10 symbolic anniversary gifts for every year you and your S.O. are together

While we’re all for embracing modern relationship ethos in the year 2020, there are certain old-school, nostalgic traditions we find charming. When it comes to anniversaries, for instance, we love the idea of giving a specific gift based on the symbols for each year a couple spends together. It’s a sweet, simple gesture for showing your partner how much you care that’s also deeply rooted in tradition.

The practice of anniversary-specific gift-giving is said to date back to the Middle Ages, and, with each year of marriage (or dating, if you like), the symbols represent the strengthening of your relationship. It starts out simple: Your first anniversary together is symbolized by paper, which is followed by more hearty materials, including pottery, gemstones, and steel. Though there are several versions of each milestone anniversary gift material, there’s something endearing about using the traditional list that dates back for many centuries.

These gift ideas, broken down by year, are the perfect way to celebrate another trip around the sun with your special someone. Scroll below to find your anniversary year to see which gift you should get for your S.O. Plus, now you’ll always have an anniversary gift idea when you follow these rules.

10 Milestone anniversary gifts:

1Year 1: Paper anniversary – “I love you” book

i love you book, paper anniversary gift ideas

Shop it Uncommon Goods

Like the earliest stages of a year-old relationship, paper is fragile, but when bound in a book and looked after properly, can last a lifetime. This thoughtful book allows you to fill out what you love most about your partner by providing prompts you can write in yourself. Reminisce about your most romantic moments, and make this anniversary gift a keepsake for years to come.

2Year 2: Cotton anniversary – Dopp kit

cotton anniversary toiletry bag

Shop it West Elm

Cotton is woven together from many threads that are intertwined, symbolizing the way you and your partner’s lives are becoming more interconnected. For the cotton anniversary, we love these functional dopp kits. Your S.O. can take them on their next travel trip, or they can simply use them as a handy place to store all their essentials—either way, this item is something everyone needs.

3Year 3: Leather anniversary – Monogrammed charger roll-up

leather anniversary charger carrier mark and grahm

Shop it Mark & Graham

Leather is durable, strong, and protecting. The leather anniversary is a symbol of this continuing strength between you and your loved one. Give them this monogrammed charger roll-up that easily stores all those cords and cables in one handy place. It comes in 15 colors, too.

4Year 4: Fruit and flower anniversary – Apple tree kit

fruit flower anniversary apple tree kit

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Okay, so flowers tend to get a bit overdone in dating, but by the time you’ve hit your fourth anniversary, your relationship has fully blossomed. Traditionally, this anniversary was celebrated with fresh blooms and ripened fruit, but we love this modern take: an apple tree you two can plant and watch grow together. How sweet.

5Year 5: Wood anniversary – Natural cheese board

wood anniversary anthropologie cheese board

Shop it Anthropologie

By year five, your relationship is solid and you have deep roots that are entwined. This beautiful, natural olive wood cheese board is something you’ll both use, whether that’s for wine nights and entertaining or just for a cozy at-home date night.

6Year 6: Iron anniversary – Wine rack

iron anniversary wine rack

$67 (orig. $89.50)
Shop it Pottery Barn

Iron is another symbol of the strong, durable bond you and your partner share, which is one that is transforming into something even more special by year six. Entertain yourselves (and your guests) with this vintage, industrial wine rack to hold all your favorite vino.

7Year 7: Copper and wool anniversary – Cozy throw

wool anniversary gifts, urban outfitters wool throw rainbow

Shop it Urban Outfitters

Chosen for their ability to conduct heat together, copper and wool represent the way a relationship should feel: warm and comforting after being seven years together. Grab your partner and snuggle under this cozy brushed wool and cotton blanket that’s flanked by rainbow striping at the edges.

8Year 8: Bronze anniversary – Photo frames

bronze anniversary gift ideas, anthropologie bronze picture frames

Shop it Anthropologie

Bronze is comprised of two metals: copper and tin. Together, the metals are stronger than they are apart. After eight years, your bond is solid because of the strength you provide to one another. Commemorate your bond by gifting your partner these beautifully minimal photo frames, complete with photos of the two of you, of course.

9Year 9: Pottery anniversary – Ceramic sugar bowl

anthropologie sugar bowl set, pottery anniversary gift ideas

Shop it Anthropologie

A marriage or a relationship is formed and shaped over time into something beautiful, just like pottery. It just takes patience. That’s why you should get your partner this ceramic sugar bowl. They will think of you every time they add a little something sweet to their cup of coffee with this mint-colored sugar pot.

10Year 10: Tin and aluminum anniversary – Diamond ring

tin anniversary wedding present anniversary gift guide

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Tin and aluminum are symbolic of one decade spent together because the metals won’t rust, meaning they won’t wear down. They’re also pliable metals, showing the flexibility it takes to maintain a relationship for 10 years. By your tenth anniversary, your partner deserves something special, and though it’s more of a modern take on the traditional anniversary gift, a simple diamond ring is an everlasting way to show your partner how much you love the bond you share.