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The Best 40th Wedding Anniversary Gifts, According to the People Actually Receiving Them

By Margaret Manning November 27, 2015 Family

If you do an Internet search for 40th wedding anniversary gifts, you will find hundreds of pages that tell you pretty much the same thing. The traditional 40th-anniversary gift is “ruby.” If you want a cheaper option, go for something red – red candles, red glasses or red cards.

As I looked through these lists, I couldn’t help but wonder… does anyone really need this stuff? After all, many people in their 60s are actually downsizing. Adding more “things” to their life may not be a priority.

Looking Beyond “Red” – What Are the Best 40th Wedding Anniversary Gifts?

In other words, tradition is often a good thing, but are these the gifts that people celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary really want? Or would they prefer to expand the options beyond “anything red”?

Fortunately, we have hundreds of women in our community who have either celebrated – or will soon celebrate – their 40th wedding anniversary. As a result, we have the opportunity to ask them exactly what makes a great gift on this special occasion.

If you are close to your 40th wedding anniversary, please let us know which of the following categories make the best gifts for this milestone. If you don’t see your favorite gift idea, please add it in the comments.

Something Red: Red Candles, Red Glassware, Red Paper or Red Jewelry

something red

If your celebrating friend or loved one is more the tradition type, then go with red – if you must! There are many options to choose from, like these bright red wine glasses. They are the color of ruby and can be used for more than wine. They make a great addition to the dinner table.

Something Experiential: Cooking Holiday, Skydiving, Winery or Brewery Tour

Winery or Brewery Tour

How about a wine vacation in Italy? Anniversary vacations are a great idea and adding a theme to the trip can make the event memorable.

cooking holiday

A cooking holiday is certainly a viable option as well. One fantastic destination is Mexico. The celebrants will get to learn about the country’s unique flavors and ingredients in an authentic location. Then they can bring their new knowledge back home and cook delicious meals for you!

Something Travel Related: A Weekend Getaway, Cruise or Glamping Weekend


Cruises are always a fun way to experience different cultures around the world. A cruise is a safe way to explore without having to worry about travel details. Has the happy couple always been curious about Alaska? Or maybe the Bahamas has been on their bucket list?

Something Social: A Celebration with Friends and Family, Theater, or Comedy Night Out

ticket master

Get tickets to their favorite music show or sports event. Make it a group activity and go with family and friends.

Something Practical: Kitchen Goods, Household Items, Fitness Accessories

Household Items

Etsy is an online shopping website that offers unique and handcrafted gift ideas. From vintage household items to hand-made jewelry. Lots of gift ideas!

Something Tasty: A Special Dining Experience and Cocktail for Two, Chocolate Making Workshop

send a meal

Here’s a romantic idea for the couple celebrating a 40th wedding anniversary. A lobster dinner with all the fixings delivered straight to their home.

Something Soothing: Pamper Day and Champagne Lunch, Spa Holiday or Yoga and Meditation Retreat

spa holiday

Who doesn’t like to be pampered? Offer them a gift card to a spa where they can spend a day together getting massages.

Something Memorable: A Photo Album Filled with Pictures and Stories

photo album

Personalize a photo book filled with memories of their life together. Send the photos to the website and create a beautiful photo album or let the experts design it for you.

Something Hand-Made: A Card, Scrapbook or Painting

hand-made scrapbook

Are you crafty? Make a photo album yourself with photos and memorabilia from their 40 years together.

Something Beautiful: Flowers or Plants


Flowers are always a hit. We all love to receive flower arrangements. Personalize a bouquet and card and have it delivered to their home. Choose red flowers to commemorate the 40th ruby anniversary.

Something Involving Their Passions


It’s never too late to learn something new. Get them a monthly subscription to an online learning website where they can choose to learn something they have always had a passion for. How about cooking with Gordon Ramsey or photography with Annie Leibovitz?

Clearly every couple is different, and the perfect gift may not be the same for everyone. That said, I’m still really interested in your opinion about the categories.

What would you like to receive for your 40th wedding anniversary? If you’ve passed this milestone, which gifts were your most favorite? I’d love to get your ideas! Let’s create a list of the best 40th wedding anniversary gifts. Please add your thoughts below.

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at margaret@sixtyandme.com

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