Before you pull out the flutes and pop the champagne, you better be sure you’ve got the perfect gift!
No pressure, though—we’re here to help out. If you’re short on anniversary gift ideas (or short on time for brainstorming), check out the lists below. We’ll begin with some traditionally themed anniversary gift ideas and then move on to “any year” ideas for couples who maybe don’t care as much for the conventional.
In the lists below, we’ve taken the traditional anniversary gift themes and thrown in some creative twists and easy personalizations. We like to call these gift ideas “just traditional enough.”
The traditional theme for a first anniversary is paper, which makes an anniversary card a slam-dunk gift in our book. We’re big fans of a thoughtful card, but we don’t blame you if you want to show a little more love than that. So why not fill your anniversary card with something extra? Here are some fun ideas:
As a bonus, all of these extra gift ideas also play up the traditional theme of paper.
By the way, if you’re wondering why on earth paper is the traditional first anniversary gift, it’s because the yearly themes are all mapped out to symbolize strength. As your love deepens, the anniversary themes move from weak materials like easily torn paper to everlasting materials like diamond.
While paper is the traditional first anniversary gift, clocks are considered the modern-day gift. (Who knew there could be a “traditional” tradition and a “modern” tradition?) In that case, a customized clock or wristwatch could be a great gift.
The theme for the fifth anniversary is wood, which not only symbolizes strength but also wisdom. After all, if you’ve survived five whole years together, then you’ve definitely learned a lot about each other and what it takes to make a marriage work!
No need to knock on wood with these anniversary gift ideas, as they’re sure to be a hit:
On the other hand, why not take the idea of wood and bring it to life—literally? Plant a tree in your own backyard and spend the next 50+ years nourishing it and watching it grow together. You can make the gift even more special by choosing a tree with meaning: maybe one that recalls cherished childhood memories or smells like your honeymoon.
The modern-day gift is silverware, so a vintage silverware set is always a good idea. Or if vintage isn’t your thing, go for a tongue-in-cheek novelty silverware set that’s themed after your significant other’s favorite geekdom like Star Wars or Rick and Morty.
Traditional gifts for 10th anniversaries are made from aluminum or tin. Aluminum is the material of choice because it symbolizes preservation and longevity.
Try some of these aluminum-themed anniversary gifts:
For a slightly looser interpretation of this theme (and one that your significant other might appreciate even more), give an electronic item that prominently features aluminum! Many laptops today have aluminum shells, and Apple is beginning to source carbon-free aluminum—a big plus if your partner is environmentally conscious.
The modern theme for the 10th anniversary is diamond jewelry. You can stick with a real diamond or, for the more socially conscious partner, choose an ethically sourced alternative like moissanite or cubic zirconia.
The traditional gift for 20 years of marriage is china tableware. China is a material that can be extremely fragile yet also stands the test of time, just like your now-mature relationship.
You could certainly find and give a beautiful china tableware set in either a vintage or modern style. But if you rarely bust out the “fancy” plates or—let’s be honest—don’t have room to store an entire tableware set in your tiny home, that’s okay, too. Try taking the china theme and employing it in different ways:
Another charming way to incorporate the china theme would be to take a ceramics class! Sculpt, craft, or paint ceramics together and you’ll get two gifts in one: a memorable day and a keepsake to cherish for years to come.
Want to go the more modern route? The modern-day gift for a 20th anniversary is platinum.
Yearly anniversary gift themes can be a fun tradition for some couples, but others find them more stuffy and antiquated than exciting and memorable. Still other couples have never even heard of themed gifts in the first place—which might make paper somewhat of a letdown for your very first anniversary.
Either way, you do you!
It’s all up to what you prefer as a couple and what you want to establish as your own yearly tradition. There’s no reason to give gold or porcelain just because “etiquette says so.” If you don’t want to stick with the traditional themes, we’ve got a few more ideas for anniversary gifts at any age and any stage of life:
Recreate your first date. Go back to where it all began by taking your significant other on a literal trip down memory lane.
Do a scavenger hunt. Head to your local park and have your partner discover their anniversary gift through clever clues you’ve set up.
Order custom art. This is a great way to incorporate a yearly theme while making it more personal, since you can get a custom painting, drawing, or sculpture on nearly any medium.
Arrange for a private retreat. Take your surfer, yogi, hiker, or rock climber on a specialized retreat to reset and recharge.
Take a trip. If it’s in the budget, go on weekend or week-long trip together. Camping is an affordable option, while cruising can be a bit more of a splurge.
Sign up for lessons. Give your special someone the gift of learning a skill they’ve always wanted to try! Flying, acting, painting, and cooking are just a few interesting courses that are often locally available.
Above all, remember that the point of an anniversary gift is to make your loved one feel special—so it should focus on them! If your partner hates surprises, don’t plan a surprise party just because the internet says it’s the best anniversary gift idea. If their idea of “BEST. DATE. EVER.” is takeout and Netflix on the couch, there’s no need to make reservations for the most high-end bistro in town.
By celebrating your significant other in a way that’s personalized to them, you’ll both end the day feeling cherished, valued, and ready for another year of love. And another. And another!