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Affordable Anniversary Gifts for the First Five Years

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For many couples, money can be tight during the first few years of marriage. You want to commemorate your wedding date with a meaningful gift that won't leave a lasting dent in your bank account. That's why we've put together a selection of unique and affordable wedding anniversary presents that will help you honor what is truly important about this occasion—just being together. The fact that your relationship has withstood the test of time is certainly something worth celebrating. Happy Anniversary!

First Anniversary (Paper)

Paper is composed of hundreds of interwoven threads that come together to make a whole, so it seems appropriate to mark the first anniversary with something made from this material. It is both delicate and sturdy, like your relationship. The simplest (and often most meaningful) gift might be a handwritten card or thoughtful letter to your spouse. But if you want to give him something more playful, consider stuffing a piñata with love notes, photos, and memorabilia from your first year together. You could also purchase tickets to something that the two of you enjoy doing together. Or, if you have a knack for origami (and a whole lot of time), you could fold 1,000 paper cranes, honoring him with wishes for peace and a long life together (according to Japanese tradition). Crane motifs are often used to decorate Japanese weddings because the birds mate for life and stay together year-round.

Second Anniversary (Cotton)

Cotton is both strong and versatile, two qualities which are also imperative to a successful marriage. The second anniversary marks a year in which a couple has become increasingly comfortable with one another, and for this reason, they should snuggle up to celebrate. A cotton hammock is the perfect gift for lounging together. Bed linens or a cozy new bathrobe might be just as nice. Or, if you have recently purchased a new house, you may want to consider giving him a pair of cotton gardening gloves and a packet of plantable seeds to begin growing that vegetable garden you've both been dreaming of out back.

Third Anniversary (Leather)

Leather represents the durability of a marriage—a quality that certainly deserves recognition after three loving years together. Give him a photo-filled leather scrapbook and spend the evening musing over the past, or dedicate a page to him in a leather-bound journal, recounting your times together. You may not have the time or money to travel the world right now, but that doesn't mean you can't dream about the day that you do. Present him with a leather-bound atlas, and spend the night of your anniversary identifying the many places you would like to visit in the future. Oh, the places you'll go!

Fourth Anniversary (Fruit or Flowers)

A gift of fruit or flowers represents the blossoming partnership that the two of you have shared—and will continue to share in the future. Spend the day at the farmers' market, purchasing a selection of fresh fruits that you can bake into a pie together, or plan an afternoon picnic at the botanical gardens. You might even consider planting a selection of flowering bulbs or wildflower seeds in your yard. Give him a selection of gardening tools that will help sow the seeds of your love for years to come.

Fifth Anniversary (Wood)

Five years together has proven the strength of your marriage to be as strong as wood. You have certainly weathered a number of ups and downs by this point, and you should be sure to honor your lasting commitment to one another. The celebration might be as simple as snuggling up beside your wood-burning fireplace or taking a hike through a nearby forest together. Consider planting a tree in your yard, and watch it grow well into the future. The solidity of an Oak might be especially symbolic at this time. If you are an urban-dweller without a fireplace or a yard, don't despair. Challenge one another to a game of Scrabble or Boggle—after all, both games have wooden playing pieces!

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