20th wedding anniversary gift ideas for a husband

Updated February 21, 2017

Over the years, it has become customary to give specific wedding anniversary gifts based on the number of years you have been married. According to tradition, each year has a pre-determined type of gift that is supposed to bring you good luck. For the 20th anniversary, the traditional gift is china. However, it is becoming more and more common for couples to buy any type of gift they find appropriate. Regardless of which path you choose to take, there are a variety of ideas that will fit any budget and make your 20th anniversary special.

Traditional or Modern

It is important to determine how traditional you want to be with your anniversary gifts, and the best way to determine that is to understand the meaning behind the tradition.

The wedding anniversary "gift list" actually dates back to the Middle Ages in the Germanic region, when men would present their wives with a wreath made of silver for their 25th anniversary, or a wreath made of gold for the 50th anniversary. Over time, this tradition developed and eventually travelled to the United States. In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association created a comprehensive list of materials to be associated with each anniversary year. The list assigned a gift for every anniversary through the 15th year, and then outlined a gift for every 5th year through the 60th anniversary. Modern day gifts are based on this list.

There have also been modern day variations added over time. While china is the traditional gift idea for the 20th anniversary, platinum has been its modern day equivalent.

So what if you want your gift to be unstructured, non-traditional, and completely outside of the box? That's perfectly fine. Mostly likely, your husband will be completely unaware of the traditional anniversary gift list, so it is perfectly acceptable to choose a gift that has meaning to your relationship personally.

Traditional Ideas

If you decide to do the traditional themes mentioned above, you don't necessarily have to buy a new set of fine china dishes. There are many different items made of china (porcelain) that might be more useful to you, such as a china bowl or box for his wedding band, cuff links, and other small items. You could give him a special family picture in a china frame, or serve his favourite dinner on your wedding china. Or you could use the other meaning of the word "china" and pick gifts with an Asian influence, such as a special dinner at his favourite Chinese restaurant.

Modern Ideas

Jewellery and other gifts made entirely of platinum are on the pricey side; you may find it more reasonable to buy something with platinum accents, such as drink ware and barware. If your husband enjoys grilling, you could find grill tools with platinum accents to enhance his collection. You could also take the idea literally and buy a platinum edition of a movie, book, or CD, or something else with platinum in the name.

Non-Traditional Ideas

If you want to stray from the traditional 20th wedding anniversary gifts, you could buy your husband a nice watch engraved with a special message. Another option is to take him to his favourite restaurant or cook him his favourite meal and dessert. If he's a sports fan, look into the schedule for his favourite team or athlete. Nothing says, "I love you" more than showing an interest in something he's passionate about. You could also consider buying a couple's massage at a spa or resort. If he has a high stress job, he may enjoy the quiet and relaxation that could offer. Another idea is a bed and breakfast or overnight getaway where you can soak in a hot tub, drink champagne, and be alone.

Low Cost Ideas

If you are dealing with a lower budget, look into a photo gift. There are many websites that allow you to upload your photos onto various products, such as coffee mugs, T-shirts, or calendars. You can even create an entire photo book capturing your life together with not only photos, but text as well.
If you're not a fan of technology, or you don't want to use digital photos, a scrapbook is another great way to reminisce and tell him you'll love him for another 20 years. A final word of advice: When choosing a 20th wedding anniversary gift for your husband, remember that it's not what society tell you to buy, or the cost of the gift that matters. The most important factor is that it symbolises your life together and the adventures yet to come.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Melissa McKean is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee, Wis. McKean has an expertise in web and SEO copywriting and has worked on both B2C and B2B lead generation and e-commerce websites to improve search engine rankings and usability. McKean has a bachelor's degree in advertising from Kent State University.