Traditional Anniversary Gift Ideas

For the First 50 Years of Marriage

Senior Couple at their Golden Anniversary

Johannes Kroemer/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Wedding anniversary gift-giving is a tradition that dates back to ancient times. But throughout the years, gift ideas have evolved to meet a more modern standard of living. While traditional gifts—like a leather briefcase for your third anniversary or crystal glasses for year 15—stick to their old school roots, many couples choose presents more suitable to their lifestyle. Maybe you want customary presents for years 1 through 15? Or maybe you reserve traditional gifts for every five-year milestone? Whether you're a couple who covets the sacredness of custom or one with contemporary taste, a year-appropriate anniversary gift makes a treasured keepsake.

First Anniversary Gift Ideas

Paper—a traditional first-anniversary gift—represents the fragility of new relationships but reminds us that, with nurture (just like paper) it will last a lifetime. Choose a journal or book to represent this timeless sentiment. Or, for a more modern take, celebrate your first year of marriage with a new Smart TV that you can both enjoy on your next date night in.

Second Anniversary Gift Ideas

Everyone loves the softness of a new cotton robe (although 100 percent cotton is hard to come by these days) or the coziness of a cotton throw, making this gift a classic statement. But as a new couple versed in the ways of domesticity, the gift of fine china provides a lasting heirloom you'll break out—time and time again—for dinner parties and holiday functions.

Third Anniversary Gift Ideas

A leather briefcase or watch is a customary gift for a spouse who spends 9 a.m to 5 p.m in an office. But crystal glasses offer a modern-day take on a customary gift to pair with last year's china set.

Fourth Anniversary Gift Ideas

Now comes the fun gifts. Like, who doesn't love a bouquet of flowers (the classic dozen roses, for instance) or a basket of juicy fruit? Yet, as you settle into a permanent abode somewhere around your fourth year together, a new appliance—like an espresso maker—might be the more practical choice.

Fifth Anniversary Gift Ideas

While the gift of wood may seem peculiar for a fifth anniversary, there are many modern gift ideas, like furniture or a potted tree, that adhere to classic tradition. However, a new cutlery set (to go with both the china and crystal) makes a great silverware gift for a spouse that loves to cook at home.

Sixth Anniversary Gift Ideas

A yummy box of chocolates is a time-honored present for the sixth anniversary (just make sure its gourmet or imported). But a modern gift for the traveling couple (who are also active on social media) is an easy-to-use digital camera, complete with WiFi capability.

Seventh Anniversary Gift Ideas

A modern-day take on a traditional wool anniversary gift is a merino workout layer that retains heat while wicking moisture. Or, if you'd like to be on the receiving end of a cake baked by your home chef, maybe purchase a Kitchen Aid mixer for the home instead.

Eighth Anniversary Gift Ideas

Anything bronze—like wind chimes or a belt buckle— represents the durability of a marriage that's come this far. But a new Apple sports watch will certainly surprise any spouse who likes to clock distance traveled or vertical feet skied.

Ninth Anniversary Gift Ideas

The conventional gift of locally-made pottery makes a thoughtful present while also supporting the artisans and the economy in your community. Or, you can celebrate your ninth anniversary by gifting your loved one a leather weekender bag to take along on your next getaway.

Tenth Anniversary Gift Ideas

An aluminum cocktail shaker—representing the flexibility good partners need in a relationship—makes a great gift for the tenth anniversary. Yet, a memory foam mattress will give you the good night sleep you need to exercise this principle.

Eleventh Anniversary Gift Ideas

Stainless flatware and candle holders represent the classic gift and strength of steel. Fashion jewelry, also made of steel, provides a modern-day option with new school flair.

Twelfth Anniversary Gift Ideas

Linen sheets are all the rage in modern bedroom decor. Luckily, they also fall in line with traditional picks for twelfth-anniversary gifts. And for a lady who treasures fine jewelry, pearl earrings make a modern gift that she'll wear every day.

Thirteenth Anniversary Gift Ideas

While lace in the bedroom seems more like a contemporary (and sexy) gift, lace doilies or draperies fall more in line with tradition. Textiles and fur, however, can be gifted and implemented into modern decor in the form of bearskin rugs and throw pillows.

Fourteenth Anniversary Gift Ideas

And that brings us back to flowers, again, marking a fourteenth-anniversary favorite. But since the beauty of flowers may fade with time, step it up a notch by gifting her a gold necklace instead.

Fifteenth Anniversary Gift Ideas

While crystal is a modern gift suggestion for a third anniversary, it's symbolism of clear and sparkling love is better suited for a fifteen-year engagement (plus new champagne glasses might be in order at this point).

Twentieth Anniversary Gift Ideas

Both china and platinum can stand the test of time, making them the ideal twentieth-anniversary gift. But the china you pick shouldn't look like your grandmothers (unless of course, it's a hand-me-down heirloom). And platinum, gifted as modern jewelry, suits many contemporary styles.

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Gift Ideas

A milestone anniversary calls for a cherished gift, making silver jewelry, like necklaces, bangle bracelets, and earrings an appropriate gift. For the man in your life, choose cufflinks set in sterling or a keepsake silver keychain.

Thirtieth Anniversary Gift Ideas

Your mother's heirloom pearl necklace couldn't be a more treasured gift to give to your bride, especially after she endures you for 30 years. But diamond earrings might just grab her attention, especially if they're tucked into her place setting on a special evening out.

Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Gift Ideas

Coral—an organic material found in the sea—is the traditional present for 35 years together. But since the earth's coral reefs are now endangered, a more environmentally-friendly option is a jade gemstone cast in a perfectly crafted setting.

Fortieth Anniversary Gift Ideas

Ruby, the symbol of love, power, and passion makes no small statement on a fortieth anniversary. If you've made it this far—through thick and thin—pop a bottle of personalized ruby champaign knowing this gift satisfies both traditional and modern customs.

Forty-Fifth Anniversary Gift Ideas

For a meaningful forty-fifth anniversary gift, stick to tradition with sapphire earrings or a necklace. Or, put a modern spin on things by buying a sapphire colored home decor item—like a blown glass bowl—that you can both enjoy.

Fiftieth Anniversary Gift Ideas

You did it! You survived each other for half a century! So now, mark this occasion with something gold, representing compassion, courage, and wisdom. Take this time to update your wedding rings or purchase a gold necklace for her and a timeless watch for him.