September 2012
Gift Cards - When Are They An Acceptable Gift?
Every year on Christmas, my dad hands me a gift card to Barnes and Noble. No one loves books more than me; believe me, but what does this say about dear old Dad? In some cases, especially between two people who share a very personal relationship, gift cards don’t really communicate connection and thoughtfulness. I know my dad, and I know that gift shopping for Christmas consists of heading to town on Christmas Eve to buy whatever he lays eyes on for friends and family. Everybody has their Christmas shopping method, and I harbor no ill will towards my lovely Barnes and Noble cards, but if you want to make an impression with a person with whom you are close, steer clear of gift cards and cash. The better option, buy a book that you know she will love and inscribe the inside cover with a heartfelt message.  Hint, hint, Dad! There are a few occasions, however, when gift cards and cash can win big with your recipient. Here are a few such events that, in my opinion, qualify for card or money gifts…

Graduation
Graduates usually need cash more than just about anybody. We all have to buy graduation gifts for kind of random people, right? I have a million cousins, and always find myself needing graduation gifts for these relatives that I don’t know all that well. I’m not looking to give my cousin something personal, I just want to help them out, so cash is perfect.

Office Gift Exchanges
How about that really awkward office party? The Secret Santa game is probably the worst invention ever. I remember hating this when I was a kid. Oh great, I get to draw a name out of a hat for some random person I barely know, and then go find them a gift! Woohoo! The recipient usually just ends up with useless junk, and the giver often feels stressed out and irritated while buying that useless junk. A gift card in this case can come in super handy. This option gives your recipient a whole store full of possibilities. Usually co-workers aren’t overly personal with one another, so this doesn’t violate the personal connection and thoughtfulness rule, so you’re set!

Weddings
Weddings are another occasion for which a more impersonal gift can be appropriate. The majority of the guests at a wedding are remotely related in some way to the bride or the groom, but everyone is expected to bring a gift! If you are a distant cousin or a friend of a friend, just go with cash or gift cards. Leave the hand mixers and towels to closer relatives. Newlyweds are usually in need of a little extra dough anyway, so money or gift cards won’t be an unwelcome addition to the gift table.

Consider the Relationship and the Message Sent
The major theme I find running through this blog post is one of relationship. How are you related to the recipient? Distant relatives, not-so-close friends and co-workers are great candidates for gifts of money. Save the personalized gifts and thoughtful gestures for your closer circle of friends and family. Quick cards and cash for everyone else will give you a little extra time to spend contemplating the perfect gift for those closer to you. It all comes down to a judgment call in the end. Consider the message you hope to convey to your recipient. Money gifts say Hey, I don’t know you all that well, but I still want to help you out! If this is an appropriate message for your recipient, I say go for it. Happy gifting!!
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Anniversary Gifts for Year 11
It’s your 11th wedding anniversary, and hopefully it has been a pleasant start on your second decade together. This year, break open a bottle of wine and raise a toast to companionship. Hopefully the journey has been one of peaceful contentment, though rocky spells happen to everybody. One way or the other, it looks like you made it here, so congratulate one another on the strength it takes to travel as partners!! Here are a few gift ideas to kick off the celebration…

Steel Wine RackTraditional Gift Ideas… Toast the Strength of Your Relationship
Traditional 11th anniversary gifts are made from steel. A huge variety of things are made from steel, so the possibilities are endless. Get creative and buy your honey something unique. Maybe your hubby is wishing for a weight set, or perhaps a new set of stainless steel kitchen appliances will fit into your budget. For a more romantic option, this steel wine rack will add some charm to your home and keep your favorite vintage close at hand for sipping with dinner. Break open your favorite bottle during a romantic candle-lit supper for two to add some extra romance to your celebration. Browse the selection of Wine Gifts at Arttowngifts.com to find a variety of wines and champagnes for just the thing to tickle your fancy!

Passionate Tulips and Affectionate Morning Glories
The traditional 11th anniversary flowers are the tulip and the morning glory. The tulip is considered to be one of the most romantic of all flowers, representing a declaration of love. The black center of this blossom signifies a lover’s heart darkened by passionate desire. The morning glory is an eye-catching bloom that looks stunning in bouquet arrangements. This bloom symbolizes affection and love, and makes a sweet gift for your sweetheart.

Wise Old Owl EarringsContemporary Gift Ideas… Bling Bling
The modern 11th anniversary gift is fashion jewelry. Take a look at the Jewelry Store at Arttowngifts.com to find a huge selection of bracelets, earrings, necklaces, charms and pendants. With a collection this huge, you are sure to find something that will light up her eyes and bling up her outfit!

Share Some Memories

Pull the cork out of that bottle of wine and share a drink and some memories as your eleventh year comes to a close. Gifts of steel represent the strength of your marriage and gifts of jewelry signify the beauty that comes from eleven years of companionship. Raise a toast to your mastery of these qualities while you meander down memory lane. Hope it’s a truly terrific night! Join me next time for year 12.
10th Anniversary Gifts
Congratulations on your very first decade. You have proven that your love is durable and enduring, and this accomplishment is nothing to be taken lightly. You could not have made it this far without the bonds of companionship, friendship and the true love that springs from such ties. Good for you! Make your tenth anniversary celebration really special, and make it just about the two of you, because your first decade should be notable and memorable enough to get you excited about the decade ahead! Here are a few gift ideas sure to make it unforgettable…

Bend Without Breaking
Double Dipped Oreo Cookies TinThe traditional 10th anniversary gift is tin or aluminum. The symbolism behind this is really cool. These metals are both pliable and flexible, as your relationship must be to succeed. However, though it bends, it does not break, as evidenced by your many years together!! Take advantage of this neat representation with gifts of aluminum and tin. Ladies, bake your man a favorite batch of cookies or treats and wrap it in aluminum foil. Present him with his gift before he leaves for work in the morning to keep him thinking sweet thoughts about you all throughout his day. Not into baking? If your attempts at working with the oven often turn out less than delicious, try ordering this Double Dipped Oreo Cookies Tin from Arttowngifts.com. He will receive a gold-rimmed tin filled with delicious Belgian Chocolate Dipped Oreos©, each coated in romantic candy decorations and sprinkles. For your sake, I hope he shares!!

Plant Joyful Daffodils
The traditional 10th anniversary flower is the daffodil. This springy blossom symbolizes joy, cheerfulness and happiness. For flowers delivered today, check out the Same Day Flower Store at Arttowngifts.com. Express your joy at having her in your life with a vibrant daffodil bouquet or plant a patch in your garden for a delightful springtime surprise. Daffodils are persistent perennials, so if planted and cared for properly, they will return year after year to remind you of your 10th anniversary.

Pink Silver Diamond EarringsBling Bling for Your 10th
The modern 10th anniversary gift is a diamond. Diamonds represent the durability of your relationship. I don’t know any woman who wouldn’t appreciate receiving a diamond bracelet, necklace or pair of earrings. If diamonds won’t bust your budget, this option is definitely recommended to put a little extra sparkle in her memory of this important day. However, many of us simply don’t have the means to splurge on expensive jewelry. If this is the case for you, check out the selection of gorgeous and inexpensive jewelry found at Arttowngifts.com. This pair of Pink Silver Diamond Earrings features a silver diamond surrounding a pink stone to get you as close as it comes to diamonds! The sterling silver earrings are polished to create reflective planes, allowing light to dance on the surface for a shimmering addition to her jewelry box. The pink, lampwork glass bead is formed around a silver foil coil for a glowing appearance she will love!

One Decade Down...
Be sure that this year will always remain a sparkling example of what a terrific anniversary celebration should be. Whether blinging out with diamonds, keeping it cheerful with daffodils or feeding your appetites with cookies, keep a piece of your day reserved for the simple knowledge that you have just made it through a decade as partners. What will you do differently during the next decade? What will you continue to do? Spend some time over your tin full of cookies talking about it. Share some laughs and tears, and then get started on decade number two! Join me next time for year 11.
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Leather Wrapped PenAnniversary Gifts for Year 9
Alright, let’s dive into year nine! Nine years together means you’re probably professionals at knowing one another better than anyone else. Use this extreme familiarity to help you pick out gifts for your spouse that are tailor made to their truest interests. Some couples seem to wane on gift giving as the years pass. Why?!? Long-time couples have a huge advantage in gift giving. Finally, you can receive a gift from someone who knows you inside and out. This works to the advantage of the gifter and the giftee. So celebrate your spousal knowledge and get him or her something extra special this year. Here are a few gift ideas to get you started…

Traditional Gift Ideas... Grow and Decorate 
Traditional 9th anniversary gifts are made from pottery. Déjà vu? If you read the previous post on the 8th anniversary, you may remember that pottery was also the traditional gift for that year. This gives all of you that didn’t take me up on my Ghost re-enactment idea a second chance to seize the day!! For those of you not running out to buy a pottery maker right now, I have a few more ideas. Dishes make fine gifts for the ladies, as do home décor items like vases, sculptures, etc. For the wife who appreciates gardening, the Wall Planter by Nerio Festa makes for a decorative way to display her flowers. The unique construction of this planter puts a spin on the traditional flower pot! Who knew pottery could be so versatile?

Go for the Bouquet
The 9th anniversary flowers are the Poppy and the Bird of Paradise. The poppy will make a stunning addition to your garden with its large colorful blossoms. This flower symbolizes dreaminess, imagination, and fantastic extravagance. The Bird of Paradise is an interesting flower resembling a colorful bird. You can find these flowers in bouquets that tend to look very tropical and highly unique. This might be a good year to present her with a bouquet, just because this flower makes for a really interesting and stunningly vibrant arrangement. The flower symbolizes faithfulness, joyfulness and paradise. If you wish to try your hand at growing this interesting bloom, it tends to do well indoors as it needs to be kept fairly warm. However, beware! The Bird of Paradise is poisonous, so avoid if you have small children or pets.

Oxford Round Leather FlaskSophisticated Libation
Modern 9th anniversary gifts are made from leather. A leather jacket for your hubby can be fun. How about a pair of fancy leather boots for kickin’ up your heels in style? There are tons of fun gift ideas for leather. The Oxford Round Leather Flask from arttowngifts.com features a sleek design that makes it a trendy addition to his attire. The flask comes complete with a removable shot glass for a convenient way to enjoy his favorite libation. For the executive husband, the Leather Wrapped Pen shown above will add sophistication to his office space. A comfortable leather grip makes writing easier. Perfect for the up and coming CEO!

Exploit Your Expertise
As you go forth to buy your gifts, go with the confidence of nine years’ worth of spousal know-how. You know them better than anyone, so get them something unforgettable this year! Short on dough? You know just how to melt their heart, too, so do something super sentimental that costs you a lot of time and effort rather than a lot of money. However you go about making their day, do so with years of experience under your belt. Hope it’s the best yet!! Join me next time for year 10.
Anniversary Gifts for Year 8
It’s the end of your eighth year of marriage. By now, you likely have a house, car payment and some kids. Life moves fast and it probably feels like these eight years flew by! I often feel disoriented by the passing of a week. On Friday, I look back at Monday and think, where did the middle of the week go? Hopefully, you have experienced this phenomenon over the course of your marriage because time flies when you are having fun!! Okay lovebirds, time to take a timeout and celebrate! Sometimes we get so lost in the daily grind that we forget to appreciate the little things like kisses and even the big things like anniversaries! So press the pause button and spend the day appreciating one another and all the little and big ways that your spouse brightens each day. Here are a few gift ideas for a romantic anniversary exchange…

Bronzonite EarringsTraditional Gift Ideas... Share a Ghost Moment
Traditional 8th anniversary gifts are made from bronze or pottery. I know what you’re thinking; let’s get each other a pottery maker, right? Who doesn’t want to experience their own special Ghost moment? Put on that super romantic song and get down to the business of making kitchenware!! On the serious side, hubbies often enjoy knocking a few brewskies back, so consider something from the Stein and Mug Collection at arttowngifts.com. There are all sorts of mugs and steins that will look great in your kitchen or home bar, and help make his end-of-day unwinding super stylish. For the gals, these lovely Bronzonite Earrings are perfect for wearing on date night. Take her somewhere special tonight and give her an excuse to wear them!

Clematis for Intelligence, Lilacs for Beauty
The 8th anniversary flowers are the clematis and the lilac. The clematis symbolizes mental beauty, ingenuity or cleverness. The intellectual spouse might enjoy the meaning behind this particular flower. Lilacs symbolize the emotions of young love, beauty, confidence and youthfulness. The passionate love of your youth has likely blossomed to become mature, companionate love. Honor this lovely transition with lilac inspired jewelry or fragrant fresh flowers sure to stir up some of those youthful emotions.

Grill Up a Modern Anniversary Feast
Quilted Makeup Tote
Modern 8th anniversary gifts are made from linen or lace. Luxurious sheet sets are a great idea, lacey sleepwear for the ladies works wonders, or even some fancy curtains for a new look in your home! Include a fabulous Quilted Makeup Tote on a romantic getaway to help her freshen up for nights spent at fancy restaurants in Paris or exotic tiki bars on the shores of paradise. This pretty tote offers plenty of space for her necessities and zips to keep them secure. For your guy, try on a nice shirt for size! Maybe he likes to kick it casual in tees, or enjoys a nice button up for fancy occasions. Whatever his taste, get him something that will remind him of you with every wear. For the grilling expert, arttowngifts.com offers a handy Grillmaster Apron featuring plenty of grilling accessories and pockets for storing them. Hold a backyard barbeque and invite some friends over for a fun way to celebrate your anniversary!

The Little Things Add Up
Look forward to your anniversary as a time to stop and breathe a little life into your relationship. Whether you spend it as a couple, as a family, or with friends, be sure to make it a significant day that stands out from the other 364. Each of the little things I have suggested will help you to remember the biggest thing of all… your life together! Billions of tiny details, smiles, hugs and laughs make your relationship and home the most important place in your hearts. So take this one small day and make it into something memorable! Join me next time for year 8.
Anniversary Gifts for Year 7
The conclusion of your seventh year together ends with gifts that symbolize comfort, security and prosperity. Comfort and security can lead to restlessness, and we’ve all been warned about the seven year itch, but obviously the two of you have managed to glean something more than boredom out of the security of your relationship. Congratulations to you for this impressive accomplishment! This year, celebrate the comfort of your relationship by traveling outside of your comfort zones. Take a dance class, sky dive, try a karaoke duet, anything new that you can test out together. Prove that the seven year itch doesn’t apply to you with new activities that will break you out of your daily routines. To accompany these new adventures, exchange meaningful gifts on your anniversary to honor one more year spent getting to know one another. Here are a few gift ideas to help you out…

Copper Oval Brass Leaf EarringsKeep Toes and Hearts Warm with Traditional Gifts
Traditional 7th anniversary gifts are made from copper and wool. Wool represents the durability, warmth and comfort of your seven years together. Wool is perfect for winter anniversaries! Keep your spouse warm with a wool sweater, scarf, mittens, slippers or a blanket. Maybe your hubby works out in the cold? A pair of wool socks is a sweet gift to keep his toes nice and toasty. For anniversaries celebrated in warmer climates, copper gifts can be just as heartwarming! Send your lovely lady a Copper Rose to display on a desk or shelf for a long lasting reminder of this seventh celebration. Roses are preserved in colorful lacquers and then trimmed in copper for an eye catching expression of sentiment that will never wither away! If your girl enjoys wearing jewelry, these Copper Oval Brass Leaf Earrings make an elegant addition to any outfit and a romantic way to acknowledge her special place in your heart.

Wildflowers to Celebrate Shelter
The traditional 7th anniversary flower is the Jack-In-the-Pulpit. This springtime wildflower symbolizes shelter. The home that you have made together has sheltered your bodies and provided a safe place for your relationship to flourish. It is difficult to impossible to find a bouquet featuring these wildflowers, so a packet of seeds will work great. Plant them in your garden to represent the shelter that your relationship has provided each of you. These blooms do best in shady areas. Gentlemen, be sure to pair her seed packet with a note explaining the significance of this flower. She will love the sentiment!

Wall Street Style Ballpoint PenSpruce Up a Spouse’s Space
The modern 7th anniversary gift is a desk set. This is a great idea for guys and gals that work in an office every day. Office gifts aren’t exactly sentimental, so add customization to make it personal. Consider an Engraved Leather Desk Caddie for keeping their desk organized and trendy all at the same time! This Wall Street Style Ballpoint Pen is classy enough to make his cubicle feel like the CEO’s top floor office suite! Choose from a wide variety of barrel grains and colors for the perfect accent to his workspace.

Make New Memories and Strengthen Old Bonds

As you round out the end of another year, be sure to break out of the usual and do something fabulous! Trying new things together can be a great way to refresh old bonds and form new ties as well. Gifts are always important, and the suggestions I’ve provided will make your anniversary extra special, but on the seventh year, it really is important to add life and spark to your relationship with new experiences. Good luck in your attempts at trying some new things; it is sure to be fun or at least inspire some stories for sharing with the kiddos! Join me next time for year 8.
Anniversary Gifts for Year 6
High five for making it to the finish line at the end of another year! Maybe your race felt like an uphill battle, or perhaps you breezed through. However it worked out, celebrations are in order! Take some time on the other side of the line to take a look back at where you’ve been; it just might seem more impressive from this side. While you’re at it, share some gifts with your honey to thank them for going the distance by your side. Here are some ideas for a first rate anniversary celebration…

Romantic Fortune CookiesSweets for Your Sweetie
The traditional 6th anniversary gifts are candy and iron. Candy is super simple. Take a look at these Romantic Hand Dipped Gourmet Fortune Cookies. Decorated with sweet candy heart sprinkles and filled with messages of love and romance, these cookies are sure to bring you good fortune on your anniversary! They taste delicious, look spectacular and mean a lot; the perfect temptation for any sweetheart with a sweet tooth! The more difficult half of this equation is the iron. Not exactly the most romantic substance! However, combine any material with wine, and the resulting romance never fails. This is why I suggest the Wine Holder Wall Sculpture from arttowngifts.com. This wine holder is not only functional, but decorative as well! You can add some serious sophistication to your home décor while granting yourself easy access to your favorite vintage at any time. Be sure to raise a toast to love!

Salute Her Magnificent Beauty with Calla Lilies
The traditional 6th anniversary flower is the Calla Lily. This elegant flower is gorgeous enough to make a stunning impression on any woman. This bloom is available in several colors, each symbolizing something a bit different. To salute her magnificent beauty, the white Calla Lily is your best bet. To honor a peaceful and serene relationship, try blue Calla Lilies. If you truly admire your partner’s sophistication and charm, give her a purple Calla Lilly. Tie a few together with a matching bow for a nice gift. Or better yet, check out these Calla Lily Earrings. The beautiful adornments are made from solid sterling silver for a shiny reflection of your feelings for her. I would suggest pairing real Calla Lilies with the earrings for a double whammy anniversary gift!

Yukon Lock Back KnifeLet's Cut to the Chase...
The modern 6th anniversary gift is wood. The 5th year traditional gift was wood, so for more ideas, read the fifth year blog post. Now for a few fresh wood ideas… Consider taking your spouse on a cruise. Remember when boats were made from wood? Modern boats may be a bit different, but hey, at least there is some kind of connection. If it gets me on a cruise, I’ll take it! Sail the high seas while rekindling your romance for a truly memorable anniversary. For a more budget friendly gift, I’ve got an idea for the ladies. This Yukon Lock Back Knife features a wooden handle, attractive silver accents, and personalization with his initials. This gift is perfect for the handy or hunter hubby! It also comes dressed up in a tin gift case for an impressive presentation. Cut to the heart of the matter with a gift that simply says, I Love You!

Whatever Floats Your Boat!
Hopefully looking back on the past year will help you to avoid some of the potholes and pitfalls of your seventh year. Get started on the right foot with a few gifts, a few laughs and lots of romance. Make it unique, whether on a budget or on a cruise! Keep in mind that memories last a lifetime, so the more unique and special, the better time you will have looking back from the final finish line. Join me next time for year 7. Bon Voyage!
Stepfamily Gifts
Families come together in all types of ways. National Stepfamily Day is a time to honor those parents and children who became family, even when they didn’t have to! This holiday is fairly new, having been founded in 1997, and the staff at arttowngifts.com are working to bring some recognition to the holiday and its heartwarming cause. Many of us have families that are diverse and sometimes unrelated, but as we all know, ancestry is not always what defines a family! If you are a member of a stepfamily, take time out this year to let your step dad, mom or child know just how much they mean. Here are a few gift ideas to get you started…

A Rose for a Very Special Lady
Personalized Silver Trimmed RoseFor all those lucky kids out there with a wonderful stepmom, nothing will make her feel as special or express more gratitude and love than a fabulous Gold Dipped Rose. Available in a multitude of color and precious metal combinations, these roses make a stunning gift that will never fade! Choose from pure gold, silver or platinum roses, or browse a large selection of colored roses each dipped in gold, silver or platinum. Pair this Silver-Trimmed Color Rose with a vase and add personalization for a keepsake that she can set out on display for years to come in remembrance of this very special occasion.

Gifts for a Sports Nut
If you have a dad who stepped in, and when given the choice, stepped up to being a father, be sure to thank him in a really big way. For the dad who loves sports, visit the Arttowngifts.com Sports Shop to browse tons of sports themed gifts. NFL, MLB and NHL Sports Shops feature tons of gifts for fans of a particular professional sports team! Is Dad not really into sports? At arttowngifts.com, find hundreds of gifts related to just about any hobby or interest for the perfect gift for any father!

Spend Time with Children on Stepfamily Day
For the stepparent wishing to honor a wonderful child, visit the Children’s Gift Shop for tons of gifts for children of any age. From toyboxes to kids name signs, find everything you will need to delight your special stepchild. For grown stepchildren, consider spending quality time celebrating the bonds that made you a family. We all enjoy a sense of belonging, and Stepfamily Day is perfect for spending time reconnecting family ties that seem to gather dust when children grow up. This year, brush them off and pay homage to the bonds of family!
Home Is Where Your Story Begins Sign
A Gift for the Whole Family
Display those bonds for all to see with this Family Name Sign. The sign will remind you and all your visitors of the special family that makes this house a home. The sign reads Home is Where Your Story Begins and features your last name and individual names to include each family member in this precious addition to your home décor. Hang it in your living room as a constant reminder of the meaning of family and the name that each of you shares.


Celebrate Your Special Connection
The special connections shared by members of a loving stepfamily should never be forgotten or left unappreciated. Celebrate the important ties that make you a family with gifts and time spent in recognition of those people that made, and continue to make you the person you are! Happy National Stepfamily Day! May this time be full of warm memories, gifts and activities shared by those lucky enough to partake in this unique holiday.
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