Present, Unaccounted For

Desperate Housewife Seeks Anniversary Gift Ideas

If I had a distress signal flag I’d be waving it about right now because my thirty-seventh wedding anniversary is tomorrow and I have absolutely no clue about what to give my husband. 

Yesterday I went online, thinking the list of customary anniversary gifts might help, and I learned that there’s a traditional item for every anniversary, starting with the first (paper) all the way through the fifteenth (crystal).  For a sixth anniversary it suggests candy or iron – presumably candy for her and iron for him (and woe to the guy who gets it mixed up and thinks he’s supposed to give her a new iron, because that gift exchange is not going to end well for either of them.)  The thirteenth anniversary calls for lace, although to be perfectly honest I don’t know what on earth a husband would want that’s made out of lace, unless…  Oh wait.  Never mind, I get it now. 

Anyway, after anniversary number fifteen the list skips to twenty, and then it hits only the biggies after that – you know, twenty-five, thirty, forty, fifty and sixty.  And speaking of that last one, does anybody but me find it a little strange that the traditional gift for a sixtieth anniversary is "Diamond”?  I mean, call me crazy but if you’re going to give a girl "the gift that lasts forever”, wouldn’t it be nice to do it a little sooner than when she’s eighty-four years old?

But getting back to the list, it’s obvious that the folks who created it are every bit as stumped as I am about what to get for all those pesky anniversaries that occur between the milestone years, because they aren’t even mentioned.  As a result, I ended up right back where I started.

In an effort to seek help elsewhere, I asked a group of girls at lunch what kind of stuff they typically give their spouses on these occasions.  Unfortunately, despite some interesting conversations, I quickly concluded that what’s good for one goose’s gander isn’t necessarily good for another’s.  For example, last year my friend Julia surprised her hubby with airplane tickets to France.  Can you imagine what a gift like that would mean to a guy like Marc, who has already logged in over 100,000 miles in business air travel this year alone?  Hint: It would be something akin to giving Steve Jobs an iPad.  And while we’re on the subject of iPads that brings up another thorny problem on the gift front – namely budget.  Supposedly the price for this way-cool electronic gadget averages about $700.  Ditto Julia’s airline tickets to Paris.  Sorry, no can do.   Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum you have my pal Katy whose husband is lucky to get a card. Personally I’m thinking there’s got to be a sweet spot somewhere between Katy’s chinchy three dollars and Julia’s extravagant seven hundred.  Twenty bucks is sounding about right to me.

So now that I’ve narrowed down my price range, all I have to do is come up with an appropriate gift.  Hmm…  Golf balls?  Nope, Marc doesn’t play golf.  Car wax?  Not unless I want to receive an iron from him next year.  A subscription to "Popular Mechanics”?  Rats, I gave him that for Christmas.  An ice scraper?  Perfect, except we live in Miami. 

I know – I’ll look in Sky Mall Magazine!  They always have neat products.    Let’s see here…  Ooh, how about a branding iron for barbequed steaks?  A talking world map?  A "Beginner’s Banjo” DVD?  A solar-powered nose hair trimmer?  A dual purpose badminton racquet/bug zapper?  Hold on a minute!  What am I thinking?  Marc peruses this exact same magazine every time he gets on an airplane.  No wonder this stuff looks familiar.  He’s already got it all.

This is getting serious, folks.  I’m running out of ideas…and time.  In fact, at this point I’m halfway tempted to just borrow a suggestion from that traditional gift list.  I mean, it’s not like Marc keeps up with that junk.  In looking at the list, my best three options appear to be: anniversary number eleven – steel (and let’s face it, nothing says "romance” like a new blade for the lawn mower); anniversary number two – cotton (a six-pack of Hanes briefs falls nicely in that category) or anniversary number thirteen.

It’s a tough call but I’ve decided to go with lucky number thirteen.  After all, what better way than the gift of lace to make sure he’s still around for that "diamond” sixtieth, right?

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!  Love, Pug.

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