gifts they might actually want

The Strategist’s Wedding-Anniversary Gift Guide

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Whether you’ve been married one year or 20, it’s always a good idea to mark your wedding anniversary with a gift for your spouse. But no matter how long you’ve been together, it can be hard to come up with new ideas each year. To help you out, we’ve combed through the most beloved products in the Strategist archive to find ones that would make great anniversary gifts for husbands, wives, or, if you’re feeling very generous, a special couple in your life. If you’re sticking to traditional anniversary-gift guidelines (like paper gifts for the first anniversary, gold for the fiftieth etc.), we’ve got ideas for one-year (paper), two-year (cotton), five-year (wood), 10-year (tin or aluminum), and 50-year (gold) anniversaries, and will be creating specific guides for other years, too.

Bedding

Frette Hotel Classic Sheet Set (Queen)

It might be time for a bedding upgrade if you’re still sleeping on the same sheets you got from your wedding registry. Michael Shome, director of photography at Architectural Digest, calls Frette sheets “the fantasy version of Upper East Side hotel-bed linens” and recommends this set for its “chic and simple double-line embroidery.”

Italic Slumber Cotton Sleep Set

If the Frette sheets are a little out of your budget, Strategist junior writer Chloe Anello thinks this set is a convincing dupe at a fraction of the price. After testing both, she admits, “I actually slept better on the less expensive version.”

Cultiver Linen Sheet Set

There are lots of linen sheets out there, but we’re especially impressed with the color range offered by Australian brand Cultiver. As we wrote when testing them out, “It’s one thing to sell purple linen sheets and another thing entirely to sell a berry-stained color that could somehow pass as a very interesting neutral.”

Airy Linen Sheet Set

You might think linen sheets are scratchy, but Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens assured us this set from Casper has “the kind of softness you really only get from a well-loved T-shirt.”

Bath

Weezie Bath Towel

We love the idea of hanging matching monogrammed towels in the bathroom, and these minimal ones from Weezie are a little bit playful. According to interior designer Ariel Okin, they’re “really soft and have a classic look to them that ties the bathroom together really nicely.” Order them with your initials or your private nicknames (up to ten characters).

Brookstone Towel Warmer

When it’s cold out, throw your monogrammed towel in this warmer pre-shower to bundle up in afterward. It comes recommended by writer Michelle Markowitz, who says, “Putting on a freshly warm towel straight from this towel warmer feels like receiving the best hug of your entire life, like the sensation of being wrapped up by your mother in a sunbaked towel right after climbing out of the pool.”

Vivo Per Lei Body Salt Scrub

Treat your partner to this skin-softening body scrub that’s a favorite among Amazon reviewers. One satisfied customer writes, “I look smooth, healthy, and glowing from my neck, shoulders, and chest to my hands, elbows, and feet.”

Home Décor

1960s IBM Standard-Issue Clock

Ming Thompson, an architect and principal at the design firm Atelier Cho Thompson, says this “reproduction of the classic mid-century IBM clock” is a must-buy for a first home that’d look equally good in a home office or living room.

Noguchi Akari Table Lamp Model 1N

Multiple Strategist editors own (and love) Noguchi lantern-style lamps. Senior editor Simone Kitchens says hers “creates this cozy, glowy living-room feel,” and associate editor Katy Schneider recently bought a hanging version that she says “casts the loveliest, most diffuse light and looks very pretty and simple.”

Extra-Large Woven Storage Basket

We like storage baskets for corralling throw blankets, spare towels, and even kids’ toys. The handles on this sturdy model make it useful for toting laundry around as well.

Pursalt Original Himalayan Salt Lamp, 2-Pack

For a fun twist on the traditional 15th-anniversary gift — crystal — opt for a set of crystal-salt night-lights instead of a pricey glass vase. Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotunno has one and says, “The salt crystal is surprisingly formidable and casts a nice pink-orange glow when on.”

Orox Leather Co. Dublin Leather Tray

A subtle hint for the spouse always looking for their keys, this catchall tray would be perfect for a nightstand or entryway.

UrbanStems The Paloma

It may be predictable, but there’s still something nice about receiving a colorful bouquet of flowers on your anniversary. We tested out six flower-delivery start-ups and named UrbanStems “our absolute favorite” because of its “reasonable prices and unique arrangements.”

Anthurium Faux Flower

For something longer-lasting, Strategist associate editor Katy Schneider likes this faux single-stem anthurium.

Calathea ‘Medallion’

Whether your spouse has a green thumb or not, they can enjoy this colorful calathea we deemed the best overall plant to give as a gift — it’s impressive-looking but not too hard to keep alive.

Maverick 60-Inch Ceiling Fan

It’s definitely expensive, but this ceiling fan with hand-carved balsa-wood blades (which we dubbed the “Prius of ceiling fans”) will pay off in the long run, since it’ll only set you back $5 a year in energy costs. And it’s pleasant to look at.

Eddie Bauer Cabin Plaid Flannel Sherpa Throw

Cuddle under this affordable flannel blanket to stay warm on cold days. We said this very similar one adds “Catskills-cabin realness” to any room.

CB2 Light Grey Faux Fur Throw

You can also curl up under this faux-fur throw that experts say is the best one to gift. Decorist creative director Jessica McCarthy says it adds “instant warmth and elegance in any space.”

Home Office

Rifle Paper Co. Custom-Portrait Personalized Stationery

These days, any handwritten letter feels special, even more so when it arrives on personalized stationery. Sarah Schwartz, editor-in-chief of Stationery Trends magazine and editor at the Paper Chronicles told us this set from Rifle Paper Co. with a custom-illustrated portrait is “probably the coolest thing you can possibly get.” Buy it for your partner who’s into snail mail, or personalize a couples’ set for shared correspondence.

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer
Appointed 2020 Wall Calendar

For keeping track of events, date nights, and even next year’s anniversary, this handsome wall calendar will work with pretty much any design style. Stephanie Michaan, a New York–based interior designer and founder of The Interior, told us she likes Appointed styles because they’re “minimal and functional.”

Kitchen and Dining

ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide

You’ve mastered the KitchenAid stand mixer and the Instant Pot, so why not give sous vide cooking a try? Alan Sytsma of Grub Street tested the two leading models for home cooks and crowned the Joule the winner because, compared with the competition, “it’s a lot smaller and sleeker, and the app is filled with very solid recipes and videos that show you how to do everything.”

Dash Mini-Waffle-Maker

Make a cozy anniversary-morning breakfast in bed with this petite waffle iron that won over Grub Street writer Nikita Richardson. “No matter how much I worried that I would overfill the iron,” she says, “the Dash just kept spitting out tea-plate-size waffles that were perfectly browned and fluffy.”

Staub Cast-Iron 1.5-Quart Petite French Oven

Also in the mini-kitchen-gear genre, this tiny cast-iron French oven is the “perfect two-person pot,” according to Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder. She uses it to make everything from oatmeal and quinoa to kimchee stew and braised chicken thighs.

Wabash Valley Farms Whirley Pop Stove-Top Popper

Skip the movie theater and make “artisanal” popcorn at home with this fancy stove-top popper. Writer Hannah Morrill says it produces “the lightest, fluffiest, most fully realized popcorn pillows imaginable.”

Fleur de Sel Esprit du Sel

In the U.K., the traditional gift for an eighth anniversary is salt, which seems boring until you consider this chef-beloved fancy French sea salt. Jen Pelka, owner of the Riddler in San Francisco, told us, “It’s collected by hand from the surface of the water in the Esprit du Sel bays, then dried in the sun. Even by itself on popcorn with warm butter and nothing else, it’s perfect.”

Marin Blue Dinner Plate

Chances are, the high-maintenance formal china gifted from your registry is collecting dust on the shelves. Give yourself a break with these pretty dishes that are dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe. When we investigated status ceramic dishware, we found out that trendy Butler Bake Shop and Espresso Bar in South Williamsburg uses a similar Crate and Barrel set.

Duralex Made in France Picardie Clear Tumbler, Set of 6

Also consider swapping out those fragile long-stem wineglasses for this more durable set recommended by Strategist writer David Notis. He tells us, “They look nice, they can be repurposed for whiskey or mixed drinks, and they’re cheap enough that it’s not a huge deal if someone breaks one.”

Juliska Natural-Bamboo Flatware, 5-piece setting

If you’re getting bored with your basic flatware, we suggest mixing it up with this bamboo-handled set. Designer Shelley Johnstone says, “It’s a natural fit for outdoor entertaining, but it also looks beautiful paired with formal china and crystal in a dining-room setting.”

Dansk Classic Fjord Flatware 5-Piece Place Setting

Or maybe these wood-handled ones (which writer Lauren Levy considered for her wedding registry) are more your style.