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Ideas for Traditional Anniversary Gifts by Year

When it comes to finding the perfect wedding anniversary gift, whether you’re buying for your wife or your husband, there are a couple of lists that you can use for reference. One of these is the list for traditional anniversary gifts by year.

History of Traditional Anniversary Gifts

traditional annyversary gifts by yearThere is no definitive answer as to the origins of anniversary gifts, but one of the most likely time periods is Victorian England. The tradition then found its way across the pond the the United States in the 20th century. During these times it was very popular to hold extravagant anniversary celebrations, which is possibly why the act of gift giving made such a hit.
The traditional list of wedding anniversary gifts by year was followed by most people, right up until 1937. When the American National Retail Jewelry Association decided that a new list was needed. Possibly because they felt that major sales opportunities were being neglected by the original list. Some of the so called old-fashioned items were replaced by modern alternatives such as new furniture, appliances, desk sets, clocks and silverware. While the new list added lots more practical ideas, the traditional list has still remained in regular use. One of the reasons could be that it allows for more interpretation.
So let’s give you a few ideas for finding the perfect traditional anniversary gifts by year. We’ll look at some of the traditional materials and offer up some useful suggestions.

Traditional Anniversary Gifts



Gold-Dipped Natural Rose

  • presented in an exquisite leather case
  • comes with a certificate of authenticity
  • fast & free express delivery

Buy it!



Rose Heart Pendant

  • decorated with 21 sparkling synthetic diamonds
  • real rose petals glazed and trimmed in 24 karat gold
  • with certificate of authenticity

Buy it!



Matched Set in 24k Gold Leaf Theme

  • includes a glazed natural rose, a pendant and earrings
  • comes in a quality leather display case
  • a lifetime warranty is included

Buy it!


golf ball

Gold-Dipped Golf Ball & Tee Set

  • dipped in 24k gold
  • excellent durability while retaining the playability
  • ideal for mounting and display purposes

Buy it!



24 Karat Gold-Dipped Poker Cards

  • playable deck of poker cards dipped in 24 karat gold.
  • produced to tournament grade standards
  • presented in an elegant high quality case

Buy it!

1st Wedding Anniversary – Paper

Traditionally, paper is meant to symbolise strength, that comes from its interlocking fibres. But we don’t think that a notepad is what was in mind, when it came to giving the gift of paper. Our suggestions include a personalised poem, a newspaper from the day of the wedding, photograph taken by a professional photographer, tickets to a show, share certificate or an annual subscription for a favourite magazine.

2nd Wedding Anniversary – Cotton

The reason for cotton as a symbol of 2 years of marriage? It is associated with success and for its hard wearing quality. Gift ideas could include a personalised cotton bath robe, towel or t-shirt, or an item of cotton clothing.

3rd Wedding Anniversary – Leather

As with cotton, leather is renowned for its durability. No surprise that it is used to symbolise the 3rd year of marriage. Possible gifts include a leather handbag or wallet, belt or maybe even a pair of leather shoes.

4th Wedding Anniversary – Fruit/ Flowers

In the UK, fruit or flowers symbolise the blossoming and fruitful relationship a married couple should be enjoying after 4 years together. Pretty obvious what can be given here, but an unusual idea is the gift of an Eternity Rose. A natural rose bloom dipped in gold, silver or platinum, and tastefully presented in a leather display case. Over in the US the 4th anniversary symbol is linen or silk.

5th Wedding Anniversary – Wood

An anniversary gift that is made of wood is said to symbolise a strong and long lasting relationship. For something a bit unusual, you could plant a tree. Or how about some wooden jewellery, wooden jewellery box, personalised coasters or picture frame.

10th Wedding Anniversary – Tin/ Aluminium

Tin or aluminium are traditionally the symbols for 10 years of marriage because they are known for their flexibility. and ability to be moulded into different shapes. Ideas could include board game or puzzle in a pin, poker set in an aluminium display case, personalised number plate or an engraved aluminium picture or photo frame.

15th Wedding Anniversary – Crystal

Crystal is used as a symbol for the 15th year of marriage because it represents a sparkling and clear love between two people. Gift ideas include crystal jewellery, a crystal paperweight, crystal glasses or wine decanter.

20th Wedding Anniversary – China

China is used because it symbolises the beauty, elegance and delicate nature of a loving relationship, after 20 years of marriage. Why not gift the happy couple a personalised anniversary plate, dinner service, tea set or china trinket box.

And for some of those years in between and after let’s give you a few more quick ideas:

  • 6th Anniversary – Iron – horseshoes or a weather vane
  • 7th Anniversary – Copper – a copper bracelet, copper bookends or a copper telescope
  • 8th Anniversary – Bronze – bronze sculpture, bronze cufflinks, bronze jewellery box
  • 9th Anniversary – Pottery – pottery classes together, porcelain pottery tea set, pottery vase
  • 11th Anniversary – Steel – steel jewellery, stainless steel flask or wrist watch, stainless steel BBQ set
  • 12th Anniversary – Silk/ Linen – silk pyjamas, tie or boxer shorts
  • 13th Anniversary – Lace – lingerie or nightwear, lace tablecloth
  • 14th Anniversary – Ivory – not a very ethical purchase, so go for something ivory coloured instead
  • 25th Anniversary – Silver – jewellery, silver picture frame, silver clock
  • 50th Anniversary – Gold – gold pendant, gold cufflinks
  • 60th Anniversary – Diamond – anything that contains a diamond, there’s so much to choose it would be difficult to pare it down to one or two ideas
  • 70th Anniversary – Platinum – rings, necklaces

Traditional Flower Symbols for a Wedding Anniversary

Flowers have long been given as a wedding anniversary gift, whether for your beloved wife, friend or mother. Here’s a list of some of the flowers that are associated with various wedding anniversary years:

  • 1st wedding anniversary – Carnations/ Pansies
  • 2nd – Lily of the Valley
  • 3rd – Sunflower
  • 4th – Hydrangea
  • 5th – Daisy
  • 6th – Calla
  • 7th – Freesia
  • 8th – Lilac
  • 9th – Bird of Paradise
  • 10th – Daffodil
  • 11th – Tulip
  • 12th – Peony
  • 13th – Chrysanthemum
  • 14th – Dahlia
  • 15th – Rose
  • 20th – Aster
  • 25th – Iris
  • 28th – Orchid
  • 30th – Lily
  • 40th – Gladiolus
  • 50th – Yellow Rose, Violet

We hope that you’ve found all this information useful, and your quest for a wedding anniversary present has become much easier. Should you need more help we’ll be happy to give you more gift ideas on some of our other pages.