You’ve been for one full year – now what do you get him? The first anniversary is important because it sets the precedent for the future of gift giving. This is true of your first anniversary together with your boyfriend or your first wedding anniversary with your husband. An easy gift will essentially tell him, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to worry about nice gifts.” If that’s what you want, there’s nothing wrong with that. Get him something he mentioned, or just ask him what he wants. But personally I’d want to make sure my significant other and I give each other unique and surprising gifts, and I like for our anniversary to be something special.

The traditional 1st anniversary gift theme is paper, and the contemporary gift is clocks. Yes, I’m serious, and yes, these are “official.” Don’t ask me who made these themes up, but I’m pretty sure a marketer who wanted to sell more paper was involved. Paper and clocks might seem like the dullest gift themes in history, but we can put a spin on the themes to come up with some appreciated and unexpected gifts.  Some of these ideas will include elements of the themes. Others will just be here because they’re good ideas and he almost definitely doesn’t care if you follow the traditional or modern themes.

Traditional Gifts

A tale of time and paper. Don’t feel the need to follow the 1st anniversary tradition, but we have some fun gifts here anyway.


Fine-Writing Pen


A fine pen is perfect for the 1st anniversary paper theme. Even as pen and paper are replaced with computer and keyboard, everyone writes at least a few times per day. With a high-quality pen he’ll think of you every time he picks it up.

This Cross pen is a great anniversary gift. It comes in a class-feeling case. It’s from a brand that’s known for quality and doesn’t make any cheap pens. Cross is touted as the “pen of presidents” because US presidents have used them to sign laws and do presidenty things. This pen has a nice weight to it and obviously writes smoothly on paper.

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Heart-Rate Tracking Watch

Fitbit Charge HR

You don’t have to be a fitness nut to love an activity monitor that also measures your heart rate. As a data nerd, my husband loves his. He’ll plot his heart rate during meetings and presentations. He’s checked to see whether his heart rate increases in no traffic versus heavy traffic. Even though he won’t be going to the gym any time soon it also helps him track activity, which has resulted in some health benefits. Fitness trackers are a great gift for fitness nuts and couch butts.

I prefer the FitBit Charge HR as a gift because it does have the heart-rate tracking feature, which is great for tracking and optimizing sleep and activity levels. The Charge shows notifications from the phone if you want it to, so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket to see why it just vibrated. The battery lasts charges quickly: you only have to remember to charge it once every 4-5 days.

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Large Wall Clock


Big clocks make a house feel classy. If you’re like most new couples one year in you probably don’t have a lot of home decor, so it’s a good time to give each other gifts that can be seen around the house and fill empty walls.

This telechron wall clock is just under two feet. It’s modern enough that it won’t remind him of mom’s clocks, but classic enough that it will even fit in rustic settings. It’s a versatile design that’s easy to read and impressive to look at.

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Watch Box


It’s a jewelry box, but if you call it a “watch box” he will like it more! You don’t have to use a watch box for watches, of course. My husband uses one slot for cufflinks, collar stays, rings, and even cologne. Most men won’t buy a jewelry or watch box on their own, but they’ll appreciate having something to organize the little odds and ends they use.

This 12-slot case is perfect. There’s a glass window on top and a nice firm leather box with a clasp. It also has a key to it, but honestly that’s only going to stop kids and the laziest of thieves. If you have actual valuables, use a safe. Overall, though, it’s a very well-made and affordable gift. Make sure to check the price on this one before writing it off.

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Non-Traditional Gifts

Non-traditional just means it’s not closely following the “paper” or “clocks” theme. Most people don’t adhere to the traditional gifts, so just get the best gift.




A good wallet is something most guys won’t buy for themselves. If you do get a wallet I always suggest getting a quality wallet. After all, he’s going to have to use it whether it’s cheap or nice, and the last thing you want is for him to hate your cheap wallet. You could even say this matches the paper theme – because it holds all that “paper.” Either way, daily use is always a good thing for a gift.

This “Access Denied” wallet is nice because it has RFID-blocking technology for the privacy and safety-conscious man to prevent electronic pickpocketing. It’s made of Italian leather that feels high-quality. It’s smooth and thin rather than thick and vinyl-feeling like cheaper wallets are. It also has plenty of space and a spot for easy ID access.

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Bottle Opener Card


There’s nothing worse in the world than having a bottle with no bottle opener. This little card slides into any slot big enough for a credit card. Whether you get him a wallet or not, this can be a fun addition to a gift.

There are cheaper bottle opening cards, but this one is a couple dollars more and way more fun. And whenever he’s told to hand over his man card he can shock his friends by actually having a “man card” in his wallet.

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Smart Home Kit


Does he worry about you? Jump in bed at night-time noises? Talk about over-paying for a home security system? Save him some money and get him some peace of mind for your anniversary.

The Smart Things kit comes with a hub, open window/door sensor, and a presence sensor. It’s easy to expand from there with additional sensors, detectors, smart switches, and more. You can control Smart Things from your phone, and (my husband’s favorite) use IFTTT to make it automatically work. For example, we have Nest turn on the basement fan if the humidity sensor in the basement approaches mold-growing levels.

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The Glencarin


There aren’t many glasses that are instantly recognizable by their name: The Glencarin. These are more-or-less the official whiskey tasting glasses throughout the entire world. They’re supposed to help with the smell, which in turn improves the taste of scotch or bourbon. My husband’s also found them handy for any aged spirits, like extra-aged rum. Because these glasses are smaller they also help pour and share in small quantities while looking like you’re pouring generously.

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Wireless Headphones


Here’s the problem with headphones: he already has at least one set of wired earbuds. Wired headsets are annoying enough to use that they get less use. Most wireless headsets have terrible sound quality, reliability, and battery life. But he’s still listening to music, playing games, or watching TV when you want to go to bed. Bose to the rescue. These are the only wireless headphones either of us will recommend. They last 15 hours wirelessly, have a microphone that works, and most importantly they have excellent sound quality. They’re a little spendy, but you have to choose between wired (which he has already), poor quality, or expensive.

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Mobile Power


Mobile power units are great for guys who like to go out and hike, backpack, or play sports. There’s never a good place to charge your phone. Calls get missed, messages go unread. Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship will tell you that communication is key, so why not make it a little easier?

This WOBi wireless power station has enough power to charge an iPhone 6 from empty to full 7 times. It’s nice-looking and charges quickly. Bonus: “My battery was about to die” will never work again as an excuse for failing to answer the phone.

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Anna Hemmerich

Anna loves finding gifts, especially for her husband. She primarily writes about birthday and anniversary gifts for the special men in our lives.

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