It’s your anniversary again. You remembered! Congratulations, that means you’ve gotten past step one. But remembering that day that you and your spouse looked into each other’s eyes and thought “I hope they saved some passed hors d’oeuvres” is the easy part. The hard part is figuring out which anniversary gift to get for the love of your life for each year’s corresponding theme.
There’s the whole business of traditional versus modern gifts that’s straight out of Martha Stewart’s playbook, but why not make it easy on yourself? Here is the thoughtful, yet easy-to-use anniversary gift guide that will help you mark the occasion the right way. Because you thought that last year’s theme was “vibrating.”
Year 1 Anniversary Gifts
Traditional: Paper / Artifact Uprising
Artifact Uprising offers dozens of gorgeous photo products but their calendar is definitely, like your mother would call you, the handsomest — and perfect for an anniversary gift. The reclaimed beetle pine clipboard is magnetized for easy mounting and holds a page for each month, starting when you order it so she doesn’t have to wait until next year to start using it.
Modern: Clock / Shinola Runwell Chrono
The Runwell features a polished gold case, midnight dial, sunflower leather band, and a date indicator box, so your wife can figure out what day it is while checking to see how late the kids are for whatever it is they were supposed to be ready for FIVE MINUTES AGO. And don’t call it a watch. For that kind of price, you get to bust out the SAT words. “Beautiful chronograph, honey!”
Year 2 Anniversary Gifts
Traditional: Cotton / Want Les Essentiels Tote
And you thought that the “cotton” anniversary was going to be something silly like a shirt — or a Q-Tip. Get this classic, everyday tote that has 4 deep interior pull-out pockets (more rooms to lose things) and leather snap closures for shoes, hats, groceries, and one loved-to-death stuffed koala.
Modern: China / Ben Medansky Pour Over Dripper
You can either rely on your kid to make an ashtray out of Play-Doh, or you can get this aesthetically superior ceramic pour over from L.A.’s hottest artist, Ben Medansky. (Or, have it both ways and check out Medansky’s tips on making cool things out of ceramics). Either way, someone is getting a very hip cup of coffee for their anniversary without any barista attitude.
Year 3 Anniversary Gifts
Traditional: Leather / Cuyana Structured Cinch Bag
Cuyana means “to love” in Quechua (which means “a language spoken in the Andes.”), and that’s what all this bag is made for. Your spouse will love it. And because you love her, you’re going to buy this accessory made in Italy from smooth full-grain leather. Hopefully, this will lead to all the cuyana you can handle.
Modern: Crystal, Glass / Lisa Hall Seaglass Jewelry
Inspired by Lisa Hall’s childhood in coastal Maine, this is jewelry that — like your marriage — has been tumbled, tossed, and eroded for years until it becomes its own unique, beautiful piece of art. (It may not be the metaphor you want to go with when you’re exchanging gifts over dinner.)
Year 4 Anniversary Gifts
Traditional: Linen, Silk / Journelle Caron PJ Set
Tuxedo-styled silk pajamas are the perfect combination of stylish and sexy. As long as her legs are under the comforter, the kids can come in and out of the bedroom all night without having any idea what’s about to happen — because nothing gets you 2 in the mood like the kids coming in and out of the bedroom all night.
Modern: Appliances / OXO On
“Appliances” in this case probably refers to something pretty robust — your dishwashers or dryers — but that’s about as romantic as saying, “Honey, can you wash this for me?” But, one of the Speciality Coffee Association Of America’s 10 certified home brewers, which features a Rainmaker Shower Head that evenly disperses water for optimal saturation and maximum flavor extraction? That says, “Honey, that was a hell of a night.”
Year 5 Anniversary Gifts
Traditional: Wood / Canoe
Obviously, this is going to go one of 2 ways: She’s going to be blown away at how insanely romantic it was for you to interpret something as simple as “wood” into a way for you both to escape into the tranquility of nature (and not sink); or she’s going to demand to know where the hell you expect to put it. True love is a gamble, man.
Modern: Wood Thing / Frank Lloyd Wright Coonley Wood Frame
Fallingwater. The Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. The Avery Coonley House. Your dresser. All places where the influence of the 20th century’s most respected architect can be felt. As much as critics have praised the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, they’ve never seen this vacation photo of your family posing with sombreros at EPCOT.