Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

This April (2013) has particularly been a special month for me with many reasons to celebrate – it marks the one year anniversary of quitting my full-time consulting career and becoming a full-time business owner, my husband had his milestone 30th birthday and together we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

In the spirit of celebrating anniversaries, I was reading about the list of traditional anniversary gifts.  No one is certain just when the traditional gift list came into existence, but it probably evolved over time. Calling years twenty-five and fifty ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ may have originated in medieval Europe, where wives were given a silver wreath to celebrate their twenty-fifth year of marriage and a gold wreath for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Diamonds are traditional anniversary gifts in both the sixtieth and seventh-fifth years. Year sixty probably became a part of existing traditions when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee after sixty years on the British throne.  But these 25th, 50th, 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries are a long way off for me still!

What I was inspired by is the simplistic nature of the early on anniversary gift suggestions – to some, they may seem boring, yet there are many ways to creatively turn each year’s anniversary theme into a special, memorable gift.  Here is the list of traditional anniversary gifts for the first 15 years and some ideas on how to transform them into something fun and original.

Anniversary Traditional Gift Theme Unique Gift Ideas
1st Paper Personalized stationery
Decorative paper plates/napkins
Wrapping paper/ribbon collection
Books or journal
Note paper, post-its, magnetic notepads
2nd Cotton Set of sheets
Seasonal kitchen hand towel set
Monogrammed throw blanket
3rd Leather Wallet/purse
Coaster set
4th Fruit/Flowers Basket of seeds and gardening tools
Fresh flower bulbs
Outing to the local farmers market
Smoothie recipe book and emersion blender
5th Wood Handmade art – wooden bowl, candle sticks
Wood cutting board with cheese knives
Frames for a wall collage
Restored/refinished furniture piece
6th Candy/Iron Chocolate-covered strawberries/pretzels
Antique candy dishIron skillet with homemade breakfast in bed
Treats from a local confectioner
7th Wool/Copper Wool socks or slippers
Mittens made from vintage wool sweaters
Copper mugs for Moscow Mule cocktails
8th Bronze/Pottery Set of handmade pottery coffee mugs
Custom wax seal
Make-up gift card – bronzer, eyeshadow, etc.
9th Pottery/Willow Outing to a pottery class
Willow basket set or shelving unit
Pottery Barn gift card
10th Tin/Aluminum Monogram embosser
Tin of flavored tea
New set of aluminum baking pans
11th Steel Thermal coffee mug with local coffee beans
Stainless steel kitchen appliance/accessory
12th Silk/Linen Linen tablecloth with cloth napkins/napkin rings
Silk sheet set
Silk scarf
Linen cardstock stationery
13th Lace Vintage doilies
Lace trimmed apron
Lanterns hand-painted with lace pattern
14th Ivory Monochromatic gift of all ivory items
Gift basket of delicious smelling soaps (playing on Ivory soap concept)
15th Crystal Custom etched pair of crystal tumblers
Crystal vase or tray
Accessory with some bling