Saturday, June 20, 2015

Would You Spend $5 on an Anniversary Gift?

I don't understand traditional anniversary gifts by year. I just don't.

This is what I'm talking about:

Would You Spend $5 on an Anniversary Gift? -- Early in our marriage we laid down the gift-giving ground rules: anything goes, except spending more than $5. It was the best thing we could've done, and here's why.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Today is our 12th anniversary, which means that we should either be getting each other some swanky new silk undies or a tasteful monogrammed set of linen napkins. (For the impracticality of either gift, please see the 5 small children swinging from our rafters.)

Luckily, Phillip and I have never made a big deal about our anniversary, and sticking to a bizarre gift schedule like this is so not us.

What has historically been us, though, is the $5 gift.

When we got married we were 21 and 22 years old, completely broke and busy college students. By our first anniversary we were just as poor, just as busy, and had 1-month-old baby.

Spending a lot on each other was out of the question, and thus was born the $5 gift rule.

One Christmas when we'd been married for about 5 years, we spent the holidays with Phillip's family. On Christmas morning, we went around the room watching everyone open their gift, one by one.

Next to me, Phillip's sister opened a card from her husband and read it out loud. "Don't be upset that I spent so much. I did it because (a) I love you..." it began,  and what followed was a moving love letter and a digital camera she'd been secretly wanting for a long time.

There were tears. There were hugs. It was epic.

Then all eyes turned to me and watched me unwrap... a new ice scraper.

The thing is, I was just as excited about my gift. I burst into laughter, thinking how this was exactly what I needed, and only Phillip could've known how I'd been complaining about my crappy ice scraper every day.

(He's also the only person who understands that I'd be delighted instead of offended by the gift of an ice scraper from my spouse. I've been told that this isn't the norm.)

So I thought the ice scraper was awesome, but there was more. Every day for the rest of that winter, Phillip got up early to scrape the snow and ice off my car in the blistering cold before he left in the morning.

To say that I love this man is an understatement.

What I liked about the $5 rule was that it forced us to pay attention to some small way we could improve the other's life, and then get creative about it because five bucks isn't much.

Twelve years later, we've gotten a little lax in our gift-giving policy. Sometimes we spend more than $5, sometimes we don't spend anything at all. Some years we go on a trip, just the two of us.

Sometimes we forget about our anniversary completely (we may or may not have been reminded one year by a phone call from my dad wishing us a happy anniversary.)

To be honest I sort of miss the $5 gift policy. But last year we did do pretty well  according to the chart, at least.

We needed a new stockpot for the stove, so went to the mall and bought one. A stainless STEEL pot, for our 11th anniversary. Ha!

That was a complete accident, though, and probably the first and last time that we'll be going according to the chart.

Unless we make a French silk pie tonight.

Would You Spend $5 on an Anniversary Gift? -- Early in our marriage we laid down the gift-giving ground rules: anything goes, except spending more than $5. It was the best thing we could've done, and here's why.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
photo courtesy of Baker's Square

Which actually isn't a bad idea, and the ingredients would probably cost about $5. I don't think we've ever gone wrong with a $5 anniversary gift.

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Unremarkable Files


Rachel said...

Happy anniversary to you two!! Glad you have such good memories associated with this tradition, even if it's not one you've stuck to 100% of the time. I like anniversaries, and I am a pretty celebratory person by nature. Thus far, I've stuck to the traditional wedding gifts--it's really easy for the first few years. So far I've given him a journal (1: paper), a t-shirt (2: cotton), a wallet (3: leather), and a pewter rose (4: flowers). He really needed the wallet by year 3 because the one I'd given him for his birthday when we were engaged was falling apart by then...and he loves anything made out of pewter (he drinks out of a pewter goblet instead of a normal cup like the rest of us), so the pewter flower made perfect sense to add to his collection of pewter. The gifts get a lot less practical after 10 years so I'll probably stop then.

Jenny Evans said...

What, no ivory cufflinks for your 14th? Come on.

normaleverydaylife said...

What a cute idea! I love the thoughtfulness of it and the fun memories it creates!

Jaclyn Kent said...

Ohhh I love the $5 gift rule! I'm a gifter; it's a talent and a hobby all in one. I've never had a large budget for gifts, but I've always tried to give genuinely great gifts...not for their grandeur, but for their meaning. I'm glad to see others going a bit against the norm!!

Tomato said...

Happy anniversary! I love the $5 gift rule too, seems like an awesome idea!

PurpleSlob said...

I totally love the $5 rule. I can't believe anyone EVER followed those anniversary ideas. Maybe Emily Post?? Reading that your husband got up early, and used your ice scraper on your car, made my heart swoon a little! He definitely loves you! So nice to have met you on Monday MAdness.

Stacey said...

I love the idea of a $5 gift rule! My husband went overboard on my birthday and mother's day and probably spent a $150. Now, this might not seem like a lot, but I've been telling him how I really want to pay down the debt. However, I'll have to say that I've used my new camera accessories nearly every day so they were great gifts.

Jenny Evans said...

Oh yes. If it's frugal, we probably do it.

Jenny Evans said...

If only it were all free. I'd love to learn to do legit photography someday but I'll need to stick with my point-and-shoot for a while longer.

Unknown said...

I think cheaper gifts are great because they actually force you to think a bit harder about the gesture itself (unless of course you opt for a box of chocolates!). I think we probably do waste a lot of money on gifts although having said that my husband and I just don't bother with our anniversary at all and we don't bother with Valentines either. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout

Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) said...

I love the idea of the $5 gift rule - it does make you think a bit harder about the gesture behind it and the thought is always more important than the gift itself. We have tended to try and go with the traditional ideas if we can but have a small budget - last year was wood for us and we both ended up doing framed photo gifts which was perfect. Not sure if I'll do anything with iron this year though although candy is more of a possibility... Happy anniversary to you both #thetruthabout

Life Breath Present said...

Ha! We're weird about gifts and anniversaries, too! We've never had a rule about either one. Hun and I celebrate one another and our relationship and family in small (albeit, fairly normal) ways every day and that's enough. I do try to do small simple things I think he'd like or enjoy or need for holidays or other special days, because I like to show a little more.

This last anniversary though, we spent it at the hospital because Baby Boy had fallen and we thought his lip injury was worse than it ultimately was (no stitches) lol :)

Jenny Evans said...

Exactly! Not sure what iron has to do with candy, but all things being equal, I'd choose candy.

Jenny Evans said...

Face and head wounds always bleed like crazy, it's hard to tell. (I have two kids who get a lot of nosebleeds and they're terrible.) Happy anniversary!

Unknown said...

This is such a good idea! We tend to forget these days too... Not having to spend much is brilliant because you actually start to think what you can DO instead of GIVE. We buy buy buy often without really needing these things... I am trying to declutter and it's been terribly difficult! Not possessing that much could be actually easier than decluttering. I might think about introducing this $5 rule!

Random Musings said...

Happy Anniversary :) I love the $5 gift idea, you have to put a lot more thought into it than when you are spending hundreds! #sharewithme

Let's Talk Mommy said...

I started out the anniversary list of gifts but by year three we gave up too. It's not us either. I love love the ice scrapper gift I need one so badly. I think we need to adopt the $5 gift idea next year for our 9 years together. lol Great post and happy anniversary Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

Jenny Evans said...

I hope you do. Start dropping hints now that you need an ice scraper! It's never too early to start.

Emily said...

You could go to China for your 20 year! ;)