Nontraditional Anniversary Gifts

Thanks for all of your sweet anniversary messages! I love that we’re embarking on our fourth year together—so much to look forward to!

My husband and I are both procrastinators, so it wasn’t a shock when we realized neither bought gifts for the other ahead of time. Last year (because of said procrastination) we started a tradition and I’m thrilled we did it again this year, mostly because it means we didn’t have to do any extra planning ahead of time.

Here’s the deal: We go to a store that has a wide variety of stuff (in America we’d call this place Target or Walmart; in Italy we call it Emisfero) and buy things on the spot for each other. We have a budget (€20) and a time limit, and the only rule is that we have to stay clear of each other in the store. This involves lots of sneaky looks and peeking around the corner before you go down a new aisle. See? Lot’s of fun!

So what did we get each other? (excuse our messy coffee table, please)

What he got me: 
  • A can of “Mexican” chili beans. Ha! I’m curious to see how they’ll be.
  • Nail polish (with a base coat, for free!). He did good with this one; I love the color!
  • Socks! My feet are always cold and I can never find my comfy socks, so he bought me new ones.
  • A basket. He knows I like trying to be organized, and I’m always looking for baskets to put things in. Funny story: so in Italy, a “chi” is pronounced “kee.” So I saw this and said, “Keek? I forgot all about English for a second and then realized it said “Chic.” Ha!
  • Tiramisu. Basically, tiramisu is the one thing out here I REALLY can’t eat. It has alcohol, espresso, and raw eggs…all big no-nos when you’re pregnant. Well, he found a frozen version that didn’t have any of that! Unfortunately, it wasn’t very tasty, but it was the thought that counts. He also got a “3” candle since we’re three years old.

What I got him:
  • Three glass carafes. When we eat dinner out wine usually comes in a glass like that, so I bought three in different sizes.
  • Spicy salami. I wanted to get him a better quality piece of meat, but I was running out of my money, so that one had to do. It was pretty tasty! 
  • Flannel shirt. He has a thing for flannel, especially in the winter, so I couldn’t pass up getting him an Italian flannel shirt! 
  • Lemon cookies. He likes lemon and he likes cookies. They were in my budget, so it seemed like a good idea! 

We actually went shopping the Monday before our anniversary since it was Presidents’ Day and he had the day off, but we exchange gifts on the actual day. That night we also cooked a nice dinner at home, since we knew we wouldn’t be up for doing that on the actual day. The menu included: filet mignon with a gorganzola parmesan sauce (YUM), roasted potatoes, spinach bake, and fresh bread.

So that’s how we celebrated our third anniversary! Do you guys swap gifts or do anything nontraditional like this?


  1. I am really flabbergasted how much €20 will buy! You couldn't even get the basket or shirt in Swiss for 20CHF. 🙁 Very cute tradition though!

    I also didn't think at all about the tiramisu… my hub makes it with all those evil things. MmmMmm… better enjoy now before I become pregnant. 😛

  2. That is such a fun tradition! I wonder if I can convince my husband to do that with me haha. We usually end up buying a big gift for ourselves for our anniversary. Like furniture or appliances 😛

  3. That is such a fun tradition! It makes it even more fun. We swap gifts but we stick to the traditional gifts for each year. We think it's fun trying to figure out how to incorporate the traditional gift, last year was leather, and find something the other person would like!

  4. Oh my goodness…how I LOVE this idea! My husband and I are total procrastinators too and I may have to steal this idea! I'm loving all the gifts you got for eachother! SO much fun!

  5. I love that idea!! You could try making triamisu. You could use decaf coffee, cook the alcohol out of the marsala, and probably find a recipe where the eggs are cooked. When I made it, I whipped the eggs using a double boiler and added mascarpone to that.

  6. That is really fun and I love how different the gifts are! We got married over Labor Day weekend (Sept 5th) so we try to take advantage of the long weekend and go somewhere. Last year we spent 2 days in New York wine tasting and this year we're hoping to go camping and hiking 🙂

  7. We did non traditional last minute gifts for Valentine's day! For our anniversary in October we just go out to eat, same for our church wedding anniversary in January. We picked a nice restaurant and went. We splurge a little on dinner, but don't do gifts… this might have to become our idea for then too!

  8. I love accidental traditions that end up being awesome! So far our anniversary tradition is that he has to participate in some sort of exercise or inspection during our anniversary week. I cook for him on our actual anniversary and he has to cook for me (with absolutely no help from me) on another day when his work schedule isn't so crazy. And the days leading up to our anniversary we will randomly list off all the things we love about each other. By the way, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  9. Love this! So far we've only celebrated one anniversary but we take family pictures to watch ourselves change over the years.

  10. So fun! Ours wouldn't be as cool since we pretty much met, married, and live in the same town…but this is a good idea for a wedding gift! Thanks, so pretty!

  11. Aw I love this! I just googled “Non-Traditional Anniversary Traditions”, since I’m publishing my own version of this, and found this adorable article 🙂 We have as many bottles of whisky in our collection as years we’ve been married.

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