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Anniversary Gifts By Year

Every wedding day is a special event; it is the joining of two people in love. It is the time when the happy couple share their love for each other in front of friends and family. Anniversary celebrations are often less public, but still should capture the magic of the wedding itself.

Each anniversary gives the couple a day to reaffirm their love for one another, endorsing the commitment. And giving your spouse a unique, romantic, or even symbolic gift makes for a special anniversary celebration.

During the first few years of married life, you know your spouse has a lengthy wish list. Buying gifts is easy when you know what one needs or desires. As years pass, your material possessions grow with your love for each other. As your anniversary approaches, you are again wondering what to give your loved one. This is where anniversary 'themed' gift lists come in handy.

Anniversary themes

Traditional Themes: Where Gift Lists Originated

There is little documentation to show exactly when themed lists started. However, it is believed that during medieval times, men would give their wives a silver wreath crown for their 25th wedding anniversary. On their 50th anniversary he gave her a gold wreath crown. These silver and gold traditions continue to this day for these two anniversaries.

Other themed gifts for an anniversary began in 1922. Emily Post, a popular American author at the time, wrote a book titled Etiquette. In her book, she suggested special gifts for the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th... up to the 50th anniversary.

In 1937, The American National Retail Jeweler Association decided to expand the list by assigning every year up to 15 a theme. These themes are called the 'Traditional Themes'.

Modern Themes

Today there are additional themed suggestions to the traditional, for just about every single anniversary up to the 30th, and suggestions for every 5 years thereafter, up to the 75th anniversary. These are now known as 'Modern Themes'.

Our table below listing gifts by anniversary year is as accurate and comprehensive as we can possibly achieve. We feel it is more detailed than any other list on the internet. 

 

Anniversary Occasion

Traditional and Modern Gift Themes

Flower

Gemstone

Color Theme

Gift Ideas

1st Anniversary

 

 

Traditional: Paper

Modern: Clocks

 

Carnation; Pansy; Orange Blossom

Substitution: Yellow    or Gold Rose

Gold Jewelry (no particular stone)

 

Substitution: Pearl; Peridot

Yellow; Gold

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2nd Anniversary

Traditional: Cotton

 

Modern: China

Cosmos; Lily of the Valley


Substitution: Red Rose

Garnet

 

Substitution: Rose Quartz

Red

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3rd Anniversary

Traditional: Leather

Modern: Crystal/Glass

Fuschia; Sunflower;  Lily of the Valley

Substitution: White Rose

Pearl

Substitution: Crystal;    Moonstone; Jade

White; Jade

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4th Anniversary

 

 

Traditional:

Fruit/Flowers (US)              Linen; Silk (UK)

Modern: Appliances (electrical)

Geranium; Hydrangea


Substitution: Blue       or Green Rose

Blue Topaz

 

Substitution: Amethyst; Blue Zircon

Green; Blue

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5th Anniversary

 

 

Traditional: Wood


Modern: Silverware

Daisy

 

Substitution: Blue,   Pink or Silver Rose

Sapphire

 

Substitution: Turquoise; Rose Quartz; Pink Tourmaline

Turquoise; Pink; Blue 

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6th Anniversary

 

 

Traditional:

  Iron (US); Candy (UK)

 

Modern: Wood

Calla Lily

 

Substitution: Purple or White Rose

Amethyst

 

Substitution: Turquoise; Garnet

White; Purple; Turquoise

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7th Anniversary

 

 

Traditional:

Copper (US); Wool (UK)

 

Modern: Brass; Desk Sets

Jack-in-the-Pulpit; Freesia

 

Substitution: Yellow or White Rose

Onyx

 

Substitution: Lapis Lazuli; Copper; Yellow Sapphire

Off-White; Yellow

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8th Anniversary 

 

Traditional:

Bronze; Pottery (US)            Salt (UK)

 

Modern: Linen; Lace

Clematis; Lilac

 

Substitution: Rose

Tourmaline

 

Substitution: Aventurine; Bronze; Tanzanite

Bronze

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9th Anniversary

 

 

Traditional:

Willow; Pottery (US)

Copper (UK)

 

Modern: Leather

Poppy; Bird of Paradise

 

Substitution: Rose

Lapis Lazuli

 

Substitution: Andalusite; Tiger Eye

Terracotta

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10th Anniversary

Traditional:

Aluminum (US);

Tin (US & UK)

 

Modern: Diamond Jewelry

Daffodil

 

Substitution: Blue or Silver Rose

Diamond

 

Substitution: Onyx; Green Tourmaline; Crystal

Blue; Silver

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11th Anniversary

Traditional: Steel

 

Modern:

Fashion Jewelry; Accessories

Tulip; Morning Glory

 

Substitution: Rose

Turquoise

 

Substitution: Hematite

Turquoise

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12th Anniversary

Traditional:

Home Décor (US)

Linen; Silk (UK)

 

Modern: Pearls

Peony

 

Substitution: White Rose

Jade

 

Substitution: Pearl; Agate; Garnet; Tsavorite

Oyster-White

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13th Anniversary

 

Traditional: Lace

 

Modern: Textiles; Furs

Chrysanthemum

 

Substitution: White Rose

Citrine

 

Substitution: Malachite; Opal; Moonstone

White

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14th Anniversary

Traditional:

Ivory or Elephant

 

Modern: Gold Jewelry

Dahlia

 

Substitution: White or Gold Rose

Opal

 

Substitution: Gold; Ivory;   Kunzite; Moss Agate

Ivory

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15th Anniversary

Traditional: Crystal

 

Modern: Watches

Rose

Ruby

 

Substitution: Blue Sapphire; Rhodolite

Red

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16th Anniversary

Modern: Silverware

Statice

 

Substitution: Silver Rose

Peridot

 

Substitution: Golden Topaz; Aquamarine

Silver

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17th Anniversary

Modern: Furniture

Red Carnation

 

Substitution: Yellow Rose

Carnelian

 

Substitution: Amethyst; Citrine; Watch; Pink Tourmaline

Yellow

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18th Anniversary

Modern: Porcelain

None

Cat’s Eye

 

Substitution:

Aquamarine; Opal

Blue

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19th Anniversary

Modern: Bronze

Bronze  Chrysanthemum

Aquamarine

 

Substitution:

Golden Beryl; Topaz

Bronze

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20th Anniversary

                                  Traditional: China

 

Modern: Platinum

 

 

Day Lily; Aster

 

Substitution:

Platinum; Green or White Rose

Emerald

 

Substitution: Platinum

White; Emerald-Green

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21st Anniversary

Modern: Brass; Nickel

None

Iolite

Orange

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22nd Anniversary

Modern: Copper

None

Spinel

Green

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23rd Anniversary

Modern: Silver Plate

None

Imperial Topaz

 

Substitution: Sapphire

Silver

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24th Anniversary

Traditional: Opal (US)

 

Modern:

Musical Instruments

None

Tanzanite

Lavender

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25th Anniversary

Modern: Silver

Iris

 

Substitution: Silver Rose

Silver Jewelry (no particular stone)

Silver

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26th Anniversary

Modern: Pictures

None

None

None

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27th Anniversary

Modern: Sculptures

None

None

None

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28th Anniversary

Modern: Orchids

None

Substitution: Amethyst;

Orchid Tourmaline

Lavender

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29th Anniversary

Modern: Furniture

None

None

None

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30th Anniversary

Traditional: Pearl

 

Modern: Diamond

 

Lily; Sweet Pea

 

Substitution: Green Rose

Pearl

 

Substitution:

Jade; Diamond

Green

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35th Anniversary            

Traditional:

Coral (US & UK); Jade (US)

 

Modern: Jade

None

Emerald

 

Substitution: Jade; Coral

Coral

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40th Anniversary

Modern: Ruby

Nasturtium; Gladiola

 

Substitution: Red Rose

Ruby

Red

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45th Anniversary

Modern: Sapphire

Blue Iris

 

Substitution: Blue Rose

Sapphire

 

Substitution: Alexandrite

Blue

 

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50th Anniversary

Modern: Gold

 

Yellow Rose; Violet

 

Substitution: Gold Rose

Gold (no particular stone)

 

Substitution:

Imperial Topaz; Gold

Gold

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55th Anniversary

Modern: Emerald 

Calla Lily

 

Substitution: Green Rose

Alexandrite

 

Substitution: Emerald

Emerald-Green

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60th Anniversary

Modern: Diamond

Orchids

 

Substitution: Rose

Diamond

Diamond-White

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Traditional vs Modern

Traditional anniversary gifts were more often than not something very practical that the couple could use to contribute to their home. Tin, copper, wood, paper and wool were often seen as wonderful gifts during the early years of these marriages. Luxury gifts were reserved for later in life, when the family had acquired most of the creature comforts.

Modern gifts are just as practical and needed. The only difference is that modern gifts are usually pre-made items using whatever the theme is for the year. For example, some gifts may include desk sets or other types of wooden furniture, appliances, and clothes.

Traditional or Modern, these anniversary suggestions help couples remain committed to the love and joy they have continued to nurture throughout their years together. No gift list rises above another. Choose whichever list strikes your fancy, and buy a gift that conveys your heartfelt love now, and forever. The gift itself may not be particularly ‘romantic’ in the literal sense (eg, a household appliance). However, by mere fact of investing thought into commemorating the anniversary with a gift specific to the number of years you have been married, symbolizes your appreciation for that specific number of years you have been joined in matrimony. This is romantic! Your ultimate goal afterall is to celebrate your anniversary in a unique way each year that cannot be replaced or replicated on another anniversary occasion.

One thing to remember is that different countries have their own lists. What might be on the suggested anniversary gift list in the United States may not be on a list in the United Kingdom. This is mainly due to different cultures and traditions in each country. The tables on our page specifies if the list is from the US or the UK.

Beyond the Gift Lists: Colors, Flowers and Gemstones

In 1985, the 'Gemstone Information Manual' was published by the American Gem Trade Association. In this manual, the AGTA lists which precious metals or gemstones correspond to each anniversary. They started with the 1st anniversary, covering every year up until the 25th. From the 25th until the 60th, they designated a gemstone or precious metal for every 5th year. Not all charts or tables will list the same gemstones for each year. Some stones and metals are only found in certain areas of the world, and would more easily be on those charts than others.

Certain colors and flowers have also long been associated with certain anniversaries. There is no known 'original' list of these themes, they have just evolved over the years and are often different across the globe. Colors may be constant around the world, but different regions of the world are known for growing exotic flowers that are not grown elsewhere. As far as flowers go, the rose is the flower most often associated with love - especially the red rose. Giving a single red rose or bouquet of red roses on any anniversary is appropriate.

Choosing the Perfect Gift

Most tables today will list gift ideas for every anniversary up to the 30th. Our table outlines both Traditional and Modern gift suggestions up to the 60th anniversary, as well as colors, flowers and gemstones. We also include a range of specific items that exemplify each theme to help you think about something relevant to that theme.

So please feel free to choose from either list if you are looking for gift ideas or inspiration. If you have a particularly creative streak, or enjoy crafting things yourself, you can check out our section on Handmade Gifts for an Anniversary, and you can tailor your crafted gift to the theme for the anniversary in question. 

At the end of the day, you know your spouse better than anyone else in the world, so give them an anniversary gift that they will most treasure, and express your thoughtfulness by going along with a theme that cannot be replicated the following year. Your themed gift alone shows that you are appreciating the specific number of years you have been married.