Traditional Anniversary Gifts Ideas Guaranteed To Delight

A modern take on an old tradition

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:

Traditional Anniversary Gift IdeasAnniversary 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

Q&Aa day journal for couples

1. Chronicle the next three years of your life together with this Q&A A Day Journal ($17)

scratch map

2. Going places? Track the places you’ve traveled with this Scratch Map ($28.95).

newlywed cookbook

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?

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paper necklace and earrings

4. For this anniversary gift, wear your art in the form of recycled paper jewelry ($18–$20).

man standing next to giant photo strips

5. Still haven’t printed any wedding photos? These giant photostrips are a cool (and cheap) alternative to albums or frames (2 for $20).

Pink Line

YEAR TWO: COTTON

love is art it hanging on the wall above a white couch

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).

dog blueprint pillows on a white bed

7. Because you’re those people and you’re not ashamed (and you shouldn’t be), Dog Blueprint Pillows ($95).

scarf with faces of famous brooklyn residents

8. Represent your stomping ground with this Brooklyn scarf. And for the non-New Yorkers: Pizza Scarf. Because pizza is a love language ($20).

colorful hammock hanging on a porch

9. Know what your (read: every) marriage needs? A hammock ($100 – $200).

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canvas bag with the word escape on it

10. For when you want to get away together, and you need a reminder, there’s this escape canvas bag ($99). Adventures await.

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YEAR THREE: LEATHER

italian leather scented candle

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).

leather travel wallet with passport pocket

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).

stack of leather ottomans

13. Make extra room for guests with Moroccan leather poufs—in gold, obviously ($350).

black velcro high top sneakers

14. Velcro is back. Keep your partner ahead of the curve with Velcroos leather sneakers ($365).

homebrew journal with beer

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).

Pink Line

YEAR FOUR: FRUIT/FLOWERS

hand holding a bouquet of farmgirl 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).

wine club membership from clubw

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).

acrylic pressed flower phone cases

18. Did you need another reason to consider these pressed floral phone cases for you and everyone you love? ($30 and up)

tattly floral tattoos

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).

floral print sweatshirt from printalloverme.com

20.  Now you can actually do something with those wedding photos: your partner can wear your wedding bouquet as a sweater. Custom printed sweater ($85, photo by Lisa Diederich).

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YEAR FIVE: WOOD

wooden wine goblets

21. Glass is so passé. Wooden wine glasses ($122).

wooden bike rack

22. Functional art that keeps your ride in one place? Yes and yes ($430).

wooden six pack beer caddy

23. Wooden beer caddy with bottle opener. To go with your home brew journal, duh ($45).

bluetooth gramaphone

24. Replay your wedding song in style on this Gramovox Bluetooth gramophone (MOMA, $400).

wooden whisky chart

25. Chart your shared interests with this wooden whiskey infographic (Uncommon Goods, $185).

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YEAR SIX: IRON/CANDY

state outline cast iron skillets

26. For anniversary breakfasts with a side of home state pride—Iron State Skillet ($125).

iron and wood shelf

27. It’s totally legit to use that anniversary gifts thing as an excuse to buy that thing you both have been eyeballing—this iron bookshelf, (or the smaller version,) for example. ($999-1,499).

apocalyptic candle

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).

custom artisinal candies

29. Say thanks for all the memories with custom artisanal hard candy ($6.50, small bag).

metal lanterns with candles inside

30. Workman’s lantern. A light in the storm. And because they’re kind of awesome ($58).

Pink Line

YEAR SEVEN: WOOL/COPPER

moscow mule cup

31. Complete your bar set (and then pour yourself a celebratory drink) with a Moscow Mule copper mug, or four ($19.95–$79.95).

extra large knitting needles with chunky yarn

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).

sailors mirrors hangingon a wall

33. Copper sailor’s mirrors, for straight up pretty ($58–$188).

indiana jones hat

34. Because your partner is Indiana Jones, a wool fedora ($69).

giant oversized wool blanket

35. Merino wool roving chunky blanket. Because one of you is always cold. Always. ($88–$400)

YEAR EIGHT: BRONZE

skateboard cufflinks

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).

DIY belt buckle kit

37. Design and wear your own belt buckle with this kit ($110).

steam punk pocket watch

38. Make it personal with a custom engraved bronze pocket watch ($60).

fire pit

39. A fire pit is the gift that keeps on giving. Hello backyard summers ($129).

the thinker reproduction

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)

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YEAR NINE: POTTERY

ceramic paper bag vase

41. It’s a bag? It’s a vase. It’s both ($120).

antique-inspired beer stein

42. For the partners who appreciate historical accuracy, there’s this fourteenth century beer stein ($34).

mosaic coasters

43. Complete the cocktail-themed gifts coming with mosaic coasters ($36).

skateboard sushi plate

44. To go with your skateboard cufflinks, duh: Porcelain Skateboard Serving Tray ($195).

geometric wall planter

45. For your ’90s inspired kitchen: Geometric Ceramic Wall Planter ($125).

Pink Line

YEAR TEN: TIN/ALUMINUM

chai tea kit in a tin

46. For the casual enthusiast: Chai Tea Kit ($35).

plaid tin lunch box with thermos

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).

bbq briefcase

48. BBQ briefcase. For getting work done ($83.50).

polished antler candlesticks

49. Was it one of your relationship goals to turn your living room into the Hogwarts Great Hall? Mission accomplished: Polished Antler Candlesticks ($80).

custom engraved flask from in god we trust

50. Because this really says it all ($60).

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