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Anniversary Gifts: 12 Years and Counting

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Tomorrow is my 13th wedding anniversary. While my husband sometimes struggles with my birthday and Christmas, he almost always nails anniversary gifts. I think the guidelines must help. My top favorites were a bubble curling iron for our 6th (iron) when they were new and all the rage. The Yeti Wine Ramblers for our 10th (steel) were exactly what I never knew I needed but always did! Drinking Rose outside on a 90 degree day is completely new experience. For our 8th (pottery) he was clever and got me an Aero Garden to grow mint and basil in it for cocktails. Unfortunately, I never watered them and they kept dying. But it was a great idea, in theory. Last year for our 12th (silk) I was thrilled of his proposal of silk sheets, however he made the mistake of leaving me to pick out the color, because our bed sheets are white and that seemed like a terrible idea. I still haven’t decided what I wanted till I started writing this post.

Where Pat shines on our anniversary, it’s actually my worst gift giving situation. It’s right before Christmas and his birthday and sometimes I get him something expensive and combine, oh the shame. Poor kids with Christmas birthdays. But usually I plan some experience that falls through. Like the time I gave him the Game of Thrones Cookbook and planned out a dinner party. But I forgot I can’t cook. For our 12th I actually got him a cool star map of what the sky looked like in Washington DC the night we got married. I still haven’t hung it or frame it. I should have thought through the complications of an anniversary right before Christmas. So let me help you to succeed where I have failed with some suggestions for your first 12 years of marriage. If you're looking for some recommendations of bubbly to pop on your big day along side your gift, here's my post about sparkling wine across all price points.

Photo by Wijdan Mq on Unsplash

1st Anniversary: Paper

  • A personalized newspaper commemorating what was happening in the world on that day. While at 1 year out, you still probably remember what the biggest box office hits of the year were or who won the world series, you won’t in 5 or 10. This is an investment of your future and the perfect 1st anniversary paper gift.

  • A personalized return address stamp is a sweet gesture, especially this one that says your family name in large letters. The old go-to for the paper anniversary was stationary, but no one writes letters any more. We do however occasionally send checks, birthday or holiday cards and your return address is always needed.

  • An adventure book is another great option for a paper gift. I love this one as a fan of the movie Up. It’s so romantic that she kept this journal of all of their adventures. I know everything we do now is digital but this is something you could work on together and pass on to future generations.

2nd Anniversary: Cotton

  • A personalized blanket with photos is probably not made from 100% cotton, but it’s in the spirit of the tradition. I could see either pictures of your life over the last year or pictures from your wedding.

  • These monogram bathrobes actually are cotton and a great gift anniversary gift if you customize them to have your initials with your family surname in the middle. Plus you’ll match.

  • A personalized yard flag won’t just show each other your love but the whole neighborhood. This one is great because you can add your family name and the year you were married.

3rd Anniversary: Leather

  • A monogrammed leather purse. This is a great anniversary to give your wife a nice leather bag. I recommend this medium tote with top handles and a shoulder strap from the daily edit that any woman would carry. Their bucket bag is also on trend. Conversely, you could also give your husband a wallet.

4th Anniversary: Fruit or Flowers

  • An Edible Arrangement is the obvious go to here. But they’re always delicious and fun to receive so I wouldn’t discount this idea.

  • A box of long lasting real roses. I just told a young man that you should never question the power of giving a woman flowers. To many men they seem dumb because they die so quickly. These can last up to a year.

  • A deluxe fruit basket is more than a present, it can be the perfect evening in. This basket doesn’t just have fruit, but cheeses, crackers, nuts, and chocolates. Add a bottle of wine and you can do a tasting.

5th Anniversary: Wood

  • A personalized cutting board is a really excellent gift for any chef or charcuterie board lover like myself. This one features the family surname and you can add a date. But there are many options of wood type and carvings. P.S. This is also a fabulous wedding gift for someone else.

  • A custom wooden picture frame with your names and your wedding date, along with a photo from your wedding would be a lovely gift. You of course have the option of a picture of yourselves in your 5th year, but I like the wedding picture better because the wood frame is symbolic enough of it being your 5th anniversary. If you add a photo shoot for the special picture inside you've got even more gift giving game.

  • A custom wooden piggy bank. Ok hear me out on this one. On your 5th anniversary, you are 5 years till your 10th. You may want to plan a very special vacation for the two of you or possibly a big party to celebrate a decade of marriage. Now is the time to start saving. Throw your extra change in this piggy bank with your surname printed on your initial for the next five years to help pay for that big event. This gift is an investment in your future as a couple.

6th Anniversary: Candy or Iron

  • A fondue pot can cover both at once. They’re probably made from steel not iron but you can use one to make your own chocolate fondue. Bonus it’s an activity you can do together. Don’t make the mistakes I do. Buy all the supplies and set a date. This shouldn't be for future use.

  • A retro candy gift basket is a gift that will really only be suited to a spouse of the right age or wedding date. Here is the link to the 1980s basket and the 1990s basket. If you get creative maybe you can find a way to work in the 1950s basket.

  • An iron monogram hanging sign is classic and I don’t think anyone would dislike this gift, plus it celebrates you as a couple or a family. However, I love the idea of getting more personal and getting your spouse something that represents them like this personalized BBQ sign.

7th Anniversary: Wool or Copper

  • For our wool options we’re going to go with the spirit and do cashmere, which is technically not wool but much softer and luxurious enough for an anniversary gift. Very well rated cashmere men’s cashmere sweater or scarf. Women’s sweater or shawl.

8th Anniversary: Pottery or Bronze

  • You can go the gardening route like my husband did and get an AeroGarden.I wish I had been as clever and gotten my husband a pepper gardening kit because he’s always trying to grow the right peppers for salsa or hot sauce. There’s also a veggie kit and an herbal kit. This cocktail kit is a bit more complicated but looks fun. You could throw in the needed pottery and possible cocktail glasses.

  • Ok so this is neither actually bronze or pottery but a combination that’s in the spirit of both. This metal family hanging photo tree is the perfect way to celebrate 8 years especially if you have started a family with children, may they be of the human, canine, etc., etc. variety. Of course you have to do the work and put the pictures in it.

9th Anniversary: Willow or Pottery

  • I’m not 100% sure what you do with willow (although you could use that family photo tree) but if you use the idea of wood, I love the idea of these wicker seating arrangement for two (if you have a more modern style try this set). Set this up on your front or back porch as a place for just the two of you to sit and romance.

  • Another idea to foster romance is this wicker picnic basket for two (or if you really love those human children and want to bring them you can do the wicker picnic basket for four). Again, you can’t just wrap the basket and call it a day. You have to actually take your spouse on the picnic.

10th Anniversary: Tin or Aluminum

  • So maybe you collected enough coins to go on that dream 10th anniversary trip. Try commemorating it with an inexpensive tin snow globe so you can save your cash for the trip: Paris, London, China, New York City, San Francisco. You get the idea. On the flip side if you didn’t quite collect enough change and you can’t take your big trip (Pat and I didn’t get to Paris till our 12th) this is a great way to save the money you might have spent on a present and buy the snow globe of the place you hope to get to or possible where you went on your honeymoon.

  • I’m not going to take the tin/aluminum travel gift any further. Actually, I’ll let you be creative and then stick your gift in a tin gift box! Small, medium, and large, or a tin jewelry box may suit your needs. I changed my mind. A big dream vacation isn't in everyone's budget but there are lots of ways to try to save for a smaller one for just you and your spouse. Try buying the gift card sized boxes and giving each other gift cards that go towards that trip (be sure to note the terms and conditions for example Southwest Gift Cards never expire but once booked you must take the trip a year from activation). It’s a great way to put money aside for your special trip.

11th Anniversary: Steel

  • Remember how I said my husband got me Yet Wine Rambler for our 11th, you can steal that idea or you could steal one of his Christmas ideas and buy your spouse a professional electric wine opener. I can’t say enough good things about this one. We’ve had it for 6 years and it still works perfectly. This wine opener is more affordable, but has great ratings and comes with a chiller.

  • Fingerprint rings, what? I just discovered this is a thing and I love it!. This is a his and hers set and a little subtle. This chunkier one is more of a statement. They’re not steel, but it’s in the spirit in my opinion.

12th Anniversary: Silk

  • These are the silk sheets, I’m theoretically getting, 11 months after I made a color choice. They’re pretty pricey. I don’t think a silky statin will ruin anything if that’s what's in your price range. Silk pillowcases are kind of a must have skin care item so if you don’t have them now’s a good time to buy them. Just the pillowcases alone won’t break the bank. Finally in the silky bed category is the silk sleeping mask. This one comes in lots of colors, some more manly than others. Pat and I both own them. Here’s a cute gift set with a pillowcase and mask.

  • If you’re into winter sports, camping or just northern resorts, silk thermal undergarments are a useful but lux gift. It would be best if you paired them with an accompanying trip and a matching set for you. Of course you might want to throw in a little silk lingerie, although they’re usually made of a satin blend not silk. I have this shorts set and this nightgown.

  • If you want to really show off to a fashionable woman then buy her Manolo Blahnik Hangisi shoes, ideally in Carrie Bradshaw Blue. In Sex in the City, Big proposed with these shoes over a ring and 20 years later they're still the perfect shoe. For the fashionable man, an Armani Silk Tie says it all. Yes it is very unfair the cost difference, but isn't life?

That’s 1-12 folks. 12/22/2020 is our 13th anniversary so I am going to refrain from going any further lest I ruin my husband’s gift or vice versa. Well I won’t ruin mine, I am not much of a rule follower. I think I knocked it out of the park this year, but you’ll have to wait and see. Maybe I’ll tie some lace ribbon to it so I can play along. Pat on the other hand will give me something with a more creative use of lace or fur. Who thinks I am getting a puppy?

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