Regardless of how long you’ve been married, it can be a challenge to buy anniversary gifts for him — especially if he has everything he could possibly want or need.
For example, my husband and I are coming up on our 31st wedding anniversary. You would think after all of this time that buying him a gift has gotten easier. Well, in fact, it’s the opposite.
However, with a theme or hobby in mind, it is possible to find an anniversary gift that will surprise and delight your spouse (and mine) this year and each subsequent year you’re married.
In fact, this advice helped me get him what I think is the best gift I’ve ever given him. But more about that in a bit.
Unique anniversary gifts for him when he has everything
You know what is an irreplaceable gift for the hard-to-buy-for husband? A one-of-a-kind experience.
For example, you could surprise your outdoorsy spouse with an Alaska unleashed trip or another kind of trek.
If you decide to take a trip across the pond, be sure to book one of these hottest hotels in London to elevate your trip to the next level.
On the other hand, if you decide to make that anniversary trip to New York City, do what my husband and I always do when booking a hotel. We choose a property that’s within walking distance of places we want to visit.
You see, we’re native New Yorkers and prefer walking everywhere. That’s why on my last visit to the Peloton studios, I booked a hotel near Peloton NYC, and I’d do it again.
Here are additional ways to think about themes, hobbies and other interests to find the best anniversary gifts for him.
Anniversary year themes
Sometimes these themes overlap, which makes it easier to come up with gift ideas. For example, here are some anniversary year themes where the traditional and modern take is the same:
- 16th anniversary: coffee or tea
- 17th anniversary: wine and/or wine and spirits
- 19th anniversary: jade
- 29th anniversary: tools
Of course, the biggie anniversaries–25th and 50th–have overlapping themes, too. That is, a 25th wedding anniversary is a silver wedding anniversary, in both traditional and modern themes. And the 50th anniversary is a golden anniversary, both for traditional and modern gift themes.
However, many other anniversary years have different themes when looking at modern or traditional gift ideas. Even so, you can still find unique gifts for him.
One-year anniversary gifts for him
The modern theme for a first anniversary gift is clocks. On the other hand, the traditional theme for a first-year-of-marriage gift is paper.
So, what’s an ideal one-year anniversary gift for him? A timepiece for a modern present or something related to paper for a traditional gift.
“One of my favorite anniversary gifts was my first,” says Michelle Price from Honest and Truly about the traditional paper anniversary. “In my mind that is absolutely perfect for tickets. So, I got my husband tickets to the baseball All-Star game since he loves baseball so much. It was such a fun surprise.”
You can use an online platform like StubHub to get tickets to a baseball game or another event.
First anniversary gift ideas
Here are some other ideas for traditional gifts for a one-year anniversary:
- Signed copy of a book from your husband’s favorite author
- Tickets to a concert or theater show he’s always wanted to see
- Card game you can play together (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?)
Susannah Brinkley Henry of Feast + West kept it simple when creating a paper anniversary gift for her husband. “I gave him printed photos from our honeymoon to hang in our home,” she explains.
Book him an unforgettable anniversary experience
It’s easy to create a memorable anniversary gift for him with an experience. And experiences can come in different forms.
For instance, there is Michelle’s earlier example of taking her husband out to the ball game for their one-year wedding anniversary. In fact, that gift ticked two boxes at once.
One, it had that one-year traditional anniversary theme. And, two, it was an experience gift.
Gift of relaxation
Gen La Rocca of Two Cloves Kitchen gave her spouse the gift of relaxation as his experience gift.
“I found a business that has large salt water baths in private rooms that you float in to relax,” she explains. “I bought several “floats” and he looked forward to this time to just take a break with no screens or obligations.”
FYI, water is the modern and traditional anniversary theme for 22 years of marriage. So, a float tank gift like Gen’s is the perfect 22nd anniversary gift for him.
Other experiential anniversary gift ideas
Other experiences to book for an anniversary gift? A massage, wine-tasting class for the would-be wine connoisseur (wine is the 17th anniversary theme mentioned earlier) or a ride in a hot air balloon — assuming he’s not afraid of heights.
Also, air is the modern and traditional theme for the 23rd anniversary. So a perfect choice for him if you’ve been married for 23 years–and, of course, he isn’t afraid of heights.
Use his alma mater as gift inspiration
Is one of your spouse’s favorite hobbies spending every Saturday in fall watching his alma mater play college football? Or, is he a bit crazy every spring for March Madness basketball because his school always makes an appearance?
This describes my husband to a T. He went to graduate school at the University of Michigan so is a devout fan watching football on fall Saturdays and basketball in the winter and spring.
Therefore, whenever I’m stumped on a gift to give him, I’ll buy something featuring Michigan maize and blue. This includes this Michigan car seat cover, which our dogs Oscar and Sadie love.
Another year I got him a University of Michigan outdoor flag. That way, we could fly it outside our home on Michigan football Saturdays.
Alumni anniversary gifts
Alumni gear is a popular choice. According to the Sports Business Journal, collegiate fans spend more than $7 billion annually on college-related products, ranging from apparel to accessories.
On the other hand, you could go with one of those aforementioned experience anniversary gifts by getting him tickets to a fall football game back in that college town.
My cousin David also attended the University of Michigan, and his wife got him football tickets as a gift one year. I loved seeing their pictures from Ann Arbor and specifically Michigan Stadium on Facebook.
Art Fair in Ann Arbor is one of America’s great outdoor art destinations.
Last-minute anniversary gifts for him
Are you a procrastinator? Then you’ll want to have a last-minute anniversary gift idea or two at the ready should you forget to do your shopping earlier.
One of the best last-minute gifts to give? A subscription box for him.
Subscription boxes for him
This is a perfect anniversary gift option because you can buy it the same day you need it. Then, it shows up on a regular basis for the next three or six or 12 months, so he gets to enjoy the gift for months to come.
Plus, men really do love subscription boxes. One industry analysis showed that more men sign up for subscription boxes than women.
My favorite subscription box marketplace is Cratejoy.com.
DIY anniversary gift for him
If you’re a crafty person or an excellent cook or mixologist, then you can put together a DIY anniversary gift for him.
For example, you can use these DIY beverage recipes to create an experiential gift at home. That is, you buy all of the ingredients, present the recipes for him to choose from and then you can whip up his new favorite drink to toast your anniversary celebration.
Final thoughts: My best anniversary gift for him
As I mentioned at the top of this article, this past year I got my husband what I think is the best gift I’ve ever gotten for him. It was a combination 30th anniversary and retirement gift–in 2023 he retired early from his career in education.
Even though the 30th anniversary gift themes are pearl (traditional) and diamond (modern), I didn’t use them for my gift inspiration. Instead, I reached out to an artist that my husband loves named Bob Beck.
We got to know his work when we lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he is also based. Over a few decades we purchased a number of his paintings.
So, I asked him if I could commission a painting for my husband as a gift. And that’s exactly what I did. We were thrilled with the final results.
Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life