living wood, how about an exquisite picture frame or mirror frame, perhaps with inlay?