Every anniversary you spend with your beloved is special. Hopefully, you have a lifetime of anniversaries ahead of you. As you probably know, for most anniversaries there are traditional gifts and modern alternatives. Traditional is kind of in vogue, though, and I kind of love old-fashioned gift ideas, so here are ideas for your first 50 years together – but if something strikes your fancy, you can use it for any year you're celebrating.
1 Year One: Paper
There are so many charming gifts made of paper, gifts you can buy and gifts you can make. It makes me wish Heather and I could celebrate our first wedding anniversary every year.
2 Year Two: Cotton
The gift of cotton has a lot of potential as well, depending on your beloved's preferences and tastes. Remember, there are options aplenty for homemade presents, too.
3 Year Three: Leather
Leather may not seem like a romantic gift, but there are some beautiful gifts that incorporate leather – or faux leather if you prefer.
4 Year Four: Fruit or Flowers
Year four is a wonderful year, simply because there are so many things you can get for your beloved. Keep it simple.
5 Year Five: Wood
Wood probably doesn't seem very romantic, either, but you'd be surprised. The possibilities are just as limitless as your love.
6 Year Six: Iron or Candy
Between you and me, I'll always go for the candy. Hint, hint, Heather.
7 Year Seven: Wool or Copper
From a warm woolen scarf to a beautiful copper sculpture, you can celebrate the seven-year itch in any number of ways. Probably no woolen underwear, though – no one needs that kind of itch.
8 Year Eight: Bronze
Nothing says “forever” like bronze, right?
9 Year Nine: Pottery
Just for the record, it's quite easy to make your own pottery.
10 Year Ten: Tin or Aluminum
These don't seem like expensive gift ideas for a milestone anniversary, do they? That's kind of the point.
11 Year Eleven: Steel
Steel is the perfect follow-up for your 11th anniversary, I think – it's so long-lasting, after all.
12 Year Twelve: Silk or Linen
There's something classic and classy about both silk and linen. My guess is that you could easily find an elegant gift that combines the two.
13 Year Thirteen: Lace
Lace appears more than once as a traditional anniversary gift. Makes sense, there are so many lovely lacy things that make ideal presents.
14 Year Fourteen: Ivory
I have mixed feelings about this one, although a piano would make a hell of a gift, don't you think?
15 Year Fifteen: Crystal
Be inventive if you get to your 15th anniversary and want to give your spouse something crystal. If your wedding was anything like mine, you got enough crystal doodads as gifts to last you a lifetime.
16 Year Sixteen: Silver Holloware
Some years don't seem as important even to the traditionalists of the world. In every resource I could find on the subject of traditional anniversary gifts, years 16-19, among others, are blank. Take from that what you will. Anyway, as a result, I'll be using the modern gift for those years, but you can, fortunately, give these gifts a traditional twist. For instance, for your 16th anniversary, the modern gift is silver holloware, which is actually pretty old-fashioned – and pretty. And timeless, come to think of it.
17 Year Seventeen: Furniture
Even though there's no traditional equivalent, furniture is timeless, too.
18 Year Eighteen: Porcelain
Porcelain, too, is versatile enough to change with the times.
19 Year Nineteen: Bronze
20 Year Twenty: China
And china. However, your 20th is a big anniversary, so make sure you choose something special.
21 Year Twenty-One: Brass or Nickel
When you're faced with an iffy gift idea, you have to get inventive.
22 Year Twenty-Two: Copper
With copper, you can get downright unique.
23 Year Twenty-Three: Something Silver Plated
This one's pretty boring, kind of standard, but that's okay. If you're imaginative, you'll make it special.
24 Year Twenty-Four: Opal
Opal appears more than once, too, but it's easy to see why.
25: Year Twenty-Five: Silver
Silver is a classic choice – and the 25th anniversary is, of course, the Silver Anniversary.
26 Year Twenty-Six: Photographs
I think photographs are the perfect gift. I cannot wait until I get to 26 with Heather.
27 Year Twenty-Seven: Sculpture
This has the potential to be a lovely, sentimental present. By the time you're married this long, why not sculpt something your own self?
28 Year Twenty-Eight: Orchids
Love, love, love! Orchids are my favorite. They look like little angels.
29 Year Twenty-Nine: Furniture
Seriously, this is always a good choice.
30 Year Thirty: Pearl
I adore pearls. There are dozens of gifts that incorporate pearls in some way.
31 Year Thirty-One: Timepieces
Because you've spent so much time together.
32 Year Thirty-Two: Transportation
I'm lucky, I think. Heather bought me transportation a year ago. Ha ha! But seriously, I think this could be open to interpretation.
33 Year Thirty-Three: Amethyst
I think there's something very sweet about a gift themed around amethyst. Then again, I'm partial to it.
34 Year Thirty-Four: Opal
Told you it showed up more than once.
35 Year Thirty-Five: Coral
This one … I think this one's open to interpretation, too.
36 Year Thirty-Six: Bone China
This is a truly elegant gift. Even if it's a teacup – or a pair of them. One for each of you, with matching saucers.
37 Year Thirty-Seven: Alabaster
This one's elegant, too. Alabaster is lovely, pure – just like your love after 37 years.
38 Year Thirty-Eight: Beryl
This is an odd choice. Do you think it was the in thing back in the day? Or perhaps the person who came up with all these ideas in the first place started running out of ideas.
39 Year Thirty-Nine: Lace
Maybe that's why lace is so popular.
40 Year Forty: Ruby
Your 40th anniversary, though, that's the Ruby Anniversary. It's special.
41 Year Forty-One: Land
Land is definitely an extraordinary gift.
42 Year Forty-Two: Real Estate
So is real estate – maybe you can start saving now to buy your spouse a rental property.
43 Year Forty-Three: Travel
Travel is a great gift for any anniversary, if it's something your spouse loves to do. Double points if you love doing it together.
44 Year Forty-Four: Food
Lots of ways to give your better half some food. You could buy groceries, perhaps to celebrate the sweet, easy, predictable pattern of your lives, the little things that really count. You could also go all out gourmet. It's entirely up to you.
45 Year Forty-Five: Sapphire
This one's another milestone – a miniature one, maybe, but a milestone nonetheless.
46 Year Forty-Six: Poetry
You could write your own poem or choose one that makes you think of your partner. You might even have a couple poem. From there, you can create and plan so many lovely things. Poetry is an adorable present to look forward to, tbh – I might steal it for an earlier anniversary.
47 Year Forty-Seven: Books
Ditto books. Books are always perfect, especially if books feature in your relationship. Heather, bee tee double-you, proposed using a hollowed-out book as a ring box. The book was I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. When we first started dated and lived apart, we mailed that book back and forth, highlighting the parts that made us think of each other. I'm just saying. Books are amazing anniversary presents no matter what.
48 Year Forty-Eight: Something Optical
There is potential to get very inventive here. Then again, by your 48th anniversary, one or both of you may need glasses – even a pair of drugstore reading glasses.
49 Year Forty-Nine: Luxury Goods
By your 49th, you'll both deserve a little luxury.
50 Year Fifty: Gold
Obviously. Because you are a golden couple.
Your anniversaries may not stop at 50, but this list does. Feel free to add, though, or just share your best anniversary present – given and received!
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