When my husband and I were approaching our first anniversary, we made a deal that we would choose gifts that align with the traditional anniversary gifts, year by year. I don’t know why, exactly, but something about giving gifts that have been given for hundreds of years appealed to us, I guess. To review, here are the traditional wedding anniversary gifts:
Anniversary Gifts By Year:
1ST YEAR: Paper
2ND YEAR: Cotton
3RD YEAR: Leather
4TH YEAR: Fruit & Flowers, or Linen & Silk
5TH YEAR: Wood
6TH YEAR: Iron / Candy
7TH YEAR: Wool/ Copper
9TH YEAR: Pottery
10TH YEAR: Tin/ Aluminum
11TH YEAR: Steel
12TH YEAR: Silk
13TH YEAR: Lace
14TH YEAR: Ivory
15TH YEAR: Crystal
20TH YEAR: China
25TH YEAR: Silver
30TH YEAR: Pearl
35TH YEAR: Coral
40TH YEAR: Ruby
45TH YEAR: Sapphire
50TH YEAR: Gold
55TH YEAR: Emerald
60TH YEAR: Diamond
Since we’re approaching anniversary number nine (how is that?), I thought it would be super fun to round up a bunch of my favorite ideas for each year of the first ten years of marriage, to put a modern spin on the traditional anniversary gifts, year by year:
Traditional Anniversary Gifts YEAR ONE: PAPER
1. Chronicle the next three years of your life together with this Q&A A Day Journal ($17)
2. Going places? Track the places you’ve traveled with this Scratch Map ($28.95).
3. For those of us who are still learning to cook The Newlywed Cookbook ($34.99). Or if you’ve got the cooking thing on lock, fancy hardcover versions of your favorite books anyone? Or maybe fancy cocktails?
4. For this anniversary gift, wear your art in the form of recycled paper jewelry ($18–$20).
5. Still haven’t printed any wedding photos? These giant photostrips are a cool (and cheap) alternative to albums or frames (2 for $20).
YEAR TWO: COTTON
6. Nothing says, “We made it to year two!” like rolling around in paint naked and then hanging the resulting artwork it in your living room. Love Is Art Kit ($36–$60).
7. Because you’re those people and you’re not ashamed (and you shouldn’t be), Dog Blueprint Pillows ($95).
9. Know what your (read: every) marriage needs? A hammock ($100 – $200).
10. For when you want to get away together, and you need a reminder, there’s this escape canvas bag ($99). Adventures await.
YEAR THREE: LEATHER
11. You don’t have to get literal with things. Make your house (or body) smell like leather with an Italian leather scent collection ($35–$199).
12. Nothing says “congratulations on being adults together” like a wallet with space for everything. Bonus: a passport holder for that vacation you’re totally going on next month ($199).
13. Make extra room for guests with Moroccan leather poufs—in gold, obviously ($350).
14. Velcro is back. Keep your partner ahead of the curve with Velcroos leather sneakers ($365).
15. What’s a home brew hobby if you can’t remember which recipes were awesome and which ones exploded in your fridge? Home brew journal ($28).
YEAR FOUR: FRUIT/FLOWERS
16. It’s totally cool to go with the obvious. Farmgirl Flowers is a staff favorite, because the arrangements are huge (and cheap for their size), plus the flowers are locally sourced ($38 and up, depending on where you live).
17. Guess what used to be a fruit? Wine. If you and your partner aren’t regular connoisseurs, you basically can’t swing a dead cat on the Internet without hitting at least four new monthly wine clubs. For a list of recommendations, check out this Forbes article. Club W membership ($39 and up).
18. Did you need another reason to consider these pressed floral phone cases for you and everyone you love? ($30 and up)
19. Ok, so you’re not tattooing each other’s names on your butts. But you can pretend with these floral temporary tattoos (Tattly, $6).
YEAR FIVE: WOOD
21. Glass is so passé. Wooden wine glasses ($122).
22. Functional art that keeps your ride in one place? Yes and yes ($430).
23. Wooden beer caddy with bottle opener. To go with your home brew journal, duh ($45).
24. Replay your wedding song in style on this Gramovox Bluetooth gramophone (MOMA, $400).
25. Chart your shared interests with this wooden whiskey infographic (Uncommon Goods, $185).
YEAR SIX: IRON/CANDY
26. For anniversary breakfasts with a side of home state pride—Iron State Skillet ($125).
28. There’s actually a candle scent for pretty much every material on this list. Just in case… your partner really likes candles. Apocalyptic Candle—with notes of fire irons. Don’t ask me how that’s a smell ($80).
29. Say thanks for all the memories with custom artisanal hard candy ($6.50, small bag).
30. Workman’s lantern. A light in the storm. And because they’re kind of awesome ($58).
YEAR SEVEN: WOOL/COPPER
31. Complete your bar set (and then pour yourself a celebratory drink) with a Moscow Mule copper mug, or four ($19.95–$79.95).
32. Give the anniversary gift of a project that you can wear when you’re done, with an infinity scarf kit, complete with yarn and oversized needles ($118).
33. Copper sailor’s mirrors, for straight up pretty ($58–$188).
34. Because your partner is Indiana Jones, a wool fedora ($69).
35. Merino wool roving chunky blanket. Because one of you is always cold. Always. ($88–$400)
YEAR EIGHT: BRONZE
36. Not all cuff links have to be stuffy. And not all traditional anniversary gifts need to be eaither. Some can channel your love of ’90s transportation: Bronze Skateboard Cuff Links ($65).
37. Design and wear your own belt buckle with this kit ($110).
38. Make it personal with a custom engraved bronze pocket watch ($60).
39. A fire pit is the gift that keeps on giving. Hello backyard summers ($129).
40. Eight years deserves a celebratory trip, no? How about Tickets to Paris to see The Thinker in person at the Musée Rodin? (Various Airlines, Admission $10)
YEAR NINE: POTTERY
41. It’s a bag? It’s a vase. It’s both ($120).
42. For the partners who appreciate historical accuracy, there’s this fourteenth century beer stein ($34).
43. Complete the cocktail-themed gifts coming with mosaic coasters ($36).
44. To go with your skateboard cufflinks, duh: Porcelain Skateboard Serving Tray ($195).
45. For your ’90s inspired kitchen: Geometric Ceramic Wall Planter ($125).
YEAR TEN: TIN/ALUMINUM
46. For the casual enthusiast: Chai Tea Kit ($35).
47. Just because you’re grown ups celebrating ten years of marriage, doesn’t mean you can’t still take your lunch to work in a tin pail ($19.95).
48. BBQ briefcase. For getting work done ($83.50).
49. Was it one of your relationship goals to turn your living room into the Hogwarts Great Hall? Mission accomplished: Polished Antler Candlesticks ($80).
50. Because this really says it all ($60).