12 Non-Cliche Anniversary Ideas

It’s wedding season, which means a large percentage of us are also celebrating wedding anniversaries! Gift shops are ready with flower bouquets, jewelry, and boxes of chocolates. There are sweet and silly cards as far as the eye can see, but shoot, we did that all last year.

Celebrate this year by doing something unexpected—and unexpectedly wonderful. Don’t freak out, we’ve got ideas.

1. Create a Countdown of Your Favorite Memories

It’s funny how time can mess with our recollections. Even if you’ve shared the same experiences, your point of view changes how you remember everything. From the first date you shared, to walking down the aisle, to your first pet together, to buying your first house, to when you looked into the eyes of your first child, etc. you have been through it all together. Make a list of your top 10, type up everything you recall about that day or date, and bind it into a book. It’ll be fun to share and see how your memories stack up.

2. Send Flowers Every Month for a Year

Flowers on an anniversary are appreciated. Flowers every month for a year? Now that’s gifting outside the box. Companies like Enjoy Flowers and ProFlowers offer subscription options so you can set up ongoing deliveries lasting three months, six months, or a full year. The best part is the emphasis on fresh, seasonal blooms. For anyone who treasures exotic floral arrangements (and for those who don’t always remember to say “thanks” or “I love you”), it’s the perfect pre-scheduled surprise that keeps giving.

3. Let Your Inner Kid Come Out

Your sense of adventure doesn’t disappear with age, it just tends to get buried. Wake it back up with a day of thrills and laughs. The exact adventure depends on you, but here are some ideas:

Batting cages
Skydiving
Bumper cars
Zip lining
Bungee jumping
Trampoline park
Whitewater rafting
Paintball
Laser tag
Parasailing
Kayaking for two
A ropes course
Rock climbing
River tubing
Haunted house tour
Escape room
Amusement park

4. Set Up a Spa Day

Sometimes all we need is time to ourselves. For the couple who rarely gets to even use the bathroom without tiny hands knocking at the door or tiny voices asking a question, a day at the spa feels like a lavish retreat. Many spas offer couple’s packages.

5. Create an At-Home Spa

For the new parents who aren’t ready to go out just yet or couples that simply don’t like sharing a Jacuzzi with strangers, there is a DIY alternative. Put together a basket of spa-inspired goodies including bath salts or bath bombs, scented oils, a luxurious body lotion, lip scrub, face masks, callous-fighting booties to soften heels and toes, and maybe a candle and soothing CD of nature sounds or instrumental music. Make a night out of it.

6. A Special Dinner Out

And no, your local pizza joint or fast food spot doesn’t count. There’s nothing wrong with a spur-of-the-moment date night at your favorite joint so you can grab a quick, juicy burger and a beer while your cousin watches the kids, but sometimes you need to head somewhere a more special. Do your research and pick a restaurant that has a menu you both love. Sit down and really take in the atmosphere. Call ahead and let them know of your special occasion. Get dressed up for each other.

If you’re in or near the Berkshires, make a reservation at The Proprietor’s Lodge, a lakefront venue that combines cozy ambience, stunning views, and a delicious menu. Start with Wild White Jumbo Shrimp served with your choice of three flavor-packed sauces or try Berkshire Burrata, a cheesy masterpiece replete with heirloom tomatoes, micro greens, fried basil, and an aged balsamic reduction. Entrees like the Mohican Tomahawk, a 2-pound bone-in grass-fed ribeye, and Chateaubriand for Two up the ante, and there are seafood and poultry options as well.

Wherever you live, choose a restaurant with both excellent hospitality and delectable chef-driven cuisine. This is a chance to show the lady in your life that she deserves more than a combo meal or burrito to go.

7. Book a Trip

Much of the stress involved in taking a vacation is directly linked to the planning process. Where are we going to go? How will we get there? Direct flights or a cheaper, indirect red-eye? Chain hotel or stunning lakeside cottage? Somewhere domestic or do we have time to attempt international travel? Who will watch the house/kids/dogs/gerbils? By the time everything is plotted out, the planner is exhausted.

Take on all the burden and surprise your sweetheart with a weekend away that’s already arranged from start to finish. It doesn’t have to be an exotic, budget-breaking locale, either; escape to The Lake House Guest Cottages in the Berkshires and you’ll have everything from boutique-style lakeside accommodations to fully equipped kitchens to the unparalleled backdrop of Mt. Greylock at your disposal. It’s time away together to just be—keep out the rest of the world and enjoy reconnecting in one of the prettiest places on the planet.

8. Prepare a Picnic

When the weather is nice, few things are more fun than a picnic in the park. Whether you’re in the desert or surrounded by crisp mountain air, you can find a spot to spread a blanket and pop a bottle of bubbly. You don’t have to be a chef to assemble a gourmet spread. Just run to your local grocery store or gourmet market and grab a combination of the following:

Sliced meats such as prosciutto, turkey, mortadella, or bresaola
A combination of hard and soft cheese, such as brie, smoked gouda, chevre, and aged cheddar
Fresh bread and/or fancy crackers
Fruit (berries and grapes are tasty and won’t need to be peeled or sliced)
Condiments such as whole-grain mustard, pickles, and fig jam
Essential tools and accessories: cutlery, a corkscrew, linen napkins, cups/wine glasses, plates, ice packs, and a hamper to pack it all in
Drinks
A few petit fours or freshly baked brownies for dessert
Of course, you can skip all the shopping and assembly and grab a few premade sandwiches and a fancy side dish (something like tabbouleh or couscous salad, perhaps) from a high-end deli. Plate them on real dinnerware (no paper plates, please) and the presentation will help elevate your spread.

9. Schedule a Photo Shoot

A small word of warning: This is not the kind of present you set up as a surprise and only reveal minutes before showtime. She’ll probably want to pick out a special outfit—and coordinate with the kids, if they’re involved—see to her hair and makeup, or just mentally prepare for a mini red-carpet moment. Give her that time or what’s meant to be a treat could end up being a stress fest.

10. Start a New Tradition

Traditions are meaningful because they emphasize the important of strong relationships and familial bonds. You may already have certain family customs that are passed down from one generation to the next, but it’s never too late to initiate a new one. Perhaps it’s going to the zoo every Anniversary or gathering everyone to make your grandma’s dumpling recipe. If you’re a family that loves the great outdoors, take everyone camping (or glamping, if bugs and weather are an issue). It doesn’t matter whether you recreate the same family photo every year and add it to the living room wall or have a dance party fueled by a soundtrack featuring a song from the birth years of every family member, just pick an idea roll with it.

11. Take a Class Together

“#1 Wife” mugs and Honey-Do coupons are tried-and-true gifts, but there’s one thing you can’t wrap up that she’ll love even more: your time. Take her to a class and learn alongside her as you both try something new. Maybe it’s a wine and paint night or a cooking demonstration where you both attempt to toss pizza dough and end up covered in flour and sauce. The memories are priceless and she’ll remember you for being there even more than she’ll treasure that delightfully spicy slice of pepperoni pie.

For more information on where to celebrate special occasions in the Berkshires or how to plan a special getaway to Lake Pontoosuc, visit us at The Lake House.