Buying gifts for loved ones can be really difficult. One way to find anniversary gift ideas is to research the traditional anniversary gifts by year. There are customs for each anniversary!
Unless they clearly tell you what they want or need, it can be impossible to find something that makes your gift-receiver happy. You always want to avoid something they already have or know that they wouldn’t like.
Thankfully, when you’re buying anniversary gifts, there are a lot of guides to help you celebrate each year. There is a list of traditional anniversary gift themes based on how many years you’ve been married, pointing you in the direction of the perfect present. Keep reading to learn more about traditional anniversary gifts by year.
Traditional Gift vs. Modern Gift (vs. Gemstone vs. Color?)
When you look up each year’s gift, you may see some conflicting information. That’s because there are a few different lists and resources.
There is the traditional list, which is what this article is about, but there’s also the modern list, which was meant to be an updated counterpart to the traditional list. However, there are still plenty of things you can buy if you want to use the more traditional gift ideas.
Further, there’s even a yearly gemstone and paired color. This anniversary gift list was invented by the jewelry industry for husbands who opt to get jewelry for every anniversary.
If that’s more your thing, you can check out a full list of the traditional and modern gifts with the gemstone and color by year here.
Each Year’s Traditional Gift
As you can see above, there are all sorts of different themes for each year of your anniversary within the traditional list. There’s a year for everything from steel to candy! This way, you get your spouse something new every year, and each thing has its own symbolic meaning!
There are also traditional gifts for all of the years in between these, though they tend to be a bit more abstract. This article is focusing specifically on the major anniversaries listed below, but you can check out this list from Hallmark, which has something for every year from 1-60.
Paper is the first year’s gift! Representing the beauty and fragility of your new marriage, paper is a great opportunity to get your spouse a nice set of stationary, like above. This way, your spouse can keep in touch with everyone who came to your wedding last year.
You could also get them something like a daily planner or even a book! Click here for more first year anniversary gift ideas.
Cotton is easy and breezy, just like the last two years of your marriage. Represent that with a fresh pair of 100% cotton sheets, so you can both sleep comfortably at night knowing that your bond is as strong as the cotton threads. It’s also a great opportunity to upgrade to a higher thread count!
Leather is definitely one of the most old-fashioned traditional gift ideas. Thankfully, there are a lot of cool products still being made out of leather and faux leather.
A cool keychain like this will surely win your spouse over, and the toughness of the leather can represent the strength of your marriage. You could also try a cool jacket or a nice pair of boots, cowboy!
4-Year: Fruit or Flowers
Instead of going for literal fruit, try a nice fruit bowl like this one! It has an arm to hang bananas on and a gorgeous wood finish that will look lovely on any counter. This is a great way for the both of you to stay healthy for the next forty years.
Similarly, you could give your spouse flowers in a gorgeous modern vase, like this set of three beautiful cylindrical ones. It’s a double gift– flowers plus vase! Like the four years of your relationship, fruit and flowers are both sensually sweet.
Thankfully, wood has a ton of options! From the rustic to the modern, wood is present in so many of our daily purchases. Gorgeous shelves like these are rustic and sturdy, just like the five years of your relationship. They’re also a great place to put anniversary gifts from years past!
6-Year: Iron or Candy
A cast iron pan or pot, like this one, is a great way to celebrate iron and will last as long as your marriage, strong and reliable! Plus, there are a ton of delicious recipes that taste extra good in cast iron.
Obviously, candy is an easy one! However, instead of your standard box of chocolates, try a candy bouquet, like this one shown above. This is a fun and creative way to show just how rich and sweet your marriage is. It’s like adult Halloween!
You can get some more 6 year anniversary gift ideas here!
7-Year: Copper or Wool
Copper is a beautiful and robust metal. This lovely bar set will have you guys toasting to your 7-year bond over a delicious cocktail. Plus, it can encourage you to take up a new hobby in mixology. After 7 years of marriage, you definitely deserve a drink!
After your delicious drink, you can cozy up together underneath this lovely chunky wool blanket. Wool is warm and precious, making all of the best clothes to get you through the harshest winters, just as your marriage protects you from all of life’s hard times.
You could also do something like a sweater or gloves if you live in a cold area!
8-Year: Bronze or Pottery
These absolutely stunning bronze bookends represent both wildness and stability, indicating the necessary balance in your marriage. Though they show these incredible wild horses, they hold your books together through their strength. These will look extra amazing on those wooden shelves from year 5!
For pottery, these super cute little cups would be a great gift for the spouse who loves to entertain and have folks over for a nice drink! Pottery is an awesome gift because it’s handmade and infused with tons of love.
9-Year: Pottery or Willow
Carrying the pottery theme over the next year, you could go for this lovely owl-painted teapot for your spouse to serve tea to friends in. It is totally fun and gorgeous, just like your relationship. Owls also represent wisdom, showing what you’ve gained over these last 9 years.
This gorgeous vase combines both pottery and willow into a lovely gift! A ceramic vase with a carved willow exterior, this will be an amazing place for all the flowers you bring your lovely spouse. Some people also like to decorate with willow branches, which would be great for your 9th anniversary!
10-Year: Tin or Aluminum
Unfortunately, tin and aluminum are where the traditional gifts tend to get a bit old-fashioned. However, these super cute candles in vintage-y tin casings will surely make your spouse happy they’ve been with you for ten years!
After ten years of marriage, it’s definitely time to crack a cold one. This 100% recycled aluminum keychain bottle opener will be perfect. You can even have it engraved with the coordinates of where you met or where you got married!
After being married for as long as 11 years, your relationship is surely made of steel. Make it extra permanent by having a yard sign like this one made, with your family’s name and year you got married for everyone to see. This is a lovely addition to your family’s home after 11 years of building it.
12-Year: Silk or Linen
Lately, more and more hair and skin experts have been recommending sleeping on a silk pillowcase for clear skin and less hair frizz. Getting your spouse one of these shows that you have their best interest in mind.
For a fine linen, get some nice reusable napkins for holidays or plain regular hosting, like these monogrammed beauties. These add a lovely, unified look to your home.
Lace represents fragility, and on year unlucky 13, you may need it! However, lace can be a tough gift to buy for. Adding lace finishes to some of the lighting fixtures at home, through lampshades and doilies, borders on old-fashioned, but is also cute and decorative.
Due to the old-fashioned nature of the traditional anniversary gifts list, we come on the 14 year gift, which is ivory. Ivory is obtained through elephant poaching and is not very accessible anymore. Pay tribute to the theme with this ivory-colored elephant planter!
Crystals have had an upsurge in popularity lately, but in more traditional fashion, you might want to go for something like crystal glass instead. This lovely “crystal ball” can hold a picture of the two of you– maybe even pick something from your wedding, so your spouse can look 15 years into the past easily!
After 20 years of marriage, your relationship stays as delicately strong as a lovely set of bone china. This gorgeous coffee set will surely have you and your spouse inviting friends over for brunch every day!
Keep reading here for 20-year anniversary gift ideas.
It’s your silver anniversary! Silver is a precious metal whose shiny hue represents a mirror into the soul, like just how well you and your spouse know each other to the bone after 25 years of marriage.
Instead of the obvious silver jewelry, get your husband this gorgeous engraved silver tie pin, making him incredibly dapper on your special anniversary.
The pearl is one of the most incredible stones. Found deep underwater inside a lucky oyster, they represent the shiny sheen of your relationship that’s hidden within life’s heavy waters. Though there is a ton of gorgeous pearl jewelry out there, these earrings are unique and memorable, perfect for an anniversary.
Coral is a totally unique gift theme, but also one of the most fun ones! Found deep in the sea, like the pearl, coral is said to have mystical healing properties, just like the strength of your 35 year love. Instead of jewelry or decor made out of literal coral, try these gorgeous art prints that show coral in a coral color!
Rubies are one of the most incredible gemstones. The deep crimson that they portray is symbolic of the ongoing fiery passion that is still present in your marriage, deep red like the color of each other’s hearts. This absolutely gorgeous necklace is perfect for your 40-year love.
For 45 years, we have the sapphire, which represents royalty and the treasure of your marriage. Sapphires are an incredible dark blue with a cozy atmosphere that taps into your family’s home. This incredible bee brooch is a wonderful way to flash some incredible sapphires.
It’s your golden anniversary! This is one of the most incredible milestones for your wedding. This has truly solidified your love as long-lasting, just as pure gold, and you are truly blessed to be celebrating such an incredible feat. This incredible gold watch is perfect for your spouse as you start to get older and need to keep the time!
For more golden anniversary gift ideas, you can read here.
You’ve done it! The last item on the list of traditional anniversary gifts is diamond, the strongest stone in the world! This is the perfect gift because just as the diamond is the strongest, so is your marriage. There are plenty of gifts that you can enjoy for your diamond anniversary, but you can never go wrong with a classic pair of diamond earrings.
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