As time goes by

We were mulling over recently what present to buy for our darling daughter’s eighth wedding anniversary.

Seeking inspiration, not to mention enlightenment and authoritative knowledge, naturally we looked online. At anniversariesbyyear.com (yes of course there’s a web-site for it) we discovered a list of ‘wedding anniversaries gifts and ideas by year’, both traditional and modern.

There’s a good chance you already know that the first three years of marriage are traditionally supposed to be marked by paper, cotton and leather respectively. Indeed, it’s all pretty sensible up to and including the fifteenth (Crystal).

Things start to go downhill thereafter, though. Wax? Shells? And has anybody actually ever marked their nineteenth (and probably last) wedding anniversary with a gift of chili pepper? Although I suppose some marriages could do with spicing up by then.

It does rather sound like they were running out of ideas by that point, and once you get past China (twentieth) there are no traditional ‘names’ for anniversaries apart from the obvious milestones: silver, emerald, ruby, gold and diamond.

However, the modern list – no doubt reflecting our increasingly consumerist society – seems to have an answer for all the years between. Unfortunately, in some cases they appear to have been asking the wrong question.

Just imagine what could happen if a husband, bereft of gift ideas of his own, followed these modern suggestions for the years after his Ruby anniversary:

41st – Land ‘I’ve put you down for an allotment, dear’

42nd – Developed Real Estate ‘I thought you might like a shed for it’

43rd – Travel ‘What do you mean you’re going to live with your sister in Canada?’

44th – Groceries ‘Since you’re not here, can I use your Clubcard points?’

As it happens, it’s our 39th anniversary this year. ‘Lace’. Now that sounds quite promising.

I just hope it doesn’t translate into a set of doilies.

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