gifts they might actually want

The Strategist’s Wedding-Anniversary Gift Guide

Photo: FOX

Whether you’ve been married one year or 20, if you like your marriage, 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 50th, etc.), we’ve got ideas for one-year (paper), two-year (cotton), three-year (leather), four-year (fruit and flowers), five-year (wood), six-year (iron), seven-year (wool or copper), ten-year (tin or aluminum), 20-year (porcelain), 25-year (silver), and 50-year (gold) anniversaries, and will be creating specific guides for other years, too. To help you shop, we’ve organized the gifts on this list into the below categories; if you know the type of thing you’re looking for, you can click on any of the links below to jump straight to that section.

Bedding | Bath | Home décor | Home office | Kitchen and dining | Fashion and accessories | Tech and electronics | Travel | Hobbies and activities

Bedding

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, the 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.”

If the Frette sheets are a little out of your budget, Strategist 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.”

Matouk sheets also have a luxury feel without an extravagant price tag. They come highly recommended by five interior designers, including Vicente Wolf, who especially likes the Meridian style. “There’s something uniquely versatile about them — they’re sophisticated enough for city life, but even in a country home they work perfectly against a more rustic backdrop,” he says.

If your recipient is all set with sheets, how about something to make the ones they own feel even more sumptuous? According to Debi Mazar, that’s exactly what this spray she can’t live without does. “I spray this on my bed linens,” she says. “It smells fresh. You just need a little squirt. We spend so much time in bed that it’s nice when the sheets smell beautiful.”

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.”

Nap Dress enthusiast Harling Ross says she is “just as big a fan” of Hill House Home’s core line of home goods. She put this coverlet on her own wedding registry: “In warmer months, it seems like a really practical alternative to a heavier comforter,” Ross tells us. The 100 percent cotton coverlet is made in Portugal and comes in three colors beyond white.

Bath

“I used to be in the thick-towel camp because I didn’t know any better,” says illustrator Maira Kalman, who now swears by these thinner, waffle-weave towels. She tells us that the fabric “has great integrity and I feel intelligent when I’m using it.”

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).

Treat your recipient 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

When Strategist writer Rio Viera-Newton first saw this area rug in lilac at a photo shoot, she assumed it was an ultrafancy, $4,000 piece from ABC Carpet & Home. She was shocked to learn it cost under $100, and has since picked one up in sunny yellow.

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.

While it would be a splurge, this hamper is a twofer of sorts: It’s a functional storage vessel (with handles and a lid) that doubles as décor for any room you put it in. Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy, the owner-curators behind Blk Mkt Vintage, told us it is one of the items they put on their own wedding registry. “This basket is great because we have all the things, so we can stow and go, but also leave it out because it’s so visually pleasing,” says Handy.

Los Angeles–based mixed-media artist K’era Morgan sells textiles, including this woven throw with a pleasingly abstract pattern, that are made-to-order and finished by hand. Our senior editor Anthony Rotunno bought the throw after seeing it on our list of home décor from Black-owned businesses and says it is just as stunning in person — but not so precious that you can’t snuggle under it each night.

Tapered candlesticks and sculptural candles are having a moment — this six-pack of twisty candles from Hay combines the two trends in one multicolored set. “Twisted candles just make everything a little more visually interesting,” says Ross. “I have one set of these, but I love them so much I’m truly afraid to light them,” which is presumably why she told us she added another to her wedding registry.

A new print would be a sweet gesture — especially if it nods to a favorite pastime. Foodies, for instance, might appreciate this one by Taiwanese American artist Felicia Liang, who specializes in digital and colored-pencil illustrations. It features line drawings of Chinatown storefronts to spotlight businesses hard-hit by xenophobia and serves as “an illustrated artifact of a vibrant immigrant community,” according to the artist’s website.

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

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. Rotunno, our senior editor, has one of these and says, “The salt crystal is surprisingly formidable and casts a nice pink-orange glow when on.”

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

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.

$557

It’s definitely expensive, but this ceiling fan with hand-carved balsa-wood blades (which we called 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.

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.

Home office

These days, any handwritten letter feels special, even more so when it arrives on personalized stationery. Sarah Schwartz, the editor-in-chief of Stationery Trends magazine and an 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

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.”

Few things beat the gift of no back pain, but not all of those things look nice. Ervina Wu, the CEO and co-founder of beauty brand YINA, describes this ergonomic chair, which has a mesh backrest and can recline and move with your body, as both “beautiful and functional.”

Kitchen and dining

New York–based stylist Mecca James-Williams told us this pan, which is designed to steam, sauté, fry, and more, would be an ideal housewarming gift. The included spatula and steaming basket tuck inside the pan when not in use, so it helps save space in a small kitchen.

DII Swedish Dishcloths
$15 for 3

Besides being a bright and cheery addition to any kitchen, these Swedish dishcloths are “superabsorbent” and quick-drying according to Strategist contributor Ashlea Halpern. She told us that she used to “plough through half a roll of paper towels in one cleaning session” before she found the dishcloths, which she calls a “game changer” for moving toward a more sustainable kitchen.

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.”

From $10

Make a cozy anniversary-morning breakfast in bed with this petite waffle iron that won over former Strategist 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.”

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

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.”

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.”

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.

Also consider swapping out those fragile long-stem wineglasses for this more durable set recommended by former 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.”

Photo: Retailer

This set of “playful yet still refined” flatware from Mepra is a favorite of Liza Curtiss, the principal at Le Whit design studio, and comes in 19 different color options. You can get it in sets as small as service for one and as big as service for 12, so you’re likely to find an option that works for your dining-room needs.

Available in soft pastels, earth-toned neutrals, and deep jewel tones, these linen napkins (from Strategist-approved brand Hawkins New York) will bring a relaxed elegance to your recipient’s tablescape.

For the couple looking to be a little more sustainable, share a set of these stainless-steel straws to cut down on plastic waste. Fun fact: Steel is a traditional 11th-anniversary gift.

For the person who has everything else in their kitchen, how about a fabulous, extremely opulent juicer? Bling Empire cast member Chèrie Chan put this truly unique juicer that Dolce & Gabbana created with Smeg on her wedding registry, and we think it would make a perfect gift (maybe to chip in on) for someone with expensive taste who also has a taste for green juice. It has enough of a silver coloring that it could even pass for an unconventional 25th-anniversary gift.

On the opposite end of the price spectrum, this set of display-worthy bitters would look at home on any bar cart.

Fashion and accessories

This unisex jacket earned a spot on our list of the best raincoats for men and women. Travel blogger and photographer Renee Hahnel says, “The Scandinavian design will make you feel stylish even in an unglamorous downpour.” Buy one for each other to enjoy rainy-day adventures together.

We’ve named these cozy wool slippers both the best pair to wear and the best to gift. “They’re comfortable for walking around, and the wool feels warm, soft, and not at all itchy,” according to Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson. “They hug your foot and mold to your shape the more you wear them.”

If you want to go the jewelry route, these Ted Muehling earrings are an offbeat classic. Writer and illustrator Joana Avillez, who bought a pair for her mom, says that with this gift, “you are telling your loved one that you appreciate their appreciation for form and beauty and craft. You are in fact complimenting their brain.”

A quality watch for your partner doesn’t have to be a huge investment, according to James Stacey, watch expert and senior writer at Hodinkee, whom we consulted to find the best men’s watches under $200. Of this Timex, he says, “You’re getting a classic style that plays into Timex’s history as an original manufacturer in the States, but you’re also getting a proper mechanical hand-wound movement, which is typically not accessible at this price.”

A few minutes in this ultrasonic jewelry cleaner — the best-rated one on Amazon — will keep engagement rings, wedding bands, and any other jewelry you’ve gifted over the years sparkling.

Tech and electronics

Ecobee SmartThermostat
$205

There are lots of gadgets out there offering the promise of a Jetsons-esque smart home, but this voice-activated thermostat is one of Strategist contributor (and tech writer) Kyle Schurman’s favorites. He likes its “high-resolution screen, attractive design, and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, which reduces interference with other devices and improves overall performance.”

Instead of arguing over whose turn it is to vacuum, let this robot vac do the work. It’s a favorite among Amazon shoppers, with one reviewer writing, “With three cats and two kids, there are always messes, but this thing can keep up with it and more.”

Pet parents know that fur has a tendency to infiltrate every corner of their home. To clean those tight spots, like in-between the couch cushions, experts like this cordless, handheld vacuum. Chelsea Brownridge, founder of DogSpot, relies on it for tidying the company’s dog-friendly Brooklyn co-working space.

If your snoring keeps your partner up at night, the least you can do is gift them this white-noise machine (which New York deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff swears by) to drown out the noise.

Does your spouse miss your puppy all day at work? Are you hesitant to travel because you don’t want to leave the cat all alone? Solve all those pet-parent problems with this “interactive Wi-Fi camera that lets you watch, talk to, and play with your pets throughout the day via your smartphone,” recommended by writer Alison Freer.

A favorite of professional Instagrammers, this digital camera is perfect for vacation snaps, couple selfies, and, yes, pet pictures.

Travel

Couples who are always on the go will appreciate this carry-on-size bag that can be either rolled or carried by its handles. As we wrote in our roundup of the best duffel bags, “Leather accents dress up this wheeled bag, but water-resistant fabric and several interior and exterior pockets make it functional.”

$11 for 2

If you’re heading off on an international trip to celebrate your anniversary — or just want to get better sleep at home — buy a two-pack of these affordable (and effective!) eye masks. Strategist contributor Georgia Clark says they “deliver total darkness, superior comfort, and customizable straps.”

Whether you’re looking for vacation inspiration or just want to take a peek into ecofriendly aspirational homes, our editors say this coffee-table book offers “the most creative examples of sustainable dwellings that span some of the most striking and remote locations across the globe.”

Hobbies and activities

Spend a romantic evening stargazing with this entry-level telescope astronomers say is perfect for beginners. “It’s not too big to carry around and still gives a good view of the moon and planets,” says Mary Odekon, an astrophysicist and professor of physics at Skidmore College.

Photo: retailer

If you like to spend your weekends hitting the trails, this hiking backpack comes highly recommended by contributor Maggie Slepian, a backpacker who “splits her time between mellow canyon hikes in Death Valley National Park and 2,000-mile thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail.” After carrying it for hundreds of miles of hikes, Slepian says her “G4-20 pack barely shows any signs of wear and has proven so functional and comfortable that few, if any, treks have me strapping on something else.”

To bring a little one along, too, Steven John likes this hiking baby carrier. He says it’s comfortable to wear and features a trusty “five-point safety harness that keeps a little body securely in place.”