No one absolutely needs these everyday luxuries, but they sure would be nice to have!
Like many women, I often say that I don’t want or need anything when it comes to birthday or anniversary gifts. But are there luxury items or convenient services that I would love to have if I could afford to spend money on everything I wanted? Of course!
Next time you hear your girlfriend say she doesn’t want anything, think about the kinds of practical luxuries or expensive items that she wouldn’t normally buy for herself but would love to have. Here are 5 indulgent services I would love to buy if I was willing to spend a little extra on myself.
Membership to One Medical
For $150 bucks a year, you get a membership to One Medical, a high-end exclusive primary healthcare network that allows you to book same-day appointments on your iPhone and never wait for another doctor’s appointment again. You can also make live video calls to nurses to ask any health questions you want 24/7. If your girlfriend hates wasting time going to the doctor and waiting for appointments 2 months out, this is a really nice luxury to have. You can buy a membership in 5 minutes online.
I love massages but never get them because they’re expensive. I would love to be gifted an hour long massage at a decent massage place – it doesn’t need to be a fancy spa! It’s easy to go on Groupon or Yelp, find a reputable massage spot near you, and buy a gift certificate for your girlfriend. She will love the hour of relaxation.
Michelin Star Reservation
I don’t have Michelin star meals very often, but I sure do enjoy them when I have the chance! And lunch reservations are a lot less expensive than dinner reservations if that’s an option. Make a reservation online, and you’ve got a thoughtful gift and an exciting evening planned in under 5 minutes. Check the Michelin website for Michelin star restaurants in your area. If there aren’t any near you, search Yelp for any nice restaurants with tasting menus you could try.
House Cleaning Service
I rarely pay for housecleaning, but if I wasn’t so frugal, I would definitely hire a cleaning service more often. I hate cleaning but I love living in a clean place. If your girlfriend is a neat person who often spends a lot of her own time cleaning, a gift certificate for house cleaning will be useful right away. You can find great deals on Groupon or Angie’s List.
New Experience or Extreme Sports
Has your girlfriend ever expressed interest in skydiving, chocolate-making, bartending, salsa dancing, hiking, or jet skiing? Groupon offers lots of local adventures and experiences in your city. Scroll through the list for fun activities that you can do together. Experience gifts are unique and show that you put more thought into her gift.
Do you often talk about traveling more or going on more adventures but always end up hanging around at home instead? It’s easy to surprise your girlfriend with a weekend trip somewhere nearby. All you have to do to show that you put thought into it is to make some quick hotel reservations online.
Looking for more birthday or anniversary gift ideas for women?
Scrambling to find a luxurious last minute gift for her that’s under 100 bucks? It’s easy! Just rely on her favorite brands.
Every time I go to the Apple store, I see accessories that I would love to have but are a little too expensive for an impulse purchase, like a wireless charging pad, a leather iPad case, a portable wireless keyboard, or new earphones.
Fortunately, these nice-to-have Apple goodies are often under $100 and make delightful gifts to pair with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop! You can order them online for last minute gift delivery or pick something up at your nearest Apple store.
Tiffany & Co. Jewelry
Okay, maybe not under $100 but pretty close! You can actually find necklaces, bracelets, and perfumes priced at $125 on the Tiffany & Co website.
Even if it’s a simple piece of jewelry, there’s no denying the magic of un-packaging a high end brand name gift like Tiffany jewelry. Even if there’s no Tiffany store near you, you can easily order online at the last minute and select quick delivery.
There are many generic gifts under $100 at Lululemon that any Lulu fan would love to have, like a sporty jacket or a tote bag. You can’t go wrong with high quality items that are useful for casual wear, working out, traveling, or just lounging around the house.
You can swing by your nearest Lululemon store at the last minute to pick up a gift, or order online for quick delivery.
Concert or Show Tickets
Does she have a favorite band or artist? Go to Ticketmaster, check out what concerts or Broadway shows are coming to your town in the near future, and surprise her with tickets!
It only takes 15 minutes to make a purchase online at the last minute, and she will love the thoughtful gift. Many event tickets will cost you less than $100.
All chocolate fans know that these are not your average luxury chocolates. During the Obama administration, the White House gifted special boxes of Fran’s Chocolates to foreign visitors. The packaging is high end and beautifully executed, so it’s not surprising that they were selected by the White House.
Fran’s is known to be expensive, but there are plenty of lovely gift packages available online for under $100. Plus Fran’s has very quick delivery options because they don’t want those chocolates melting at the last minute!
Like many people, I get restless sitting still on long haul flights for 10 hours, and I have trouble sleeping on planes. If I don’t plan things to do in advance on the flight, then it will feel like an uncomfortable eternity. Fortunately there are a lot of fun activities I’ve found to make the time pass more quickly.
Tablet Loaded with Movies and TV
Before you go, download some movies or TV series that you’ve been wanting to watch for a long time. Addictive TV series work well for long haul flights because unlike at home, you actually have the luxury to sit there and marathon a whole season of a TV series, all 12-24 episodes of thrilling cliffhangers.
It’s worth investing in some comfortable, noise cancelling headphones so you can really lose yourself in the entertainment instead of struggling to hear punchlines over the roaring jet engine in the background.
Organize Your Photos or Files on Laptop
I have files and photos saved everywhere – in Dropbox, on my laptop, on an external hard drive – that I need to sit down and take a few hours to organize. A long haul flight is the perfect time to do this. It’s actually enjoyable to look through old photos, and while it’s time-consuming to organize them, you can take your time doing it when there is nothing else to do for the next 10 hours. You’ll feel both productive and relieved having checked this huge task off your to-do list.
I call them one-way magazines because I take them on my long flights and they don’t come back with me. There’s a pile of magazines at home that I haven’t gotten around to reading but I’m saving for my next long flight. My rule is that nothing in the pile is allowed back in the house. So I end up reading magazines and leaving them wherever I finish them. I leave them on the plane on the way there, in the hotel, in the recycling bins I walk by, and on the plane on the way home. You actually feel pressure to read them on the plane because the sooner you read them, the less you have to carry off the plane. It’s a great feeling when your bag gets lighter and lighter until the final magazine is gone.
The long haul flight to your destination is a great time to do a little reading about your destination and figure out what activities you want to do when you get there. Trip planning takes a lot of time because you are reading reviews of landmarks and attractions, calculating distances and driving times, looking up wait times and ticket prices, making reservations, etc. Pick up a travel book before you go (or pay for the in flight wifi) and get excited about your trip on your way there.
Walk Laps or Stand in Line
On an overseas flight, the plane is usually pretty large. Combat the negative effects of sitting still for too long by getting up and walking around the cabin. Pause where there is a little room and stretch down to touch your toes. Reach your arms over your head a few times. Stand in line for the bathroom just to stand up and get your circulation going for a few minutes. Even if you’ve been sucked into a marathon of that new Netflix drama that just won an Emmy, take a break once in a while and take a lap around.
Answer a Prompted Journal
Are you one of those people who wish you journaled but never get around to it? There’s no better time to catch up than on a boring long haul flight. Make it easy for yourself by using a journal that prompts you with questions that you just have to think about and answer. Staring at a blank page is too difficult.
Organize or Back Up Photos and Videos on Your Phone
People often complain about running out of memory on their phones. I have the same problem, so I spent about 3 hours on my last long haul flight backing up photos onto my computer and sorting them into folders so I could delete them from my phone and clear out the memory. It’s a task that I never get around to doing but that I know is inevitable. It feels great to get it done on the plane so you don’t have to spend any more time doing it when you get home.
Design a Custom Photo Book
As anyone who has created a custom photo book on Shutterfly or Mixbook or any other website knows, it takes hours to organize the photos in the order and layout that you want. If you’ve been meaning to take some time to create an album of family photos or a photo book book of you last vacation, you finally have a few free hours to sit down and do it.
I’ve found that long haul flights are a good time to read books on optimizing your goals and re-evaluating the priorities in your life. If you are frustrated in some aspect of your life, whether it’s a career that’s stalling or a lack of balance in your home life, it’s a good idea to pause and reflect on how to rebalance your life for the better. Some books I recommend: Decisive (Chip & Dan Heath), Essentialism (Greg McKeown), Thinking Fast & Slow (Daniel Kahneman), and 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership (Dethmer and Chapman).
After reading these, you’ll want to take more time and jot down lists of what’s going well and what’s not going well in your life, as well as action steps to resolve things.
Listen to Audiobooks or Podcasts
The one caveat I have with this one is that unless it is a very entertaining audiobook or podcast, you will fall asleep. If your goal is to fall asleep on that long haul flight, great! If you want to be able to spend a few hours or so engaged in a story, wearing comfortable, noise-cancelling headphones make a big difference here.
Make an iMovie
The iMovie app is a standard app on the iPhone that makes it incredibly easy to make movies on your phone with video clips you’ve taken. One of my favorite ways to make time fly on my flight home from vacation is to make a movie of my trip. During the trip, I take a lot of 6-10 second video clips. On the plane, I drop all of them into iMovie, rearrange the sequence of clips, trim or fast forward certain clips, and add a soundtrack to the background. It’s fun making movies, and it actually takes a surprising amount of time once you get started editing (similar to editing photo books).
Stitch Up the Hole in Your Sweater
I have 3 sweaters with minor holes in them that I’ve been meaning to stitch up, but I’ve been too lazy to sit down, get out the needle and thread, and just take care of it.
So on my last long haul flight, I brought two of the sweaters and finally did the sewing I’ve been putting off for months. If I had had more time, I would have altered two pairs of pants that I have been meaning to hem up.
Locally made, artisan foods make a wonderful gourmet corporate or personal gift that people are always delighted to receive. Think fresh cheeses from a California dairy, award winning Seattle chocolates, authentic Texas BBQ, fresh cookies from a Brooklyn bakery, and small-batch toffee from Colorado — what home or office wouldn’t love to sample some of these delicious treats?
Fortunately these delicious gourmet food brands also make beautifully designed gift packages, so you know that your gift will arrive with a lovely and professional presentation.
Cowgirl Creamery Cheese
Cowgirl Creamery, based in Point Reyes, CA, operates a historic dairy in the heart of the rolling green hills of central California, where you see more cows than people.
You may have seen their nationally recognized cheeses in gourmet grocery stores, but they also offer beautiful gift sets of cheeses on their website that come in rustic wooden crates. One gift box might includes 3 different artisan cheeses (aged cow, sheep, and goat’s milk cheese) made in their local dairy, as well as gourmet salami and organic flatbread crackers to pair with it.
I love to gift these boxes as business or personal gifts because people love them and immediately open them to start tasting the food. Few people live close to a real dairy, so it’s a real treat for these fresh goodies from the farm to be delivered to your doorstep.
There are lots of gourmet chocolate makers these days, but Fran’s Chocolates in Seattle simply does an outstanding job with gift packaging and presentation. Sure, they are an award-winning chocolate maker and certified organic, but the gift sets and baskets also look gorgeous. Giving gifts is as much about presentation as anything, and Fran’s elevates a few bars of artisan chocolates into a high-end experience.
Did I mention they’re delicious? I love getting a call from a friend has just received a gift box and is raving about the unique flavors, like chocolate covered ginger, or the famous salted caramels.
The Good Batch
This Brooklyn based bakery makes fresh and delicious cookies that can be ordered online and delivered anywhere. Their indulgent flavors and ingredients are delicious and will be immediately consumed by whoever is lucky enough to receive this gift box.
The Good Batch sampler gift sets include baked goods like oat chocolate chunk cookies, double fudge cookies, brown butter salty cookies, ginger molasses cookies, and brownies. Send these a corporate client, and they will disappear from the break room in minutes. Send them to a family, and the kids will love them.
I still remember the first time I had Enstrom’s toffee. I had to pause because it was the best toffee I had ever tasted. Since then, I have gifted the toffee several times to friends and family during the holidays and for other special occasions.
Enstrom is a family run business based in Grand Junction, Colorado, and they make small batches of artisan toffee that happen to taste amazing.
Enstrom’s gift tins are very affordable and would be appropriate for business or personal gifts. If you’re looking for a business gift, they can customize the gift boxes with messaging on the sleeves or to include a custom card.
The Salt Lick BBQ (Austin, Texas)
Salt Lick is one of Austin’s most popular barbecue spots, and it is truly a gift that you can order their delicious brisket, sausage, ribs, pulled pork, and dry rubs online to be mailed anywhere in the US. Their famous meats, sauces, and dry rubs are delicious and perfect for your next party or as a gift for your favorite people.
You select whatever delicious combination of meats you want on their website, and your barbecue loving friends and family will thank you for it.
We are not affiliated with any of these brands. We are just fans.
As a foodie and cooking enthusiast, I already have a lot of the tools and gadgets that I want in the kitchen, but there are always new things that would be exciting to have. This is my personal list of kitchen gift ideas for friends or family who also love to cook and eat. When I’m in a hurry, I can order anything here to be delivered at the last minute with expedited shipping.
Premium Steaks or Meats
I love to gift premium steaks or meats from a high-end gourmet meat producer like Snake River Farms or Lobel’s of New York. These farms offer fresh prime cuts of meat that I am always delighted to receive myself. Snake River Farms, for example, offers beautiful cuts of Kurobuta pork and Wagyu beef or pre-assembled gift packages for grilling or barbecue. You could also go with the popular and more affordable Omaha Steaks, which offers very nice gift packages for prices under $50 that you can order at the last minute.
Le Creuset Cookware
You’ve undoubtedly seen the signature cast iron Le Creuset dutch oven in someone else’s home if you don’t already own one yourself. Le Creuset makes attractive, essential cookwear for every serious home cook, which you can order at the last minute online. The cast iron pots are versatile enough to go from the fridge to the stove top to the oven, and can be used for roasting meats, baking bread, or slow-simmering stews. The pots look so beautiful and classy that you can serve food right out of them on the dining table. I already have a few sizes and colors, but wouldn’t mind receiving more as a gift!
500 Food Journeys of a Lifetime
The beautifully illustrated Food Journeys of a Lifetime book from National Geographic will inspire you to plan your next foodie vacation right away, and you can order it online at the last minute for next day delivery. It’s a great coffee table book for foodies – anyone who sits down will pick it up and start leafing through the beautifully photographed pages right away. While it’s not a kitchen gift per say, I’ve found that foodies and non-foodies alike can’t put it down.
Every home cook knows that you can’t trust your oven temperature reading. You set it at 400 degrees and yet the food isn’t cooking as quickly as the recipe says it will. More often than not, it turns out that your oven is only 350 degrees. This huge variable in the success of your cooking can be easily fixed with the gift of an inexpensive oven thermometer, which will tell you the real temperature inside your oven. Taylor oven thermometers, which are very affordable and can be ordered at the last minute, can also tell you the real temperature inside your refrigerator or freezer.
Leave in Thermometer
This ThermoPro Thermometer is another essential kitchen gift for cooking meats on the grill, in the smoker, in the oven, or on the stove. Live, real-time thermometers come with a metal probe that you stick inside the densest portion of meat. The probe is attached to a long, heat resistant wire that feeds into the visual output unit. When a recipe says to bake something for 20 minutes, that is really just an average cooking time, but it depends a lot on the oven and the size of the piece of meat. You can easily undercook or overcook meat at the last minute if you don’t know the temperature inside the meat. This probe makes it super easy by beeping when the meat has reached the temperature you want, so you pull it out of the oven or off of the grill at the exact time that meat is perfectly done.
Indoor Herb Garden
I love having fresh herbs at my fingertips when I’m throwing together a last minute dinner on a Tuesday night in the middle of January. AeroGarden indoor herb gardens are high-tech and low-maintenance, and you can actually order them online at the last minute for next day shipping. You can easily grow fresh herbs, vegetables, and salad greens in your home under energy-efficient LED lights with a hydroponic water system. I love having cherry tomatoes and strawberries readily available, and it’s fun for everyone in the house to enjoy this kitchen gift and watch the plants grow.
1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die
1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die is another wonderful last minute gift that foodies will love to read through, particularly those who love trying new and exotic foods and learning the history behind foods from other cultures. Authored by long-time food writer Mimi Sheraton, it’s more of an encyclopedic book to reference before your next vacation so you know what local foods to look out for wherever in the world you are visiting. Her knowledge of international foods is extraordinary. Some of the dishes mentioned in the book also come with recipes and names of specific restaurants they recommend.
Outdoor Pizza Oven
It’s actually affordable these days to have a small pizza oven in your backyard, which will make you a really popular host, especially among kids. It’s really simple to slide a pizza in and pull out a steaming hot pie in only a few minutes. Fire up the PizzaCraft Outdoor Pizza Oven next to your grill at your next party and let your guests design their own pizzas. It’s a lot of fun even for people who don’t normally cook, and you can order it online at the last minute for a fantastic surprise gift.
Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling is a bestselling book that was gifted to me last year and has helped me serve perfectly cooked meats at so many dinners. This past Christmas, I had a rack of lamb thrown at me at the last minute to prepare for dinner that night. I flipped to the rack of lamb recipe in here, followed the exact temperature directions but in the oven instead of on the grill, and it came out perfect. Thank you, Meathead. Thinking about grilling and cooking meats as a science has helped me improve tremendously as a cook. Meathead convinced me that a leave in thermometer is critical, and he was absolutely right.
High-end Knife Block Set
Many aspiring home cooks will splurge on one or two really nice knives that they use all the time, but may not splurge on a whole set. Or, like me, they invested in a starter knife set when they first started cooking seriously and have only upgraded one or two knives since then. I would love to receive a new high end set of knives from JA Henckels or a Japanese manufacturer as a gift. And these sets are so easy to order online at the last minute.
With everyone becoming more health-conscious these days, I’ve noticed more and more people making their own yogurt at home. A really easy and affordable way to make delicious, homemade yogurt is with a simple Euro Cuisine digital yogurt machine. It’s quick to put together and beeps when it’s ready. Most importantly to me, I can customize the flavors and sweetness to my liking. This is a great last minute gift for healthy foodies and cooking enthusiasts.
French Press Coffee Maker
This gorgeous Cafe Du Chateau French Press maker has the best filtration system I’ve ever used. I can’t stand coffee grounds in my coffee, but I love the weekend morning ritual and the flavor of the French Press. This makes a delicious, smooth cup of coffee every time. Any coffee lover would appreciate this gift, which can be ordered online at the last minute.
Cocktail Shaker Set
This Professional Home Bar Set from Rare Fool is a great last minute gift for people who love to host parties or just enjoy making delicious cocktails at home. These sets, available online, are nicely packaged as gifts and contain all the important tools for making any drink you want, including a shaker, strainer, double jigger (hourglass-shaped measuring device), and muddler.
Gift Card to Nice Restaurant
I love a good excuse to go to a nice restaurant. If you need a last minute gift for a foodie friend or a family member who loves to cook, you can easily go to Amazon or restaurant websites and order a gift card at the last minute. Print it out, and you’ll have your gift ready in less than 10 minutes.
Thanks to technology, you can get a fantastic gift delivered overnight if you’ve waited until the last minute. I used to panic about what birthday gifts I could find in stores at the last minute, but now there are lots of options online.
Forget the crowded mall or the pushy jewelry store for birthday gift shopping. Order your wife or girlfriend one of the top 10 bestselling pieces of jewelry on Amazon and you’ll be all set. Next day delivery is your best friend.
Home Decorator for the HGTV Fan
There are a few great start-ups now that offer interior design advice by the hour. If your wife or girlfriend is obsessed with HGTV and always talks about paint colors and furniture, she might love talking to a professional designer to about your own home. I know I would. And it’s something you can sign up for online at the last minute and print out for her birthday.
This is an amazing birthday gift if your wife or girlfriend likes to entertain or often hosts kids or adults at home. These pizza ovens are a lot of fun for guests and family of any age, and they make quick and delicious meals for small or large groups. They can also be ordered online at the last minute for next day delivery.
This is one of the most beautiful coffee table books I’ve seen, and one that will inspire your girlfriend or wife to plan your next trip right away. It shows beautiful, breathtaking photos of 500 places around the world to see, and you’ll want to hop on a plane as soon as you can. I love receiving books for my birthday, and they are easy to order at the last minute.
If your wife or girlfriend finds it tough to wake up in the morning, consider getting her this natural light wake up lamp, which grows increasingly bright in the morning to wake you up gradually with natural light instead of an abrupt alarm. You can order one online at the last minute for her birthday.
These wine chillers are an affordable and useful birthday gift for any wife or girlfriend who loves wine. You never have to worry about chilling that bottle ahead of time when you have an instant device that only takes a few minutes. This is perfect when guests show up with wine at the last minute.
Your wife or girlfriend will also love this electric bottle opener because she’ll never have to worry about awkwardly opening a bottle of wine again. You can forget those awkward corks with an electric bottle opener. Make it easy to open up that bottle on her birthday and every other day.
Surprise your wife or girlfriend with a last minute birthday trip. It can be a weekend trip somewhere close by, or think of all the destinations within a 2 hour flight of your home.
Coffee Maker/Espresso Machine
Does your wife or girlfriend have a latte habit? You can make perfectly frothed, cafe-style coffee drinks at home with a home espresso machine. If you enjoy entertaining friends or family, they will be really impressed with your beautiful espresso drinks and iced coffees. You can order this as a birthday gift online at the last minute.
Jacket from Her Favorite Brand
Want your last minute birthday gift to be practical? Look at the tags on the jackets that your wife or girlfriend wears. Are they from J. Crew, Nike, Kate Spade, Lululemon, Michael Kors, Northface? Regardless of her style, it’s a good bet she’ll like another jacket from the same brand.
Purse from Her Favorite Brand
Same goes for purses. If your wife or girlfriend already has 3 Longchamp purses, she will likely like another style from the same brand. Yes, that’s the brand you see everywhere, especially at the airport. Women can never have too many purses, and this is something you can order online at the last minute before her birthday.
Dinner for a Week
If your wife or girlfriend normally takes care of dinner, take over the burden of dinner for 1 full week. Order food to be delivered on DoorDash or UberEats if you don’t want to cook. Start the week on her birthday.
Fancy Kitchen Appliances
For girlfriends or wives who like to cook, there are an infinite number of high end kitchen appliances and tools they’d love to have, including Kitchen Aid stand mixers, Instapots, Vitamix blenders, Magic Bullet blenders, Sous Vide precision cooking devices, and leave-in thermometers. For her birthday, spoil her by ordering one of these foodie gadgets, even if you have to do next day shipping at the last minute.
The Roomba vacuum, which once aimlessly wandered around bumping into your furniture, is old news. There are powerful and affordable new robotic vacuums with impressive navigation technology that can save you a lot of time and effort now. I like the Ecovacs and Neato brands. You can order them online at the last minute before her birthday. Your girlfriend or wife might love robots too!
There are a lot of attractive options beyond the bulky, masculine looking Apple Watch. Lots of stylish brands including Michael Kors and Fossil now make smartwatches that your wife or girlfriend will love to wear too. You can order them online at the last minute before her birthday.
It’s hard for a girlfriend or wife to say no to a free massage. You can buy a gift certificate on Groupon for a local spa at the last minute and have a birthday gift printed out for your wife or girlfriend in 10 minutes.
Corkicle Stemless Glass
I love these triple-insulated cups for times when you need your drinks to be portable and spill-free. They work as well for hot coffee or tea as they do for chilled white wine – whatever your wife or girlfriend likes to drink. You don’t have to worry about spills, and the mug looks stylish and beautiful – much nicer than an ugly travel mug. This is a practical birthday gift you can order at the last minute.
There are plenty of start-ups now focusing on updating the luxury sleepwear market. Modern pajamas are no longer heavy robes or baggy button down shirts, things you’d see on 90’s TV shows. Today’s pajamas are all about comfortable materials, soft and lightweight fabrics, and a great fit for your body type. Spoil your girlfriend or wife on her birthday by ordering some great pajamas. She won’t know you bought them at the last minute.
I love getting new watches on my birthday even though I already have several of them. They are a great accessory that your wife or girlfriend can change depending on her outfit. Watches are more than just a convenient tool to keep track of time – they are a style accessory, and I tend to go back to the same designers I’ve worn before. Plus you can order them online at the last minute.
I love the gift idea of a ready-made Adventure Book from the Pixar movie Up. It’s a brilliant way to assemble a bunch of pictures of your favorite adventures together, and it’s really easy and affordable. Adventure Books are way more exciting than a plain photo album and a lot of fun for kids or adults to put together.
We have so many photos on our iPhones these days that it would take forever to organize all of them into albums. So pick your top 3 favorite photos from each adventure and put them on a single page in this Adventure Book.
Nowadays, you don’t even have to go through the work of putting together a custom scrapbook anymore. You can order ready made Adventure Books online!
I saved myself a lot of time and effort by ordering a really inexpensive Adventure Book online. I am not a crafty person, and they make it so easy to put together your own family scrapbooks, wedding books, or anniversary gifts. They look exactly like the one in the Pixar movie too!
Adventures could be fun weekend activities, family reunions, epic European vacations, fun things you’ve gotten to do through your job or places you’ve visited for work, or even big projects you complete together like a backyard garden.
Or adventures could mean your first apartment, your first time living in a new place, or your first summer on your own.
Kids love putting these adventure books together at the end of the summer to remember all the great memories before school starts again. It’s a fun project for them to use their creativity.
Like the movie, my Adventure Book has blank pages with tentative plans for future things I want to do, like a Bucket List.
I’m a 30 year old urban yuppie looking for cool anniversary gifts that fall under the traditional themes by year – 1) paper, 2) cotton, 3) leather, 4) linen/silk, and 5) wood.
At first I wondered if it would be a bad idea to restrict ourselves to this anniversary tradition by year, but after brainstorming the first 5 years of gift ideas, I actually like having a narrower field of options. It simplifies the gift giving process.
This is my secret log of traditional anniversary gift ideas for Years 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Feel free to steal any ideas and share your ideas here too.
1st Wedding Anniversary: Paper
A paper anniversary gift sounds simple enough, but it’s easy to go too DIY with this one and I’m trying to avoid boring handmade gifts.
I stumbled across this custom Folded Book Art, which allows you to get your initials or wedding date (or any text) formed by the folded pages of a real book. You have to order in advance, especially if you want them to use a specific book of your liking and not a random one, but if you have a mutual favorite book, this could be a really stunning paper gift for your first anniversary.
I’ve been thinking about assembling a bucket list for a while now, and using a Bucket List book seems like a useful way to get new ideas and organize some real plans. Most Bucket List books seem to be focused on travel experiences, and I want to make sure I have activities on there other than just vacations. There are plenty of things that we can experience and accomplish together that don’t require leaving the country.
2nd Wedding Anniversary: Cotton
Clothes are the first thing that come to mind when I think of the traditional cotton anniversary, which makes this tough. Fortunately, there are some other fabric-related gifts I’ve stumbled across.
These pillowcases are a fun way to commemorate your second wedding anniversary and can be used on a couch or on neighboring chairs if you are picky about your thread counts and don’t want to actually sleep on them. There are a few cute designs to choose from, so you could get a few different ones and rotate through them. I like that these are a modern way to stick to the traditional cotton theme.
I would love a new set of luxury bedding that’s like what you would find at the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons. It’s not that expensive either to order really nice Egyptian Cotton sheets online and an equally soft duvet cover. Since it’s affordable to re-create that luxurious environment in your own home, I’m all for it and suspect that this will be a useful cotton gift.
3rd Wedding Anniversary: Leather
Whew! This one’s relatively easy because there are a lot of nice leather options for gifts in general. I think the traditional third leather anniversary is my favorite theme.
One of my favorite places to shop for modern or traditional leather gifts is on Etsy because you can get almost anything customized on there. Just doing a general leather search brought up a bunch of interesting products I had never seen before (and admit that I kind of want to buy for myself). I love the personalized leather wallets, catch-all trays, key chains, and photo frames – all of which can be used to celebrate a wedding anniversary.
If you are looking for a more practical gift that can be used for work, I love these beautiful leather sleeves for laptops and tablets. You can get these monogrammed for a lovely personal touch, and it adds a level of professionalism to slip your computer out of a leather sleeve at a meeting. Of course there are also leather backpacks, weekend bags, and tote bags that would make nice wedding anniversary gifts too. You can go as traditional or as modern as you want.
4th Wedding Anniversary: Linen & Silk (UK: Fruit & Flowers)
I don’t know why there’s suddenly room for confusion in Year 4 when the other years are pretty clear cut. Is it linen OR silk or linen AND silk? Why do the US and UK differ so widely on this one? It doesn’t matter because neither material makes this gift easy.
I ordered a photo book with a linen hardcover for my wedding album, and it looks classic and elegant (and a bit traditional), so I’m thinking about ordering another one for the our fourth linen anniversary. I made the first one on MyPublisher, which has since been acquired and merged into Shutterfly. There are plenty of other websites that allow you to design photo albums with fabric covers, so I will be shopping around next time.
I’ve noticed lately that a lot of nice wool scarves (both men’s and women’s) are actually blended with silk to create that smoother texture. There are plenty of scarves made of modal & silk blends and cotton & silk blends too. They are soft and lightweight too, as you’d expect from luxurious fabrics. Surprisingly, I’ve found some beautiful, handmade silk scarves made in Europe on Etsy, which would be a nice addition to any outfit and a creative play on the traditional silk anniversary theme.
5th Wedding Anniversary: Wood
I love technology and all of the doors it has opened to customizing wood and bringing the natural texture and color of wood into our homes. When you reach your fifth wedding anniversary, you are more likely to be thinking about customizing your home, which makes the traditional wood theme an interesting gift.
I have long admired reclaimed wood furniture pieces that put a modern twist on a traditional element, such as these georgeous tree stump side tables on hairpin legs. Industrial modern design and mid-century modern styles are so popular these days and put a lovely contemporary spin on traditional wood furniture. These handmade wooden pieces used to be very expensive only a couple of years ago but are now remarkably affordable online. I bought one and it looks fantastic in our home.
I love this updated take on photos. There are quite a few sites that will affordably print your photos onto wood these days. I’ve seen the output of several different attempts (Photobarn, Woodsnap, Etsy, etc), and they all turned out quite lovely. I would print wedding photos or family photos on these for a sentimental wood anniversary gift.
There are so many creative ways you can use time capsules as last minute anniversary gifts!
Start a capsule and add 1 item to it every year
Create a capsule that you don’t open again for 10 years, or on your 10th or 20th anniversary
Create a capsule of items that your kids can open 10 years from now
Time capsules can be as simple as finding a box you already have and filling it with meaningful items at the last minute. If you want to get fancier, you can buy an inexpensive bullet thermos that looks like a futuristic time capsule! For some reason, its really hard to just buy a tubular container that is meant to be a time capsule, so you have to improvise!
So what do you put in this time capsule?
Wedding photos or memorabilia
Things that remind you of special experiences, like concert tickets, ticket stubs from your travels and vacations, receipts from anniversary meals, etc
Front page of today’s newspaper
A Time Capsule book, a shortcut method of capturing what your life is like today (what your typical day is like, what important decisions you’ve made lately, your hopes and fears, your advice for your future self, your favorite music and food at the moment, who you are spending your time with, what fun trips you’ve done lately)
Subscription gift box services are all the rage these days! Who doesn’t like to receive a surprise gift in the mail every month?
If you’re looking for a birthday or anniversary gift idea that keeps on giving, there are so many types of gift boxes that you are likely to find one that’s a perfect fit for your recipient, men or women, younger or older.
Would your girlfriend or wife love to receive a monthly surprise gift containing…
Chocolate samples from around the world
Fun and educational crafts for kids
Samples of luxury beauty products
The latest healthy food and lifestyle products for health nuts
Organic treats for your dog or cat
The most popular new organic food and snacks from around the country
Greeting cards and stationery
Freshly roasted coffee samples from around the country
Cookies of the month
Nail polish and nail products
Helpful products for pregnant women
New vegan and gluten free food products
Care packages for college students
Handcrafted cured meats
Creative snacks from around the world
Cute products from Japan and Korea
Cocktails and cocktail ingredients
Craft beers from around the country
Luxury grooming products for men
This is only a short list of all of the subscription boxes out there these days, but there are many themes that could make a perfect anniversary gift. You usually have the flexibility to sign up for 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months or more of gift deliveries.
I would pick the monthly cookie sampler for myself, but I would order one of the amazing organic snack samplers to be delivered to my office every month too. Forget anniversary gifts – I started searching for boxes for myself!
The luxury beauty products and fashion accessories boxes are a great anniversary gift for women, and the carnivore, beer, or vice boxes are a great anniversary gift for men.
There are also great art and home decor options for those who want some artistic inspiration on their anniversary.
I selected a very interesting Japanese-themed gift box to try called Bokksu. They send you a monthly box with premium, delicious snacks from different regions of Japan, specific to the season, along with a unique tea to pair with your snacks. For example, I received a box with autumn-themed snacks from Kyoto. I loved sampling the different flavors, and the packaging was lovely and delicately handled like most high quality Japanese products. I’m ordering a 3 month subscription for a friend for her birthday.
Check out the gift box review website Cratejoy to screen for the perfect anniversary boxes for your significant other. We have no affiliation with Cratejoy – we are just fans.