Fun Last-Minute Anniversary Ideas

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Life is hectic; days are short; marriage is long. When you're trying to find a last-minute anniversary gift, don't default to some predictable acknowledgement that you let it slip -- or worse, forgot. Create a spontaneous adventure. Explore familiar territory in an unfamiliar way. Craft a surprising remembrance. Have fun celebrating why you got together in the first place.

Carpe Momentum

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When you've run out of time, stop the clock. Find a cool old wall clock in a flea market or in your own attic, and turn it into a celebration of your commitment. Replace the face with a wedding photograph -- sepia-toned if the clock style is vintage -- or decoupage pictures of things meaningful to the two of you around the frame. Stop the clock at the exact time you got married, and remove the batteries or otherwise disable the timepiece so it will always be frozen at that moment. Inscribe a message on the back, or write your names, the date and the time in flowing script on the face. Hang your anniversary art piece on the wall where you will always see it.

Take the Tour

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If you live in or near a tourist destination, act like visitors and take a tour. Book a sunset sail around the harbor with appetizers and wine for a romantic view of familiar surroundings. Hop on a double-decker bus and sit up top to see your city with new eyes. Jump off at a funky restaurant to try a menu you haven't sampled before. Visit a microbrewery or a vineyard to see how the magic happens, and sample away. Buy a bottle to go for your own party later. Spend the day in an amusement park, acting like kids and trying all the rides.

Don't Send Flowers

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Give your one true love a break. Last-minute flowers are so "I couldn't be bothered." Instead, grab some takeout cappuccino and a couple of croissants and head for the nearest orchid nursery to breathe in the tropical fragrance, marvel at the spectacular blooms, learn a little about raising orchids, and pick out your favorite to take home. If one of you has a green thumb, the first paphiopedilum could become an annual collecting ritual. Forget flora and fauna altogether, and take in a morning matinee at your local movie theater. Morning showings are usually half price and sparsely attended, so you have your pick of seats and lunch money to spend after.

Bring on the Bucket List

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Tick one thing off each other's bucket list, and make it a surprise if you can. Buy last-minute discounted tickets to a dreamed-of destination; tell your partner to dress for the occasion, but don't reveal where it is. Then head to the airport for a museum visit that's at the Louvre, or head for a day at the beach in the Bahamas. Stick closer to home with lunch that just happens to be in a hot-air balloon, a bike ride that you take on a rented Harley, or a get-together with friends -- that includes prime tickets to a rock concert. Splurge a little or a lot to make a dream come true and create an indelible memory.