Top 10 Best Anniversary Gifts
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.
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What Is Your Favorite Anniversary Gift?
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