The Newlywed Years
Key words for the first years of any relationship are blossoming, adjustment, balance and sturdy formation. Not surprisingly, the gifts traditional of this time reflect the very same qualities.
Traditional Gifts: Paper
Modern Gifts: Clocks
Gemstone: Gold jewelry, pearl or peridot
Color: Gold or yellow
Flower: Orange blossom or pansy
Buy: Board games and puzzles, a calendar, books, stationary, tickets to a concert (or a Lobo women's volleyball game) or a painting from a local artist. Have cherished photographs professionally framed. Buy a fashion wristwatch for your mate or an antique clock you can both enjoy in your home.
Make: Arrange a bouquet of paper flowers, or write a love letter on the back of a postcard from somewhere meaningful to you both.
Traditional Gifts: Cotton
Modern Gifts: China
Buy: Egyptian cotton sheets and pillowcases, organic cotton clothing, a rope hammock, monogrammed handkerchiefs or towels.
Make: Dinner (Cantonese perhaps?) served on china plates. Or assemble a basket with Cosmos seeds, a pair of cotton garden gloves and a red terracotta pot.
Traditional Gifts: Leather
Modern Gifts: Crystal or glass
Gemstone: Pearl or jade
Color: White or jade green
Buy: Leather pants. (Just kidding.) How about a journal with leather binding and a new pair of sunglasses?
Make: Try your hand at leather work or take a glass-blowing class together. As a continued theme from your second anniversary, fill a basket with Fuchsia seeds, a pair of leather garden gloves and a green terracotta pot.
Traditional Gifts: Linen, fruit or flowers
Modern Gifts: Appliances
Gemstone: Blue topaz or blue zircon
Color: Blue or green
Buy: Sheets, a fruit tree (plant it in your backyard) or an anniversary bouquet of flowers from each previous year of marriage. And get that mint-green KitchenAid mixer she's been hinting about since you first met.
Make: Any fruit dish (cold cherry soup or apple-phyllo tarts are surprisingly easy). Offer to do the laundry for a month—or until your next anniversary.
Traditional Gifts: Wood
Modern Gifts: Silverware
Gemstone: Sapphire or pink tourmaline
Color: Pink, turquoise or blue (take your pick)
Buy: Toast each other with port wine, a traditional gift for the Big Five. Buy a Bonsai plant, wooden jigsaw puzzles, a croquet set, a pool or ping-pong table, or a rocking chair.
Make: New shelves and drawers for your closets and drawers.
Traditional Gifts: Iron or sugar (candy)
Modern Gifts: Wood
Gemstone: Amethyst or garnet
Flower: Calla lilies
Buy: Your favorite candies, of course. Also, a good cast-iron skillet (Lodge is one of the most trusted brands around) is a life-long investment that actually increases the iron content of the foods prepared in it by a small amount.
Make: Your favorite dessert, especially if you can show it off in your new cast-iron cookware.
Traditional Gifts: Wool
Modern Gifts: Desk sets
Gemstone: Onyx or yellow sapphire
Color: Yellow or off-white
Flower: Jack-in-the-pulpit, or any wild flower
Buy: Desk Set, 1957’s quintessential Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn romantic comedy.
Make: A bouquet made from flowers that grow wild around your neighborhood. Knitting a wool scarf would be especially thoughtful of you.
Traditional Gifts: Bronze or pottery
Modern Gifts: Linens and lace
Gemstone: Multicolored tourmaline
Buy: Sculpture made by a local artist, arrowheads and other antique pieces from the Bronze Age.
Make: Build an horno in your backyard. Take a pottery throwing class together, where you can learn to make replacement cups and dishes for the set you acquired when you were first married. (Some of the original pieces are probably broken by now.)