Traditional & Modern 40th Anniversary Gifts

Anniversary gifts commonly follow a pattern of designated materials for specific years. However, each traditionally suggested material is merely an option for gifts or a theme to follow and not a social requirement. Most people today feel comfortable choosing between either standard ideas and modern interpretations of the tradition.

Traditional or Modern

Your decision between traditional and modern should be based mostly on the recipient of the gift but also consider what might best represent you as the giver as well as your budget. While some couples thrive on tradition and would be offended to receive anything deviating from it, most are just happy to be given something that exhibits how much thought you put into it.

The customary gift material for a couple’s 40th wedding anniversary is ruby. Rubies are a beautiful representation of four decades of love, and things involving them make timeless gifts. However, other themes can also be interpreted from the stone.


If you’re looking to buy a 40th anniversary gift for a woman, jewelry is always a good place to start. Common ideas are necklaces, earrings, bracelets, or rings with rubies. This is certainly not an inexpensive choice, but it is considered traditional. An alternate option for jewelry is to look for garnet stones instead. The color red is still represented but in a slightly more modern way.

Flowers also make a lovely gift for women. The nasturtium flower is the suggested choice for 40th anniversaries, but red roses or another bouquet with red flowers can be just as beautiful.


Ruby-encrusted cufflinks or tie clips are classic choices for men. If you’d like to stray from the conventional, though, or simply cannot afford such items, consider choosing a men’s accessory in the color red. Ties, scarves, and hats make good alternatives.


If you’re buying for a couple who appreciates traditional sentiment, home décor such as a pewter frame with ruby gemstones is appropriate. For a modern twist, commission a glass sculpture out of red glass, give a set of ruby red crystal goblets, or choose a nice bottle of ruby red wine.

If the couple you’re buying for loves to garden, consider buying them a potted plant in either the traditional 40th anniversary nasturtium flower or another red-flowered plant such as amaryllis or a rosebush. Also, a box of ruby-red grapefruits is a fun take on the traditional.

Unconventional Choices

If you really want to surprise someone for their 40th anniversary, go for a completely unexpected option. A trip for two to a ruby mine in North Carolina is unconventional. An even more unique option is to host a blood drive in honor of the couple, which both recognizes the couple and helps the community. Whether you choose traditional or unconventional, just be sure to use your imagination to commemorate the day.