How to Pick the Best Anniversary Gift
Anniversary gifts help you and your partner to remember how long you've been together, to commemorate the many years (or months) after your wedding. Some anniversary gifts are meant to celebrate the love you’ve found while other gifts help to remind the person how much they mean to you. Anniversary gifts shouldn’t be the same type of gift that you would get your partner on their birthday or for Christmas, especially on anniversary markers. While you might get your partner a pair of socks for their birthday, anniversary gifts should show that there’s thought behind the gift. This doesn’t mean that the gifts need to be expensive. In fact, some of the best anniversary gifts won’t make a dent in your budget.
Depending on how long you’ve been together with your partner, the gifts you should give are different. Some couples give gifts based on the year-by-year tradition of anniversary gifts. For example, for the first year of marriage (if traditional), the couple will give each other something made of paper. This paper gift could be a heartfelt letter, a book, or a photo. This gift's simplicity is meant to represent simple beginnings, showing that even though you started with very little, the relationship is meant to grow. The second year's gift is something made of cotton. A cotton gift could be a new bedspread, pajamas, or an embroidered towel.
Some couples might choose not to give traditional gifts and instead focus on what feels right. Instead of giving a paper letter for the first year, the couple could buy tickets to their favorite Broadway show or tickets to their favorite sports team. There’s no “right” gift for every couple, meaning that a perfect gift for you might not be the best present for a different couple.
The special thing about anniversary gifts is that they’re meant to be special. They are a personal gift that shows your love for each other, no matter how long or short you’ve been together. Some couples think of anniversary gifts as a renewal of their vows, while others don’t think much of anniversary gifts at all.
Picking the best anniversary gift for your partner is more about knowing what your partner loves. You should never get something that your partner dislikes, and you should pay close attention to the things that he or she likes and dislikes. The most important part of an anniversary gift is that it makes your partner happy. As long as it makes them happy, it’s the perfect gift.
This article is a guide to helping you find the best gift for your partner. Because everyone has different likes and dislikes, this article will walk you through various options and ideas, helping you find down the best gift for your man.
Best Anniversary Gifts For Each Year
Traditional couples will stick to the year-by-year gift plan. This means that the first year will be a paper product, the second year will be cotton, and so on. Although this might not work for every couple, many couples love sticking to the traditional anniversary gifts because it makes them feel closer to their ancestors or because they love following traditions. This section will walk you through a year-by-year guide of what to get your loved one, starting with your first-anniversary present.
Anniversary Presents for Year One
Many people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. According to relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, the first year of marriage is likely to be the most difficult and the most important. Before your wedding, the couple is excited, planning out what feels like the rest of their lives. The wedding becomes the focal point of their relationship. After the wedding, the couple descends from a climax and begins looking for something new to spark romantic dates, new butterflies, and exciting adventures. The truth is that life isn’t always exciting. New couples have to learn to work out their differences. Couples who enter their marriage with unrealistic expectations may find that the first year is too difficult.
This is why the first year anniversary present is simple paper. Paper is simple, small, and easy. There’s nothing necessarily exciting about paper, which is why paper is the first-anniversary gift. Here are easy first-year paper ideas:
- Written Vows. Handwrite your vows on fancy calligraphy paper and then frame them. This is a simple, easy reminder of the vows you made on your wedding day.
- Tickets. If you value experience more than objects, buy a ticket for your loved one. The ticket might be for a getaway trip, to a concert, or to a favorite movie.
- Picture Book. To celebrate your first year together, create a book that details everything you’ve done together so far.
- Canvas. Although it’s cheating a little bit (because canvas isn’t paper), you can get your spouse a canvas print of your favorite wedding picture and hang it in your home.
Your first year may be rocky, so use this anniversary gift as a way to remind each other of the passionate love that started the relationship. Remember that marriage will get better with age.
Anniversary Presents for Year Two
Cotton is a versatile material, representing both comfort and strength. Cotton can be made into clothing, blankets, bedding, rugs, towels, throws, and tapestries. Because cotton is versatile, it’s the perfect way to represent your second year of marriage. Additionally, cotton is woven together with millions of threads to create something beautiful. Your relationship is made up of thousands of words, promises, and activities that create something worth keeping. Some perfect cotton gifts for your second anniversary are:
- Embroidered Blankets. Blankets are perfect for cuddling. They show that you welcome physical touch in your relationship.
- Pillows. Embroider pillows with meaningful phrases from your relationship can help you and your husband remember the important things that keep the relationship thriving.
- Clothing. Matching pajamas, matching shirts, or simply something that your husband has always wanted can be a great way to show appreciation.
- Significant Tapestry. Find a tapestry with a meaningful image that can be hung in a room of the house. For a unique idea, have your wedding song embroidered on the tapestry to tell your love story.
Year two is easy compared to the first year. Year two presents should focus on snuggling, warmth, and comfort. These cotton gifts should bring comfort to the relationship, reminding each other of the comfort of your marriage.
Anniversary Presents for Year Three
The third year of marriage is represented by leather (or pleather for those who don’t want leather in the home). Leather symbolizes durability and longevity, showing that your relationship will last forever. Your relationship isn’t easily broken down by daily wear and tear. Instead, your relationship braves the daily storms. Some of the best leather ideas for the third year of marriage are:
- Leather Shoes. To show how much you appreciate his work ethic, give him leather shoes. Shoes often symbolize hard work and maturity.
- Wallet. To remind him of you every time he’s at the store, buy a leather wallet etched with your names and wedding date.
- Journal. For men who like to sketch and write, buy a leatherbound journal.
- Photo Print. You can never go wrong with a photo. Buy a photo print on leather and set up the picture in your home.
Leather is durable, like your marriage. It shows that your marriage was built to last, no matter what the world might throw your way.
Anniversary Presents for Year Four
Linen is the traditional fourth year gift item for anniversaries. Linen is an elegant fabric that can be worn to a nice dinner party or to a casual night by the bonfire. It’s purposeful and beautiful. Linen gifts are usually clothing but can include a wide variety of items. Here are four linen ideas for your husband:
- Linen Sheets. Most couples get new bedding for their wedding, but that was four years ago. Get your husband new linen sheets as a wedding gift. Linen sheets are a classic gift.
- Wedding Album. Put together a linen wedding album with all your favorite wedding pictures for your fourth anniversary.
- Pajama Shirt. A linen pajama shirt coupled with a movie and hot chocolate is the perfect way to show your love.
- Gratitude Journal. A year before your anniversary, buy a linen journal. Every day, write down something that you love about your husband and give the journal to him on your next anniversary.
Linen gifts are often subtle, with unique features that allow you to show off your relationship's personality. Anniversary gifts can be plain, as long as they’re given with love.
Anniversary Presents for Year Five
Wood is hardy and durable. Wooden objects are carved, crafted, sanded, and painted until they’re the perfect shape and color. Wood is a tough medium to work with, but the results are beautiful. Now that you’ve been married for half a decade, you know what it means to work a relationship into shape. Best of all, you’ve been the statistics. Most divorces happen in the first five years of marriage, meaning that your marriage is meant to last the rest of your lives. Here are five wooden gifts for your man:
- Bookshelf. If your man is a reader, getting a classy wooden bookshelf is a great option.
- Wooden Frame. With your wooden frame, frame a new picture that you’ve taken together in the last five years.
- Wooden-Handled Knife. If your husband loves to cook, get him a new wooden kitchen set.
- Wooden Watch. A wooden watch is a unique gift that acts as the perfect statement piece. A wooden watch is the perfect modern gift.
Wood means that your relationship is going to last. Although it took hard work to get to where you are, there’s no going back. You can’t simply unravel something made from wood.
Anniversary Presents for Year Six
For your sixth anniversary, the wedding anniversary gift should be something made of iron. Iron is incredibly strong and unyielding. It’s difficult to bend iron out of its shape, which is why iron is perfect for your sixth year of marriage. After six years, your marriage is strong and unbreakable. Some perfect gifts to show the strength of your love are:
- Cast Iron Grill. For those who love grilling, a portable cast iron grill is perfect.
- Iron Dumbbells. With recent events, more and more people are working out from home. Make the transition easier by getting him iron dumbbells.
- Bicycle. Start a new hobby together by getting two bicycles.
- Engraved Pendant. Get him an engraved pendant with your wedding date.
Although iron doesn’t seem to be the most exciting gift at first, there are thousands of iron gifts that would be perfect for your husband. Iron shows the strength of your relationship and ensures that your husband knows that your love is lasting.
Anniversary Presents for Year Seven
Wool symbolizes purity and luck in Roman culture. Roman brides used to wear wool wedding dresses because wool was meant to bring good luck and repel evil spirits. By your seventh year of marriage, you’re likely well aware of the personal “demons” that your spouse carries. You’ll have learned to work through each other’s issues and built a relationship of trust. Wool represents the hard work that you and your husband have put into the relationship to work past each other’s demons. Some wool gifts perfect for your spouse are:
- Blankets. You can never have enough blankets.
- Area Rug. To warm your feet next to your bed, get a wool area rug.
- Winter Slippers. If you live in a cold area, get your partner wool slippers to keep his feet warm as he walks around the house.
- Wool Art. Wool art is beautiful. Buy wool art to show your spouse how much he means to you.
Bring warmth into your relationship with warm, cozy wool presents.
Anniversary Presents for Year Eight
For your eighth anniversary, your gifts should be pottery themed. Pottery is formed from clay and then fired in temperatures ranging from 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and 2,4000 degrees Fahrenheit. After intense heat, the clay transforms into something beautiful. After eight years of marriage, your love is something beautiful. Here are four great pottery ideas for your eighth year of marriage:
- Matching Mugs. Every couple needs a set of matching His and Her mugs. Enjoy this anniversary with mugs for hot chocolate and cuddles.
- Shaving Bowl. If your husband uses traditional shaving tools, a shaving bowl might make his life easier.
- Cookie Jar. For couples who love sweets, get a ceramic cookie jar and fill it with your husband's favorite treats.
- Beer Stein. For a classy night with adult beverages, get your husband a clay beer stein.
Clay shows that you both are hardworking and dedicated in your relationship, even when the relationship is put to the test.
Anniversary Presents for Year Nine
Willow gifts are the traditional anniversary present for couples celebrating the ninth year of marriage. Willow is strong, durable, and beautiful, perfectly describing your marriage so far. Some of the best willow gifts for men are:
- A Willow Tree. Plant a willow tree in your backyard or get a bonsai willow tree as a decoration for your home.
- Willow Pen. Get a personalized willow pen, perfect for husbands with office jobs.
- Willow Tree Art. Willow trees are one of the most beautiful trees. Buy an art piece of a willow tree for your home to give the home a softer vibe.
- Willow Pendant. Personalize a pendant made from a willow tree's wood and write a sweet message in the wood.
Just like how willow trees bend easily to the wind without breaking, so will your marriage endure any winds that life throws your way. Work together on being adaptable and flexible in your trials and grow together as a couple.
Anniversary Presents for Year Ten
Congratulations on being married for a decade! Your tenth anniversary is a huge deal, and you should treat it like one. In addition to gifts, take a few days and dedicate them to just you and your husband. You most likely have some children, a home, and maybe a few pets after ten years. Ask a relative to watch the kids and the house for a few days and take a romantic trip to a place you both love, whether it’s to Hawaii, Disneyland, or Greece. While traveling, exchange your tenth-anniversary gifts based on the theme of aluminum. Here are some great aluminum gifts for him:
- Wallet Card. Give him something that he will always keep with him. Engrave a loving note on a wallet card.
- Personalized Collar Stays. Collar stays are a great gift for men who wear suits often. Engrave a personalized message so that your husband always has a secret message from you.
- New Car. Many modern cars are made from aluminum. Treat your husband and buy him a new car.
- Ring. For your tenth anniversary, get your husband a new wedding ring.
- 9-square Castlesquares. Great game for you and your family. It is durable, portable and lightweight so you can play it anywhere you go.
Your tenth anniversary is not an idle celebration. Celebrating your tenth year means that you’ve been married for a decade. This decade has likely been a roller coaster of laughing and crying together.
Anniversary Presents for Year Eleven
Celebrate your eleventh year with the gift of steel. Steel is one of the most durable metals on the planet, which is why it makes the perfect gift for your eleventh anniversary. Some of the best gifts for your husband include:
- Watch. If you want an extravagant gift, look into steel watches.
- Keychain. Simple gifts can be the most thoughtful. A small, personalized keychain could be the perfect gift for your husband.
- Steel Pen. Everyone appreciates fancy pens. For this anniversary, get him an engraved pen.
- Ice Cream Scoop. Anniversary gifts don’t have to be serious. In fact, get him an ice cream scoop and a tub of his favorite ice cream. Ice cream scoops are a unique anniversary gift.
Although steel might not be the most romantic material, it conveys a sense of strength, showing your partner your trust in the relationship.
Anniversary Presents for Year Twelve
In your twelfth year of marriage, you know each other, and you’re familiar with each other’s quirks. You know that you’ll get on each other’s nerves, but you don’t let it bother you. By now, you’ve built a home and a life together, which is why the twelfth year’s theme is home decor. Here are the best home decor ideas for him:
- New Appliances. You can never go wrong by getting new appliances. Because appliances are often larger purchases, make sure that you bring up the cost with your partner.
- New Couch. If your home needs a new couch, splurge for this anniversary and add a new couch to your home.
- Rocking Chair. Let your husband relax in a rocking chair this anniversary.
- Foot Massager. Although a foot massager isn’t a traditional part of “home decor,” it will be a welcomed anniversary present.
For your twelfth wedding anniversary, there are few rules. As long as the item is added to your home, it will fit in the traditional home decor category. This theme shows that you’re working together to make your home a beautiful place to live.
Anniversary Presents for Year Thirteen
In some cultures, thirteen is seen as an unlucky number. For example, some hotels in the United States refuse to have a “thirteenth” floor and skip directly to floor number fourteen. However, the thirteenth year of marriage is meant to be lucky. To define the thirteenth year, the theme is lace, showing the delicate nature of marriage but also the beauty that defines it. Some lace anniversary gift ideas for your husband are:
- Personalized 13 Anniversary Lace Print. Lace print is a beautiful way to remember your wedding date.
- Lace Cufflinks. Cufflinks are an elegant way to dress up a man's suit. Your husband will love getting new cufflinks for his work suit.
- Lace Necktie. For men who wear neckties, a lace necktie is the perfect statement piece.
- Personalized Lace Anniversary Card. At the end of the day, a simple card will get across everything that you're trying to say with the gift.
Lace is beautiful, and it takes time to perfect. It’s also simple and inexpensive, making it a perfect gift for your thirteenth anniversary.
Anniversary Presents for Year Fourteen
For your fourteenth anniversary, the traditional theme is ivory. However, due to the issues around collecting ivory, it’s highly recommended that couples stay away from buying ivory. Instead of buying ivory, simply gift each other things that have an elephant theme. Elephants are incredibly intelligent creatures. They can remember friends for their entire lifespan and are known to make yearly trips to the sites where their loved ones have passed away. They have incredible memories and are loving, protective creatures. Some perfect elephant-themed gifts are:
- Picture with Crossed Trunks. Crossed trunks symbolize love and friendship. Get a picture or painting of two elephants to add to your home.
- Plush Animal. Plush animals are soft cuddly and the perfect present for your loved one. Get him a plush elephant this year.
- Personalized Cutting Board. On Etsy, you can find cutting boards that are personalized with pictures of two elephants.
- Elephant Mug. For tea drinkers, an elephant tea mug is a perfect gift. It is a thoughtful gift.
Although you should avoid using ivory during the thirteenth year, staying with the elephant theme shows that you remember all the good times that you’ve had together. If you don’t want to add an elephant-themed gift idea to your home, you can also purchase fake ivory, or something that is painted the color of ivory but doesn’t use the real thing.
Anniversary Presents for Year Fifteen
You’ve been married for a decade and a half. Congratulations. To celebrate fifteen years of marriage, gift crystals. Crystal is beautiful and is created by applying heat and pressure. After time under heat and pressure, crystal forms. Your marriage has filled with heat and pressure and has created a crystal. Here are some crystal anniversary gifts for him:
- Crystal Cufflinks. To help your husband look dapper, get him crystal cufflinks. Cufflinks are also a great anniversary gift.
- Crystal Ring. Crystal rings are only for women. Find a crystal ring that shows off your husband’s personality.
- Crystal Rock Lamp. Rock lamps are beautiful, calming, and help create a natural aesthetic in your home.
- Crystal Clock. Getting a small crystal clock for your husband’s desk is the perfect gift, especially if you make a pun about time as your gift it to him.
Crystal items aren’t always expensive, so this present doesn’t have to break the budget.
Non-Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts
Not every couple wants to stick with the traditional anniversary gifts. Couples who would prefer not to be bound by traditional gift-giving rules can feel free to give anything, regardless of the material that makes the item. For those who prefer non-traditional wedding gifts, focus on what you and your husband love to do together rather than focusing on the item. For example, if you both love watching sports, find a signed item from his favorite sports player. If you are both avid hikers, get him a new sleeping bag or lightweight backpacking tent. If you both love playing games, look for new games that you can play together.
Some couples might also choose to use “modern” anniversary gifts. Similar to traditional gifts, modern gifts are given each year and are based on a specific theme. The first anniversary has the theme of clocks, while the second is fine China. The third-year is crystal or glass, and the fourth year is electrical appliances. Some years overlap with the traditional years, such as the sixteenth anniversary, which is silverware for both traditional and modern.
You can also choose to do a DIY anniversary gift each year. A personalized gift will be perfect because it is a creative anniversary gift, showing that you’re willing to put your own time and effort on your anniversary date. You can simply make a gift box and fill it with your husband’s favorite things.
Anniversary ideas should be personalized. There are only a few “wrong” gifts that you can give on your anniversary. The most important part of giving a gift is that you give the gift with love in your heart. As long as you love him, the gift is secondary.