Fourth Anniversary Inspiration- Fruit and Flower Gift Ideas
I love a theme, and the marriage anniversary gift guidelines are both hilariously arbitrary and super fun to take on as a challenge. Every year so far, we have done decorating, food, and our gifts to another level by just following the weirdly wonderful list of suggestions.
For the first year, we made paper decorations like the ones at our wedding (we have enough tissue paper to last a lifetime). For gifts, we exchanged a paper clock and scratch off maps.
For the second year, we rocked it with a cotton sheet tent in our room, where we camped out, watched Top Chef, and did not exchange cotton robes.
For the third year, we ate steak. Well, he ate steak. I covered our house in cows and compromised my cow-loving morals. We exchanged leather photo albums and luggage tags.
It may seem like a silly tradition, but I firmly believe that the key to appreciating life (and having a happy one), is making a big deal about the good things. You can't do anything to stop bad things from happening, but giving the good equal weight, attention, time, and creativity. The Boy is probably my single favorite life decision, so I am going to make a big deal out of our anniversary week.
I love just killing it on the theme. But I can do it without forking over lots of dough, buying junk he doesn't need, or celebrating at the sake of the environment. It is doable and forces me to be more creative and give better gifts. Here's how-
I don't give a ton of gifts. Just one or two GREAT gifts.
I don't necessarily get him a Brand New Thing. I look for used things or even an experience instead of an object.
I don't get gifts that have traveled long distances. I try to make them as local as possible.
This year's theme? Fruit and Flowers.
After last year's leather-clad meatfest, this year's theme seems pretty tame. You can also tell that motivation to rock the theme is waning, because both Pinterest and Etsy don't have many suggestions. Pinterest has roses made of bacon and some fruit puns.
Etsy is mostly selling various roses out of every material you can think of. Also, a t-shirt that says "She still puts up with me after 4 years"- really? This needs to be said after 4 years- how awful are you? Let's not pat her on the back just yet. Four years seems very early to be bragging (maybe that's why no one goes all out for this anniversary- not fresh enough to be fun, not established enough to feel like an accomplishment?).
So, I would never advocate for people to buy something as useless as a metal rose or as embarrassing as that t-shirt. This anniversary feels like a totally wasted creative opportunity out there- sure, sweet and floral sounds feminine, but this really feels like an anniversary about planting things that grow. Establishing those roots as you move outward. Pretty cool when you think about it.
So some ideas that would work no matter your partner's gender. Let's do this.
Let's Get Cooking
This is an anniversary that screams for a cooking class. Know your audience, because this could go the way of a passive aggressive hint. You have to do it together. No sending someone because you aren't feeling their cooking. But couple's cooking classes sound so fun, you get to learn new skills together, and it might set this year up to be one of amazing food and crazy experiments.
You could also do a fruit-arranging class? Make Cezanne models? Ok, this could be tricky, and I am not sure what partner is screaming to arrange things, but if they dream of having Yolanda Foster's fridge or becoming Martha Stewart, this could be cool. Flower-arranging might be more common, if equally boring.
A year of cool dinners. Sure, you could take them out to dinner somewhere cool for the day. You could also look at your list of restaurants you have wanted to try. Pick one for every (or every other maybe?) month from now until your next anniversary, and split your gift money to help pay for it. It's like a commitment to step up your dates and keep trying new things (which is obviously essential to not sucking at marriage).
Something that Grows
I can see the instinct to go for the bouquet of flowers or edible arrangement when fruit and flowers are the theme, but consider something that will still be growing for future anniversaries as well. Because no one needs another vase, but we could all use more fresh air.
We may not think of flowers and fruit as gifts that persist, but a lilac bush could fill your yard with the best smell ever for years. You have to keep taking care of a raspberry bush or an herb garden (if you don't have much space, you may still have room to grow), but isn't that more like marriage? It always takes a little upkeep, but you get a lot more from it than you would a bouquet long forgotten by your 5th anniversary.
What grows well in your neighborhood? Go to a local nursery and get some advice. You may be eating berries out of your own yard in no time. Don't have a yard? No problem- maybe it is time to start that herb garden together or grow tomatoes on your porch. Or! You could buy a plot at a local public patch.
My best gift idea for this anniversary is to plant or grow something that matters to you and your partner. You could even do it together as the celebration!
A Little Garden Glamour
|from West Wind Home Garden|
For stepping stones, it doesn't get much cuter than these turtle stones. I can totally imagine the gardens where they would look adorable. When I started looking for garden stones, the vast majority were animal gravestones. Maybe not for an anniversary, but you can find better options. Then it was all for something called "fairy gardens." So maybe you don't do stepping stones on Etsy.
My favorite might be these penny flower stakes for Uncommon Goods- they are made from recycled/ upcycled materials in the US, and they are just so super cute.
I just wrote a whole blog on Etsy stores that sell planters- check it out!
|from 3D Uni Print|
Somewhere to Stop and Smell the Roses
Don't want something plastic? Why not try to find a bench at a consignment store? You can always repaint something wood or metal to make it your own. I also found made in America metal and wood options on Amazon, but I would recommend checking local stores because someone nearby might be making them.
In retrospect, this bench was a perfect purchase for that anniversary. It is one of those things that looks perfect in its spot in our yard, but with such a long list of to do's, I bet we wouldn't have gone for it for a very long time. I also bought a cute little plaque on Etsy to commemorate what we bought it for (so it is a practical and sentimental gift). It's a place to stop in our garden, and here is a picture of The Boy taking a break to stare lovingly at it.
Join a Co-op
Do you have a co-op near where you live? Joining that would be an awesome AND eco-friendly gift. You are supporting a local farmer, eating produce from near you, and you have to learn what to do with things in the box you have never cooked from before. It's like a present you get every week all summer! And you could commit to cooking one meal together from things you get out of the box.
Before you say "oh we don't have those here," google it. Co-op farmers are all over the United States with drop off and pick up boxes available, but you have to see what you have there. Just check.
Juicy FruitFruit, when you think about it, is a pretty low maintenance food. You mostly eat it raw. You could get a juicer if you think it would get a lot of use (but I can't find one made in the USA- phooey). Microplane sells American-made zesters, which have turned out to be very handy in our house.
|from Golem Designs|
I love this berry buddy from Uncommon Goods- it looks great, is made in Pennsylvania, and it would work perfectly if you are big berry-eating family (like we are). Lots of Etsy ceramicists like Mark's Pottery, Shady Grove Pottery, and Loma Prieta Pottery make berry strainers as well. Want to do something more cost effective? You can also find really cool vintage ones on Etsy or get the strainer from Preserve- made in the USA with recycled materials!
So most of these gift ideas have been at least a little romantic, but the theme does lend itself to getting something practical off your list. Gosh, that is so the 4th year of marriage. Still, if you (or your partner) feel lighter with another to do biting the dust, this might be fun (but please go on a romantic date or something- life can't be all practical).
And For Something Truly Not Romantic...
If you still need something bought or something done for your outdoor space, this might be the perfect opportunity to focus on that. Whether you live in a stand alone house or a rented apartment, you may enjoy some outdoor space more with a little boost. Maybe you want a swing for your porch or a hanging tomato garden for your patio. Maybe your porch needs repainted or the stairs need fixed. This can be a perfect opportunity to tackle something together and to put a little attention into spaces that can be forgotten.
|Good Ideas from Amazon|
|Idlyc from Amazon|
Not yard people? No worries! You could also get totally unromantic about your grocery shopping. Rather than using those plastic produce bags which are used once and then shipped to the landfill, you could get produce and grocery bags to shop with! Honestly, we just use a reusable grocery bag and throw everything into one bag. Why not? We are just going to wash it all when we get home anyway, so what are the little bags protecting them from? Hot peppers are the only thing that gets their own bag.
Fruit and Flower Art
Both fruit and flowers are the subject of lots of cool prints and paintings, so you could also buy something to help decorate your kitchen.
|from Jessica Haas Designs|
This map from artist Wendy Gold turns the whole world into bouquets of flowers. This is so pretty, and it reminds me of Napoleon's wife who had a huge collection of gorgeous botanical drawings. May be the perfect piece for a mudroom or office.
If you want to gift something really different, these stained glass panels are both geometric and organic. I love that they are made in Kentucky, and it could look perfect in your window.
And for Jewelry...I try to do a bunch of jewelry options for every holiday, because it is kind of fun to see how the themes translate from year to year. If you are going to take the easy route and buy jewelry, at least get something cool. Also, the options for fruit and flowers on Etsy are literally endless, so get on there and get searching.
|from WorksofEarthMT (yes, that is real dried fruit turned into jewelry. Surprisingly pretty)|
Ok, these are my best ideas, what are yours? How do you make a gift thoughtful, fun, and useful all at the same time!? It's a tall order, but I believe it can be done!