Guide to Anniversary Gifts By Year
Emily Post gets much of the credit for inventing the list of anniversary gifts by year in 1922, but the tradition of giving themed gifts for significant marriage milestones has actually been around, in some form or another, since the Middle Ages. Then, it was not uncommon for a husband to gift his wife a silver wreath crown on their 25th anniversary, or a gold crown if they made it to their 50th anniversary (which, given life expectancy in those days, was highly unlikely).
Below, we picked out some of our favorite anniversary gifts by year. You'll note we followed Post's example of listing gifts for every year of the first 10 years, then every 5 years from then on. While more comprehensive gift lists do exist, the gift themes for those missing years have a tendency to be ... well, a little wacky. (Sculptures for year 27? Come on!) And to give you more options, we made sure to include a modern and traditional gifts for each year.
Traditional Gift: Paper
First-year anniversary gifts tend to be pretty low key, but that doesn't mean you can't find something special for your SO. Customized stationary is a personal choice that is both thoughtful and practical (especially if you still haven't sent out those wedding-gift thank yous).
Modern Gift: Clocks
Sure ... an alarm clock could make a thoughtful gift. Just kidding, it wouldn't. Opt for this personalized wood clock instead, which comes carved with your names and a special date.
Traditional Gift: Cotton
It's year two of your marriage, and chances are you're still in a blissful honeymoon phase. A T-shirt is a great way to announce it to the world.
Modern Gift: China
If you didn't register for nice china settings for your actual wedding, an anniversary is a good excuse to upgrade your everyday dinnerware, or just keep a nice set around for when company comes.
Traditional Gift: Leather
Proof that quality leather gifts don't have to break the bank: these adorable custom luggage tags. Looking for a gift with a bigger price tag? Book an awesome getaway as an excuse to take your new tags (and maybe some new luggage) for a spin.
Modern Gift: Crystal
Plan a romantic dinner in and make this dazzling crystal ice bucket the centerpiece of your table, filled with ice and a bottle of your favorite bubbly. (Perhaps Cristal to keep things within the theme?)
Traditional Gift: Fruit/Flowers
Fruit or flowers? A fruit bouquet from Edible Arrangements checks both boxes. (And you don't even need a vase.)
Modern Gift: Appliances
If your spouse's tastes are more practical, splurge on a new kitchen gadget, such as this Kitchenaid 5-quart stand mixer.
Traditional Gift: Wood
Wood may not be the most inspiring theme for a 5 year anniversary gift, but it does make a unique, rustic canvas for one of your favorite wedding photos.
Modern Gift: Silverware
If you upgraded your china on year 2, year 5 is the perfect time to upgrade your flatware, too. The pieces in this set are trimmed in gold, making them perfect for a special occasion (an anniversary dinner, perhaps?).
Traditional Gift: Iron
Your marriage is a lot like this dutch oven: beautiful on the surface, but with a foundation that's tough and built to last.
Modern Gift: Wood
Wood? Again? Luckily, wood accessories are totally on trend, and this watch face feels even more special thanks to custom engraving and a genuine-leather strap.
Traditional Gift: Copper
If it was up to us, we'd vote to make the 7th year of marriage the Moscow Mule year.
Modern Gift: Desk Sets
"Desk sets? Really?" That was our reaction when we learned about this modern year-7 gift. Anyway, if you go this route, we suggest you skip cheap plastic and invest in a nice leather set that will last for years to come.
Traditional Gift: Bronze
Bronze is another one of those tough-to-shop-for anniversary themes (unless your spouse really, really, really likes birdbaths, that is). We think this wind chime is a lovely idea though, since he or she will think of you whenever they hear it ring.
Modern Gift: Linen
We chose to interpret "linen" as "linens" in order to include this Egyptian-cotton sheet set. Once you feel what 1,000-thread-count sheets feel like against your skin, we think you'll understand why.
Traditional Gift: Pottery
Sometimes, the best gift is time to spend together. And we can think of no better activity on a 9th wedding anniversary than a paint-your-own pottery class. Bonus: they're often BYOB.
Modern Gift: Leather
Custom leather luggage tags may have made the grade in year 3, but you're about to hit a decade of marriage. Up your gifting game with this Prada leather handbag and get ready to own the title of "Best Hubby Ever" (at least till next year).
Traditional Gift: Tin/Aluminum
Tin feels a little ... unremarkable for a 10 year anniversary gift, but a photo of the two of you printed on metal (You can hang it next to the wood one!) delivers the "awww" factor.
Modern Gift: Diamond Jewelry
Now THIS is a gift befitting of a 10-year anniversary.
Traditional Gift: Crystal
Modern Gift: Watches
Crystal or watches? Why choose? Opt for these matching his and hers Bulova watches instead, which come adorned with dazzling crystal details.
Traditional Gift: China
Plates and cups are nice and all, but we're in favor of taking a little creative license with this year's theme and booking a whirlwind trip to China instead.
Modern Gift: Platinum
A 20-year anniversary calls for a special gift that reaffirms your commitment to one another, and this upgraded wedding band fits the bill nicely.
Traditional & Modern Gift: Silver
With a lot of jewelry-centric anniversaries in your future, why not save the necklaces and earrings for the gemstone years and instead gift each other matching sets of chic, monogrammed, sterling silver cufflinks.
Traditional Gift: Pearl
A single strand of pearls is timeless, but also cliché. Opt for this 7-strand bracelet instead, which closes with a polished sterling silver clasp.
Modern Gift: Diamond
If your 30th anniversary celebration calls for something slightly more extravagant, a pair of princess-cut diamond earrings is guaranteed to wow.
Traditional Gift: Coral
Coral is another one of the most unusual anniversary-gift categories, and while we like the color, we think seeing the real stuff up close is even better. This all-inclusive vacation in Cozumel, Mexico includes an opportunity to snorkel around the Paradise and Las Palmas reefs.
Modern Gift: Jade
If jewelry is more your style, this jade and 14K gold pendant is a showy gift from the heart.
Traditional & Modern Gift: Ruby
These ruby and sterling silver earrings are a steal, so you can still splurge on an expensive dinner or a night at the opera, giving your spouse the perfect opportunity to wear them out.
Traditional & Modern Gift: Sapphire
The sapphire stone in this white-gold necklace is stunning all on its own, but the jewelers threw in a border of round-cut diamonds just in case you thought the look was too understated.
Traditional & Modern Gift: Gold
By now, you and your spouse have accumulated quite the collection of anniversary jewelry. If you feel like continuing the tradition on your golden anniversary, fine. But if you're looking for something a little more non-traditional, this pen features 23K gold plating and will come in handy when it's time to pen thank yous to all who attended your big anniversary bash. (You're having one, right?)
Traditional & Modern Gift: Emerald
Emerald jewelry is a safe choice for this anniversary, but if you and your spouse are feeling the itch to travel, might we suggest a vacation to the Emerald Isle instead?
Traditional & Modern Gift: Diamond
Let's not beat around the bush: if you made it 60 years together, someone deserves an upgrade on their ring. They've earned it.
The Guide: we cover the coolest food, beauty, and entertainment trends happening nationwide.