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A modern guide to traditional anniversary gifts

Wedding anniversaries mark the milestones in a marriage. They provide an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and to re-connect romantically as a couple. When it comes to anniversary gift ideas, it’s true that traditional rules exist, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to them. Here at TouchNote, we like to combine the traditional with fresh ideas. 

So if your anniversary is coming up and you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, what follows will be essential reading… 

The original traditions 

Paper for the first anniversary, wood for the fifth, crystal for the 15th… You’ve probably heard some of the traditions surrounding wedding anniversary gifts but where did they come from? According to, they date back to medieval times. Individual items were chosen for good fortune and prosperity, and the value of each gift rose in accordance with the number of years invested in the marriage. Hence, sapphire for a 45th wedding anniversary and diamond for a 60th. But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of novel ideas up our sleeve. For starters, you can check out TouchNote’s unique range of gifts here.

A TouchNote take on anniversary gifts

Whatever your opinion of the year-by-year ‘rules’ for anniversary gifts, the most important thing is that you mark the occasion in one way or another. A good starting point would be to take a look through your wedding photos or honeymoon album and earmark a few images that make you smile. With TouchNote it’s easy to upload photos and create custom anniversary cards.

One year anniversary

Paper is the tradition. Why not give it a fresh spin by taking a line from your ‘first dance’ song and getting it framed? Or you could go back a bit further and have a picture of the venue of your first date framed. Too schmaltzy? How about a new book by your partner’s favorite author, some monogrammed stationary or tickets to a concert or play? #DateNight.

Five year anniversary

Woody Harrelson, Woody Allen, Tiger Woods (I think you’re getting it) – the five year anniversary is all about wood. A wood-framed picture of the two of you is the go-to but there’s no reason why you can’t be a bit creative. How about a trip to an off-grid lakeside wood cabin – just the two of you – or a good old-fashioned campfire in the back garden with some s’mores? 

10 year anniversary

Traditionally, a decade of marriage is marked by gifts made of tin or aluminum. How about a monogrammed hip flask or an aluminum water bottle with a message inscribed around the rim? For something a bit more extravagant, you might consider a pasta maker or a countertop citrus press. Either one is guaranteed to take your weekend brunching to a whole new level. 

15 year anniversary

Ah, crystal. This is definitely something we can work with. Jewelry is the obvious choice  – hello Swarovski – but there’s also glassware to consider. For example, crystal champagne flutes, a set of tumblers or a vintage carafe. These make ideal gifts as they are something you can enjoy together for years to come. And, a quick hack if you’re short on time: surprise them with a bottle of Cristal.

20 year anniversary

China is the tradition for a 20th wedding anniversary but these days the modern alternative is platinum. Platinum is a rare metal with a high density and purity, which means it lasts a long time – hence its association with enduring love. Yes, platinum jewelry is expensive. But the good news is, it doesn’t fade or show wear over time so it’s a good investment. 

30 year anniversary

Pearl. This might be our favorite anniversary tradition of all. Just like a good marriage, pearls are cultivated over long periods of time. They come from oysters, which are craggy and ugly on the outside but beautiful on the inside. And let’s face it, after 30 years of marriage, even those with the hottest ‘shells’ might be losing a bit of their luster. If pearl jewelry isn’t really their thing, how about choosing something with mother-of-pearl detailing? Or, you could book a restaurant that serves oysters on ice.

40 year anniversary

Ruby. The red fire at the heart of a well-cut ruby signifies that the flame of love is still burning bright. The obvious go-to is a ruby pendant necklace or a set of cufflinks inset with rubies. But a large bouquet of red roses is a good alternative. Or you could treat them to something delicious: a homemade red velvet cake or a bottle of ruby port?

50 year anniversary

After half a century of ‘to have and to hold in sickness and in health’, there’s only one thing that will do: gold. Symbolizing prosperity, strength and endurance, a beautiful gold gift says it all. It doesn’t have to be jewelry though. It could be something for the home, something hand-engraved or even a gold bottle of Prosecco. Choose something that reflects the memories you’ve made over the years and that makes you smile. 

Send personalized cards with TouchNote

With TouchNote, you can choose one of your wedding photos and design a photo upload card.

There’s no need to go to the post office. We’ll send your TouchNote anniversary card, free of charge, anywhere in the world. Make every wedding anniversary memorable with TouchNote.

TouchNote / July 2022
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