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It's that time of year again, time to buy your loved one an anniversary gift. You can reflect on the vows you made to each other, celebrate your love for each other, remember all the epic experiences you had, and plan for some more. Or perhaps you're celebrating the anniversary of parents, grandparents, neighbors, or friends by giving them a gift.
For a month or so before the anniversary, start thinking about what might be the perfect gift. Keep your ears peeled for hints or clues. When you think of something, write it down. After several days, you should have a nice gift list of things they might want.
Some couples have an anniversary tradition of getting all dressed up to go out for a meal. But an overpriced meal can be a disappointment, and you don’t need to stick to a routine that has become boring. Mix things up a little and have a great time.
Whichever direction you choose to go, just remember that most couples are not concerned with the particular gifts they get for their wedding anniversary. They care about friends and family being together and having a good time. Unique anniversary gift ideas are everywhere, a little creativity and fun go a long way.
Traditional Anniversary Gifts by Year
Here are the materials suggested by tradition for gifts for the first 15 anniversaries and then the big milestone anniversaries. While this list may be traditional, it is in no way a rigid requirement. Most of these ideas are not ancient, but were proposed by the American National Retail Jeweler Association in 1937. It can be fun to get creative with the list rather than following it literally. For instance, year 14 is the year of ivory. For a cute joke, buy them something nice along with a bar of Ivory soap for a funny twist.
- Year 1: Paper
- Year 2: Cotton
- Year 3: Leather
- Year 4: Fruit/Flowers
- Year 5: Wood
- Year 6: Candy/Iron
- Year 7: Wool/Copper
- Year 8: Bronze/Pottery
- Year 9: Pottery/Willow
- Year 10: Tin/Aluminum
- Year 11: Steel
- Year 12: Silk/Linen
- Year 13: Lace
- Year 14: Ivory
- Year 15: Crystal
- Year 20: China
- Year 25: Silver
- Year 30: Pearl
- Year 35: Coral
- Year 40: Ruby
- Year 45: Sapphire
- Year 50: Gold
- Year 55: Emerald
- Year 60: Diamond
Some Tricky Anniversary Years
If you do want to play the game and get a gift that's on the list, some years might be tricky.
First Anniversary: Paper
First wedding anniversary gifts are traditionally supposed to be something made of or inspired by paper. Some ideas:
- A pair of blank journals
- An art print or movie poster
- A decorative string of papel picado for their patio.
- A pretty coffee-table book, with scenery, animals, art, architecture, or whatever appeals to your couple’s interests. In used-book stores, or on Amazon, big books like these can often be had for a song.
Tenth Anniversary: Aluminum or Tin
Wow, aluminum or tin? With a stretch, depending on your couple’s preferences, you may be able to comply with this demanding requirement:
- Wind chimes
- Cookie cutters
- An ice cream scoop
- A garlic press; or a tortilla press
- A desktop picture frame
- Snack trays or platters
- Yard furniture or portable sports chairs
- Decorative yard ornaments: a sunburst or sign for the wooden fence, fake flowers
- A Christmas-tree ornament, possibly personalized
Or just wrap your gift in aluminum-foil paper!
Twenty-Fifth Anniversary: Silver
Twenty-five years, where did the time go? Kids, jobs, the rat race. That kind of commitment deserves a thoughtful present.
A 25th Anniversary is known as a Silver Anniversary. Some ideas:
- silver jewelry
- silver photo frames
- Any photographs! The black areas on a photo are made of a chemical compound of silver. An old family photo in some attractive frame or holder is surely precious silver.
- Any good gift wrapped up in silver ribbons or a silver box
Fiftieth Anniversary: Gold
The 50th wedding anniversary is a gigantic milestone in a couple's lives. By this point, they have spent a half of a century with the one they love, respect and enjoy. This milestone is represented by gold, one of the most precious metals in the universe.
- Gold or gold-plated jewelry: earrings, cuff links, lockets, and even watches
- A favorite photograph, framed in a golden or gold-leaf frame
- Or any simple gift—candy, flowers, food--that both parties will enjoy, with a gold ribbon on it!
Top 10 All-Time Anniversary Gifts
Here is a list of ten gifts that might be great for any anniversary. Flowers and candy are specific to the 4th and 6th anniversaries respectively, but are too good to pass up on other occasions.
- Edible gift basket
- Cheesecake or pie
- Event tickets
- Music or entertainment from old times
- Romantic coupon book
- Anything personalized
- Couple portrait (or caricature)
- Photo album or scrapbook
1. Gift Basket Filled With Goodies
No matter which anniversary is involved, gift baskets are a fun way to say "happy anniversary" to your spouse or that special couple in your life. They range from small, simple, and sweet, to big expensive gourmet foodie and wine-lover’s gift baskets. A couple may enjoy dividing up the tidbits between them, or sharing the basket’s contents with people who drop in.
A basket can appeal to many tastes or themes; be inspired by the general interests of the folks involved. Baskets can focus on tasty fruits, chocolate, cookies, smoked meats, cheeses, spices, sauces, dips, coffees, teas, wines, or craft beers. There are many wonderful ways to go here.
Line a basket with pretty tissue paper or greenery, fill it up at a gourmet or ethnic store, and stuff its corners with compatible snacks, and maybe utensils, like a pair of little plates or cups. Or, especially if you live far away, choose a premade basket, personalize it with a bow, card or greeting, and have it delivered to the couple’s doorstep.
2. Flowers: For Her, for Them, for Him
Romance and flowers are inseparable. The magic of flowers can put a smile on anyone’s face. Either one of them, or both, will enjoy looking at a generous bouquet of pretty things, and being reminded of the success of the relationship.
Get good candy: fresh candy made with butter, not palm oil or partially hydrogenated shortening with butylated hydroxyanisole. You don't need a lot--a little bit of good candy is way better than a lot of bad candy. Pretty candy is nice; candy that smells as well as looks good is better. Again, this gift is not just for ladies. Obviously men like candy, and a couple may like to share their goodies with people who drop in, or then again, they may not.
Ladies, we all know just how difficult it can be to find the perfect anniversary gift ideas for him! Maybe your man has everything, or has difficulty giving you a clue as to what he might lack. So skip the wallet, tie, or cuff links this year and give your husband a cheesecake. Men love cheesecakes. Pie, of course, is also a possibility.
5. Event Tickets
This gift can be from one member of a couple to the other, or from a friend or relative. Just make sure it's something they genuinely both like. If one of them honestly won't enjoy the Green Bay Packers or chamber music, find something else that they will enjoy once they are away from work, kids, and other distractions. (If there are kids--the gift giver might want to arrange childcare as part of the package.) Here are some event ideas:
- Nightclub Performances
6. Time Travel
You can't really time travel, of course, no matter how big your budget is. However, an anniversary is a great time to get nostalgic. Where was your first date? What music was in style when you first kissed? What park did you hang out in, what were you doing for fun before you two got hitched?
It can be lots of fun recreating that retro feeling. Burn a CD or load your iPod with music from the time when you were dating and listen to that on the way to go bowling, or catch a movie at a drive-in theater. Eat at your favorite roadside cafe or burger joint. Go camping at the national park you had an adventure at.
Or, if you are feeling particularly ancient, check out whether your city has a dance club for “adults” or “grown folks” or the “over 30 crowd.” If you haven’t been out dancing for ten or fifteen years, you may find that dancing—especially to live music—is more fun than you remembered, and more romantic than you expected.
7. Romantic Coupon Book
This is a gift one partner gives another. You can find examples on Amazon or on the Web, but better yet, write up and illustrate your own coupons. Make some coupons that your sweetheart can redeem during the next year, things that your partner will really like: going out for a nice dinner, a massage, breakfast in bed, or, of course, other things that might be fun to do in or near a bed.
8. Anything Personalized
So many online businesses will personalize gifts by engraving names on them. For example, you can get a couple’s name engraved on a pair of little pendants or charms, or a pair of wineglasses.
Other personally inscribed, engraved, or embroidered gift possibilities are almost endless: afghans, platters, little statues, M&Ms (really). You can order rocks or coins with loving messages.
The New York Times can sell you a gift that is not personalized, exactly, but tied to a date. Send them the date of your wedding, and they can make you an Anniversary Book that includes a facsimile front page for almost every day between then and the day you place the order. To have the book begin and end with your anniversaries, you'll to place your order after the anniversary.
9. Portrait or Caricature
You may know a great artist or photographer; if so, you can commission a photo or portrait of the couple that you know will be beautiful. Or you can take your chance on a quick caricature; even if the cartoon is not beautiful, it will be a conversation piece, even an heirloom.
10. Album or Scrapbook
If you have been together a while, you may have more wonderful photos and little paper souvenirs than you know what to do with. You can put a few of them together in a book with plastic sleeves for your partner; even if you aren't "crafty" and artistic, you can make these memories easier for you both to find.
Vote for Your Favorite
Thanks for leaving such nice comments, I really like hearing from you, and I appreciate your feedback. If you have a new gift idea, share it with us so we can share it with others.
Guestbook & Comments - I love reading your comments...
Malvika Kapoor from jaipur on October 01, 2019:
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Wish N Wed on July 15, 2019:
Thanks for sharing such valuable information. As one requires a handful of ideas to make their special day more rememberable. And here you have all those cutesy ideas. We also share such wedding-related ideas & inspirations on our site
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Rohan on March 08, 2019:
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Prashant Kumar Chaubey on March 01, 2019:
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Sourav on February 25, 2019:
thanks for the awesome posts. keep posting such awesome and informative posts.
Paul on January 15, 2018:
An anniversary sundial is a good idea, it is a clock that uses the movement of the sun to tell time. There is one that you can find online, made of beveled glass, that sits indoors on the window sill and makes rainbows in the room when the sun shines. It is handmade and can be personalized with a date line for the special day that the sun shadow will follow every year on that date, and you can even get a special mark on that line that the sun shadow will touch at the exact moment of the ceremony every year. I don't remember exactly what it is called but you can find it online with a search for rainbow sundial or anniversary sundial. They have gift certificates that you can buy and get the same day via email that will allow your wife to pick which window in the home to have it custom made for and we give them for wedding gifts especially when we have to travel to the wedding. Have a look, it is a really good idea for a special anniversary or wedding gift, especially at the last minute.
Greg on January 11, 2018:
Have you heard about buying a real star? There is a project Kingdom of Universe which allows you to buy a real part of the cosmos! Last month I bought my girlfriend a real star. She loves it a lot! She said I was so romantic :D
Peter Morgon on August 25, 2015:
Anniversary gifts... I seem to have the feeling that people waste money on material goods just because they are expensive. Diamonds are for one, the worst gift. I have always gone with a lovely bunch of flowers/roses. Have them ordered and delivered via http://flowermerchant.co.uk
Works everytime and is something special. I don't think I will change my ways anytime soon. That is my two cents worth. :D
AlexaMedia Solutions from Romania on December 13, 2014:
Major thankies for the wedding article.Really thank you! Really Great.
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badhaee on October 21, 2014:
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badhaee on October 21, 2014:
i think all ideas are very creatives,among all i like most is gifting flowers which makes lot of sense.https//www.badhaee.com
Ruby on October 10, 2014:
Great ideas and nice advice, thanks for sharing this tips with us.
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thanks for sharing this helpful article!
Entrance Mats on June 21, 2014:
Great ideas, I like #1 the most.
bigtolis on May 19, 2014:
yeah great post thnks for sharing
International daily news about jewels
rawaha on April 21, 2014:
Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on April 11, 2014:
I'd take that chocolate basket anyday.
GrammieOlivia on April 11, 2014:
Lots of really nice ideas in this post! Thanks, will have to bookmark it!
williamslaw on April 10, 2014:
Such wonderful ideas!
Seablaque on March 25, 2014:
Great post!! Another great gift idea to consider
pubpromo on March 25, 2014:
Some great ideas for printed gifts, thanks!
FunPhotos on March 18, 2014:
claudiax3 on March 04, 2014:
I would love to get any one of these great gift ideas!
joehann on February 17, 2014:
Thanks for posting, I always forget what i am sposed to give!
joehann on February 17, 2014:
Thanks for posting, I always forget what i am sposed to give!
hajar74 on January 17, 2014:
very nice ideas. Thank you for sharing
cjbmeb14 lm on April 10, 2013:
We are on our 16th anniversary this year which I believe is silver holloware and the gemstone is peridot.
WineGuru on March 06, 2013:
You've got some remarkable gift ideas here. I recently gave a wine lover a rechargeable cordless electric wine bottle opener that was very well received :)
EndsInDotCom on March 04, 2013:
The Ice Cream Bucket has me sold. What better choice for someone with the sweetest possible tooth?
Deb Bryan from Chico California on February 14, 2013:
For my Daughter and Son-In-Law's 10th Anniversary I was wondering what would be a great gift for them. I am so happy to find your anniversary Gift ideas page here! Thank you for helping me to find the best gift for them. It is such an important milestone anniversary and I'm so proud of them and happy for them. Your page of Gift Ideas is a great help and I especially enjoyed reading the year by year traditional gifts for anniversary suggestions (which has been very helpful). Thanks again!!!
anonymous on February 06, 2013:
Great List - gave me some ideas.
anonymous on January 30, 2013:
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mrdata on January 17, 2013:
Very nice lens! Thanks for sharing it with us!
Glenda Motsavage from The Sunshine State on December 24, 2012:
Just celebrated our 25th - some great ideas here! Love the "That was Then, This is Now" plaque. Thanks for sharing!
Chazz from New York on December 14, 2012:
Found this lens just in time - we've got a milestone anniversary coming up in October (2013) and you've given me some ideas to think about. Thank you.
thebestofme on December 01, 2012:
Great lens! Squidlike
anonymous on November 28, 2012:
this is a very good idea to be shared
BelleBanks on November 10, 2012:
Thanks for sharing these gift ideas. Anniversary presents for my husband always give me the hardest time.
getmoreinfo on October 11, 2012:
These Top 10 Best Anniversary Gifts are wonderful, I love the selection too.
SecondSally on October 08, 2012:
Great ideas you've got here. Thanks for sharing them.
Onemargaret LM on July 03, 2012: