Traditional Anniversary Gift List

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What’s the most memorable wedding anniversary present you’ve received from your special someone? A pair of diamond earrings? A sentimental card or framed photo?

As it turns out, there’s actually a tradition associated with anniversary gifts. Dating back to medieval times, the 25th and 50th were “silver” and “golden” respectively – and by the 1930’s, many milestone anniversaries had gift suggestions of their own. Over the years, the tradition has been updated and modernized to it’s current form.

Here is the widely accepted list of the major anniversaries and their corresponding gifts, along with a creative idea or two for your significant other.

1st: Paper

Cards are the obvious choice, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and get creative! How about a custom journal or a set of personalized stationery? Tickets also totally count as paper, so a Broadway show or fun vacation are also game (as long as you print the itinerary, that is!).

2nd: Cotton

For your second anniversary, you could snuggle up with your spouse in matching terrycloth robes or monogrammed towels. Or how about a luxurious sheet set or some new bedding to perk up the bedroom? If you have a backyard or porch, maybe invest in a swinging chair or sturdy cloth hammock for relaxing time together spent enjoying the outdoors. 

3rd: Leather

There are tons of possibilities for your third anniversary. A leather gift can mean a briefcase or folio for the businessman/woman, the cool jacket he’s always wanted or even a pair of comfortable moccasins. Leather can be expensive, but remember that a good quality leather product can last for a lifetime – just like your marriage!

4th: Linen/Silk

Underwear is always a go-to gift idea, but have you ever considered that linen and silk are also used as canvases? Choose a beautiful painting that reminds you of the one you love – or get extra creative and make your own work of art! 

5th: Wood

This sturdy material offers tons of choices! Go big with a piece of furniture like a new bedframe or rocking chair. And if you’re not looking for something so large, consider a beautiful jewelry box, a cedar chest, a set of bookends or a decorative piece to display in your home. 

6th: Iron

While maybe not the most romantic material, there are still lots of fun possibilities for this year. We love this creative idea from Tori Spelling, who put together a collection of iron items with romantic sayings for her husband Dean McDermott. For example, an old horseshoe with a tag that reads “I got lucky when I met you,” or a fishing hook that says “I’m hooked on you.”

10th: Tin/Aluminum

Jewelry is pretty standard here, but if your significant other prefers something more rugged, take a look at an aluminum Swiss Army Knife. It’s original, unexpected, and useful! If that’s not a go, whitewashed tin products give a rustic and antique feel to a garden, ceiling, or any room in a house.

20th: China

This is the year to expand your dishware collection, so look at serving dishes, teacups, and soup tureens for an interesting alternative to plates and bowls. Alternatively, you can take the China Anniversary more literally and book a trip to Shanghai!

30th: Pearl

When shopping for pearls, remember that they come in lots of colors other than the traditional white. Look for pink, silver, rainbow, or other colored pearls for an interesting variation on the classic white. 

40th: Ruby

Ruby jewelry is beautiful, but we like to think that the concept of ruby red can be interpreted. A dozen red roses and a special red wine (perhaps from the year you were married) makes a great “ruby” gift.

50th: Golden

The fiftieth year of marriage marks the “golden anniversary,” and we think that warrants celebration. This is a time for gold jewelry (possibly along with renewed vows?), but don’t discount a trip to the city of “Gold Coast,” Australia or to Florida’s gold coast cities like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Gold is extravagant, so make this anniversary really count – after more than five decades together, you certainly have something to celebrate!

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