Written by Susan Fritz | Friday, October 23rd, 2020 Posted in Blog , , ,

What is the 16-year anniversary gift? The traditional 16th anniversary theme is wax (hello, luxe candles), and the modern gift is silver holloware. ” -TheKnot.com

I learned a new word today: holloware. This compound word sounds (homophone-style) like it could be many things—an empty suit, some existentially empty awareness, a creature related to Halloween…when one is Word Curious, the imagination runs wild.

Thanks to TheKnot.com, we don’t have to guess. This gift-suggestion-filled site reassures us readers not to be afraid. It’s only a word, after all.

“Don’t let the word “holloware” scare you (ok, I won’t). It just refers to metal—in this case, silver—tableware or servingware that isn’t flatware.”


Contrarian that I am, however, my mind instead conjures up an image of that super ‘lite’, usually round, hollow silverware—the variety designed for hipster types who want to buck the system of “normal” silverware. I can’t imagine how rebellious one could actually feel after such an act, but hey—although I have hips (*see also: COVID-problems), I’m neither hip nor a hipster (discuss…).

But don’t forget about the wax option…

My mind travels back to the many times I knocked over a less-than-luxe candle, spilling the wax on a couch, coffee table, or other “not made for candle wax” surfaces. The romance of spilling and then scraping wax off of surfaces is certainly not every couple’s dream way of spending their 16th year of marital bliss. But also…

Why am I still looking up anniversary gifts 12 years after my last anniversary?

Because he died but traditions die harder.

Researching traditions and imagining what type of gift—luxe or hollow—I would have chosen, offers comfort to me. Each year, I write a post about our would-be anniversary—to honor us, remember us—but also to remind other couples that an anniversary isn’t a nuisance to be dreaded (which gimmick will I get her this year?), but rather a privilege to be honored (what would make her feel more special today that that day 16 years ago…).

I suppose this could sound sanctimonious—for me to suggest that I, whose imagined 16 years are not the same as actual 16 years, would embrace these suggested gifts with enthusiasm; would wake up early to place the candle at his feet and the fill the holloware with all my love; would mark the passage of years with continuous gratitude…But I also hope I would have. It’s a hope in the midst of my fictional tradition.

To imagine which bowl or cup or candle I would have picked out for him.

To hope the feeling behind it would have been joy and not a chore.

And then–

To scrape the candle wax off of the table, floor, counter…

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