While there are traditional categories of anniversary presents associated with specific anniversaries, it is rarely followed by all but the most traditional of families. Whether a person’s anniversary present fits the traditional gift category or not is not nearly as important as the love that is shown by the gift’s selection.
If a couple is in bad need of a new microwave, it will be a welcome gift, even if they aren’t celebrating their 4th anniversary (electrical appliances). If a wife has always preferred silver over gold jewelry, a husband would be wise to not stick to a gold gift for the 14th and 50th anniversaries. A new desk set (7th anniversary) would be an awkward gift if a loved one received one recently. And leather (9th anniversary) and furs (13th anniversary) are always in poor taste when selecting gifts for a vegetarian or animal rights activist.
So long as gifts are given with the heart and with the recipient in mind, the traditional gift categories can be ignored. However, for those who have difficulty brainstorming gift ideas, the list of specific anniversaries can be a valuable guide and help prevent repeating the “same old gift” year after year.
The list of traditional gift categories for specific anniversaries is listed below. For those who like the idea of trying to find anniversary presents that match the traditional category for specific anniversaries—but worry their gifts will come off as awkward or unwelcome—we’ve also provided a list of gifts with a modern twist that match the old categories. Couples can weave tradition into their gifts in many ways. We hope these ideas get your creative juices flowing.
Traditional Gifts for Specific Anniversaries
3rd Crystal, glass
4th Electrical appliances
7th Desk sets
8th Linen, lace
10th Diamond jewelry
11th Fashion jewelry and accessories
12th Pearls or colored gems
13th Textiles, furs
14th Gold jewelry
16th Silver hollowware
25th Sterling Silver Jubilee
50th Golden Jubilee
60th Diamond Jubilee
Modern Twist: Anniversary Gifts for Specific Anniversaries 1st-15th
1st (Clocks) Calendar with photos from your first year together; “time together” set aside each week.
2nd (China) Make pottery together; retile the bathroom or a kitchen wall; and “Chinese” takeout.
3rd (Crystal, glass) A new pair of optical glasses, contacts, or sunglasses
4th (Electrical appliances) This needs no “modern” twist, but for less expensive options, try a subscription to Netflix or Tivo; a warranty extension for your current appliances.
5th (Silverware) New “silverware” for your grill (skewers, spatula, cleaning brush); for the person who enjoys potlucks or takes dishes to others’ parties—a collection of inexpensive serving dishes and serving spoons.
6th (Wood) Trees, bushes, and flowers to plant in a yard; books (paper comes from wood); furniture.
7th (Desk sets) A PDA or other all-in-one organizer.
8th (Linen, lace) Clothing; drapes; and bedsheets.
9th (Leather) Clothing; a new car—with leather interior; or a donation to the local wildlife rescue.
10th (Diamond jewelry) Diamond jewelry; tickets to a baseball game (baseball diamond); or a collection of diamond heist movies or books.
11th (Fashion jewelry and accessories) Accessories can include almost anything—eyeglasses, hair clips, earrings, writing pens, necklaces, bracelets, etc.
12th (Pearls or colored gems) An oyster dinner; chocolates decorated as gems; or new jewelry.
13th (Textiles, furs) Any clothing or cloth-related houseware item will fit in this wide category.
14th (Gold jewelry) Rent Goldfinger, Goldmember, or other gold-related movie; serve gold-foil wrapped chocolates; or buy real gold jewelry.
15th (Watches) For someone who doesn’t wear watches, try to pin down how they tell time—via PDA, computer, wall clock? That can steer you toward a more meaningful gift.