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

By Margaret Manning June 28, 2022 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.

  1. Red Champagne Flutes – Celebrate the occasion with bubbles!
  2. A Cooking Holiday – Perfect for the foodies celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.
  3. A Cruise – The perfect, stress free, way to travel and discover new places. 
  4. Tickets – Sports, music, or theater tickets to their favorite type of entertainment. 
  5. Unique Item for the Home – You can find handmade and personalized goods at Etsy.
  6. Dinner Delivery – How about a lobster dinner sent straight to their door?
  7. A Spa Day – Relax and get pampered.
  8. A Photo Book – Create a photo book with memories.
  9. A Handmade Card – Craft a perfect congratulatory card yourself. 
  10. A Flower Bouquet – Have a beautiful bouquet delivered to their home.

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

stemless red champagne flutes

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

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

How about a wine vacation? The U.S. ranks in the top five of wine producing countries, and California leads the way among the states. Napa Valley is the place to go with plenty of tour options to suit you. 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! If travel abroad isn’t an option, look closer to home.

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

A trip away is a great gift, allowing the couple to explore somewhere they have always dreamt of going and escape the realities of everyday life for a short time. If they live in the city, a trip to the countryside might provide them with the slow pace relaxation they need, or if they live in the country – a city break might leave them feeling exhilarated. 

If travel abroad is an option, a cruise is a fun way to experience different cultures from around the world and reduce travel stress as all travel details are taken care of. Find out what country has always 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. You don’t need to get tickets for the exact date of their anniversary. If their favourite band is touring the following year, they will love the thought and will look forward to using your gift over the coming months.

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 people are trying to own less ‘things’ at this stage of life however, so before you buy it, check it’s something they would want, use or need! 

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. You can ask friends and family to write short notes or send photos to add to show them just how far love extends for them. 

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.

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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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