Creative Anniversary Gift Ideas


Every year, the same question arises: “What gift should I get my sweetheart for our anniversary?” There are countless baubles in stores, but coming up with creative anniversary gift ideas that are just right can be downright tricky. Here are some creative ideas to ensure your anniversary gifts right on target, whether it’s for a wedding anniversary, that exciting 1 year anniversary or an anniversary for boyfriend or girlfriend celebrating a special milestone.

Red roses always bespeak of love, but are they the most creative anniversary gift idea? Read on for some inspiration. CCL D
Red roses always bespeak of love, but are they the most creative anniversary gift idea? Read on for some inspiration. CCL D | Source

Classic Gift Baskets

Formal or casual, tender or humorous, gift baskets are always appreciated. They can be ready-made or customized to reflect your personal style. Show romance with simple yet elegant chocolate truffles tucked into a decorative tin, nestled up against a bottle of crisp champagne wrapped in a rich linen cloth and place both items in a basket trimmed with silk flowers.

Switch up the items based on the individual: a ceramic motorcycle piggy bank for a Harley fan; microwave popcorn packets and an on-demand movie gift card for the film buff; Epsom salts infused with pure lavender, presented in a cork-capped glass bottle along with a loofah, votive candle and mineral water, all wrapped in a luxurious Egyptian cotton terry towel tied with a satin ribbon for the lady who loves the spa. No matter your love’s interest, there’s a basket out there that fits the bill.

Don't think gift baskets have to be frilly, or even baskets, for that matter. Rev up your creativity: an oversized Chinese take-out food carton can serve as your basket, as could an ice bucket, toolbox or jewelry case--your imagination's the limit.

Gift Cascade: A Collection Themed to an Interest

Face it: after several years of gift-giving, it gets a little hard to be inventive and creative when selecting presents. For a special milestone, such as a 10th anniversary, 25th anniversary or 50th anniversary, pull out all the stops and really think about what would WOW your mate. Consider the concept of the gift cascade.

Snow Ski Gift Cascade Ideas

Black Diamond Cayenne Glove
Black Diamond Cayenne Glove

Don't let the cold keep you from enjoying outdoor fun. With three heat settings, these waterproof, battery-powered gloves will keep you toasty for hours!

 
Thule 5401 Snowcat 6-Ski Roof Mount Carrier for Raised Rail Factory Racks
Thule 5401 Snowcat 6-Ski Roof Mount Carrier for Raised Rail Factory Racks

Carry 6 pairs of skis, 4 snowboards or a combination of both up to your skiing adventure without scratching your car. Quick and easy to install!

 

Similar to gift baskets, the gift cascade approaches a theme as viewed from different perspectives. For example, say he’s into snow sports: you could give him a snowboard, and that alone would be an awesome gift. But if you gave him a collection of quality snowboarding-related items that took some time and effort to research, that would be more demonstrative of your caring nature.

If your budget allows (or, if you have planned far enough in advance to make sure your budget allows!), bundle together all the high-ticket items he's always wanted but never got for himself. Include in your gift cascade some equipment such as new bindings, the latest apparel (heated waterproof gloves, perhaps), a book on the sport commensurate with his skill level and reservations to a cuddly lodge located conveniently at the base of his favorite mountain resort, for which you, of course, have obtained lift tickets. That kind of collection is not a gift you can just throw together at the last minute, so your dedication and forethought--and, therefore, the message of how much you care and pay attention to his interests and desires--will definitely shine through.

To further enhance the impact of the gift cascade, don't reveal all the gifts at once. In the snow ski gift cascade example, for instance, give modest gifts early on your anniversary day. But quietly tuck the roof rack next to his car in the garage for him to find when he happens to go to his car. Way in advance of your anniversary, pre-arrange with the hotel you've selected to extend one of your smaller gifts to your honey upon check-in, and to also place one of the big gifts in the room for a surprise discovery when he opens the door. Spacing gifts out like this lengthens the fun and delight, and further demonstrates the time and attention you invested in making this anniversary the most memorable ever.

Consider different creative ways to present your gifts. Here, a pure silk handkerchief becomes a romantically luxurious wrapping. CCL D
Consider different creative ways to present your gifts. Here, a pure silk handkerchief becomes a romantically luxurious wrapping. CCL D | Source

The gift cascade concept is fully adaptable to whatever your sweetheart’s interests are. Is she an animal lover? Give her a picnic basket filled with an animal print blanket, favorite snacks and beverages (include a bag of animal crackers), add in a book on her favorite animal and take her on a picnic at a nature preserve. In the midst of your al fresco repast, present her with tickets to a fundraiser or other event that helps animals in need.


Northpoint Wild Side Faux Fur Sherpa Throw, Leopard, 50 x 60 Inch
Northpoint Wild Side Faux Fur Sherpa Throw, Leopard, 50 x 60 Inch

Super soft and cuddly faux fur reverses to warm and cozy micro sherpa.

 
Picnic at Ascot- Ultimate Insulated Picnic Cooler with Service for 4 with blanket - Olive Tweed
Picnic at Ascot- Ultimate Insulated Picnic Cooler with Service for 4 with blanket - Olive Tweed

Complete picnic supplies in insulated case. Just add food, drink and your loved one!

 
Heart Songs for Animal Lovers: Inspirign Stories of Incredible Devotion, Profound Courage, and Enduring Love Between People and Animals
Heart Songs for Animal Lovers: Inspirign Stories of Incredible Devotion, Profound Courage, and Enduring Love Between People and Animals

A collection of true stories by Emmy-nominated writer, animal advocate, and humorist Hester Mundis.

 
Dura-Trel 11200 Berkshire Potting Bench
Dura-Trel 11200 Berkshire Potting Bench

This potting bench will never fade, crack, peel, or rot, and its white color will remain vibrant for years to come.

 

Design your gift cascade to suit your situation. Other couples might enjoy golfing gift combinations: clubs, bag, clothing and a tee time set up at that exclusive club he’s had his eye on. Or, perhaps a gardening themed gift combo for her: a new potting bench, tools, gloves and, tucked into a humble terra cotta pot lined with sphagnum moss, plane tickets to view the famed gardens of Versailles--in France!

How to Design Your Gift Cascade

Simply start with a theme based upon something near and dear to your loved one’s heart. Pick something big and something small, always include a book and try to include tickets or reservations to some destination or event. Planning should start several weeks or more prior to the anniversary date. You can easily set up auto-reminders on your computer or mobile device to alert you at regular intervals when the fateful day is approaching. The “fateful day” is not your anniversary, but your planning kick-off day. This is the date you begin preparing for the anniversary surprise. Begin these reminders at least two months prior to the actual anniversary date to allow for changes and adjustments to your plan.

Milestone Anniversary Gifts

Year
Traditional
Modern
1st
Paper
Clocks
5th
Wood
Silverware
10th
Tin/Aluminum
Diamond Jewelry
15th
Crystal
Watches
25th
Silver
Silver
50th
Gold
Gold
While a charming nod to tradition to give a gift of, say, tin for a tenth anniversary, strongly consider making that a mere gesture as part of, rather than the entirety of, your gift.
Creamy Satin Silk Handkerchief - Red - Full-Sized 16"x16"
Creamy Satin Silk Handkerchief - Red - Full-Sized 16"x16"

Enrobe your gift in a satin-smooth, 100% silk kerchief, 16” square. Available in 12 colors.

 
Bag of Assorted Pewter Heart Charms
Bag of Assorted Pewter Heart Charms

Five beautiful pewter heart charms presented in a romantic red organza bag. A lovely accent for your presents.

 
Peacock Gift wrapping paper
Peacock Gift wrapping paper

Strut your stuff with this stunning and original peacock wrapping paper.

 

Your first task is to buy event tickets, secure a hotel and make flight reservations, as these require the most advance notice for best selection. Then, purchase the big ticket item or start earmarking funds for the purchase. Next, look for books and other small thematic gifts. As you shop, try to make choices that tempt all the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The more sensory-rich your gifts, the more memorable they will be!

Complete all purchasing and wrapping one week before the anniversary date, saving you from any last minute panic attacks that arise from discovering you haven’t finished your gift preparation yet. With automatic reminders set up, your forgetful days are over and you can relax and smile with the foreknowledge of surprises yet to come.

Budget Anniversary Gifts

While extravagant items are nice to lavish upon your love, the truth is, you don’t have to be a big spender to make a big impression. There are plenty of ways to impress your partner on the cheap, without making it seem cheap.

Perhaps your partner longs for an exotic tropical getaway, but you can barely afford tropical punch at the grocer’s. If you live near enough to a lake or ocean, take a drive out there with just you and your camera. Walk right on out to the water’s edge and, using your finger, carve your and your true love’s initials in the sand, with a little plus sign between the monograms, just like your grandparents did on the old oak tree back in the day. Draw a big ol’ heart around the initials, step back, and snap a picture of your artwork. Try to capture the moment just as a wave laps gently at the edges of the heart. Print an 8”x10” of the image, pick up a frame at the dollar store, wrap it beautifully and present it to your beloved. Accompany the work with a note declaring how your love stretches out as far as the sea, or how the sands of time will never erode your love. Sentimentality trumps big spending in the hearts of true lovers.

Waves may wash away the letters, but the sands of time can never wash away your love.  CCL A
Waves may wash away the letters, but the sands of time can never wash away your love. CCL A | Source
An inexpensive, creative anniversary gift idea that's high in sentimental value. CCL A
An inexpensive, creative anniversary gift idea that's high in sentimental value. CCL A | Source

Another fun photo op idea is to take your love into one of those photo booths found at amusement parks and arcades. Take both regular poses and goofy faces, and get at least one of you kissing each other. Take the photo strip home and tuck it in a drawer for a while (“out of sight, out of mind”). Later, arrange the strip in an over-sized, matted frame, perhaps tucking a memento or two of the day into the corners under the glass. You might even scrawl a message of love or an inside joke on the mat next to the picture. Now you have a framed slice of life with which to surprise your sweetie.

Other budget gifts can be easily conjured with creativity triumphing over financial constraints. Begin with a thematic list of what your dear one enjoys, and branch off from that. Think back over the past year of what lectures she’s attended, shows he never misses on TV, that exciting spa she bubbled on about last year or his pride in his National Geographic magazine collection. Draw from what you know about the person to determine the type of gifts that would bring delight.

Then, from the obvious gifts normally purchased in stores, springboard to asking yourself out-of-the-box questions. The seaside valentine idea arises from the question, “What if we could bring the beach inside our home?” A trip to Italy might be out of the question, but how about signing you and your spouse up for an Italian food cooking class to take together? Looking at things from a completely new point of view can spur countless creative concoctions.

Keep It Real

Select anniversary gifts true to your partner that honors you both as a couple. The purpose of a gift is to celebrate a wondrous occasion, not to show off how much stuff you can buy. A conservative, thoughtful gift will mean more in the long run than a pricey, ostentatious trophy. Still, a once-in-a-lifetime surprise for a 5th anniversary, 10th anniversary, 25th anniversary or 50th anniversary creates special memories that will fill loving hearts with joy and appreciation for years to come. Whether your bathe your sweetie in a modest or expensive outpouring of gifts, make sure that the sentiments expressed are genuine. That alone is the most important ingredient to ensure your creative anniversary gift will be the one that's remembered above all others years down the line.

© M.S. Ross - All Rights Reserved

All photos used by license and/or permission.

Creative Commons Licenses: CCL A and CCL D

Best Gift Ever

What is the most creative or memorable anniversary gift you have given or received? Share your story in the comments section below.

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Comments 12 comments

marellen 5 years ago

Miss Mellie....you have some outstanding gift ideas. I love receiving a basket filled with favorite things. This makes a wonderful Christmas gift too. Thanks for sharing.


Bethany Culpepper 5 years ago

Very fun ideas! Just in time, too.


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 5 years ago Author

Thanks, marellen and Bethany. I think these ideas would also come in handy for birthdays, and definitely for Valentine's Day!


The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago

Great ideas! After a while, it is tough to think of good presents. Your suggestions will definitely help!


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 5 years ago Author

Glad to be of service, Dirt Farmer. Gifts are always more memorable when their selections are tailored for the recipients!


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

Love your budget ideas!


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Maren. I actually think those budget ideas are soooo romantic, regardless of price tag!


geoffclarke profile image

geoffclarke 4 years ago from Canada

Wow - I've given and received several romantic anniversary gifts over the last 30 years but I think your 'message in the sand' beats them all! Now all I need to do is find a beach!


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 4 years ago Author

...or a lake, geoffclarke. Or, if you're really in a pinch and nowhere near a body of water: buy some play sand from the toy store and spread it over your front porch, driveway or other flattish surface. Now, mix up some sudsy bubbles in a bucket (suds = seafoam). Then, draw your initials/heart/other smoochy icon in the sand, and grab a friend to help you with the next part. Give your friend the camera and start filming as you gently wash your bucket-created "waves" upon the "shore." Filming with a motion camera from which you can later grab individual frames is ideal; using a regular still image camera might be trickier in this process, since you'll have to manually create each wave.

By the way, I don't consider this cheating on the image creation. After all, what says "I love you" more than going to all this trouble just to get that perfect romantic shot?? ;)

Glad you liked the idea, and I'm sure your sweetie will love it!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

I wish they had AMAZING; WONDERFUL; FANTASTIC buttons above to push.

Hello, Miss Mellie . . .this was a

GREAT read! Amazing presentation. Informative and very helpful. Voted up and away for I love your writing style and I am now honored to FOLLOW you.

Please keep up the great work and I Invite YOU to check out my hubs, that is if you need a good laugh.

And I would love for you to be a follower. That would make my day. Highest Regards,

Kenneth Avery,

from Hamilton, a small (but proud) town in northwest Alabama that Norman Rockwell would have been happy to put on a magazine cover. Much Peace and Success to you!


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 4 years ago Author

Wow, Kenneth, thanks for your overflowing praise (and your complimentary fan mail, too). Glad to have such an avid fan, but I'm mostly glad you found the information helpful and entertaining. Wishing you all the best!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Miss Mellie, you are very welcome. I told only the truth in my fan mail. I would love for you to follow me so I could learn from you on how I can improve my writing. I will be looking for you. And MY BEST to you also.

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