Traditional Anniversary Gifts

A girlfriend was recently struggling with what to get her husband for their third anniversary and she asked me what the traditional gift was.  I admit, I had absolutely no idea.

The tradition of giving gifts on a wedding anniversary dates back to the middle ages.  There's a lot of history on the subject if you're interested (for resources click here) but the gist is it started with the medieval Germans in Central Europe celebrating major milestone anniversaries, the 25th and the 50th.

"According to Hallmark research, the custom of associating silver with the 25th wedding anniversary and gold with the 50th wedding anniversary appear to have originated in the Germanic region of Middle Europe. The silver anniversary included a husband giving his wife a silver garland when they had been married 25 years."  Source:

In the 1920s Emily Post wrote about the eight anniversaries everyone should know and associated symbolic gifts to each. (1st, 5th, 10th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th).   

Here is a list of the reported traditional anniversary gifts.

First  -  Paper
Second  -  Cotton
Third  -  Leather
Fourth  -  Fruit and Flowers (Emily Post also suggests Linen)
Fifth  -  Wood
Sixth  -  Candy or Iron
Seventh  -  Copper or Wool
Eighth  -  Bronze
Ninth  -  Pottery
Tenth  -  Tin or Aluminum
Eleventh  -  Steel
Twelfth  -  Silk
Thirteenth  -  Lace
Fourteenth  -  Ivory
Fifteenth  -  Crystal
Twentieth  -  China
Twenty-fifth  -  Silver
Thirtieth  -  Pearl
Thirty-fifth  -  Coral
Fortieth  -  Ruby
Forty-fifth -- Sapphire
Fiftieth  -  Gold
Fifty-fifth  -  Emerald
Sixtieth  -  Yellow Diamond
Seventy-fifth  - Diamond

There are no traditional gifts for anniversaries not listed, though suggestions for modern gifts can be found online for years 1 - 100.  


Tina said...

My husband is good at this. For our 1st anniversary he got a framed piece of paper with facts & events from our wedding date. Our 2nd was a cotton hammock, 3rd was a leather photo album, and 4th was a fruit bouquet from Edible Arrangements with a little "4" shaped pineapple.

the hostess said...

Tina...your husband is one-of-a-kind. Well done!