Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first year of marriage, and it’s time to celebrate with a slice of thawed wedding cake and a thoughtful anniversary gift. The traditional first-anniversary theme is paper, which symbolizes delicate beginnings and an unwritten future.
Paper may seem like a limiting category at first, but as you’ll soon find out, there are a surprising number of ways you can get creative and find that perfect gift for your husband. Whether you’re going for sweet or sexy, funny or heartfelt, something (or somethings) from this list should do the trick.
Funny Anniversary Card
You can’t go wrong with an anniversary classic — a paper card. If the usual Hallmark cards seem corny or insincere, maybe you’d rather make your guy laugh with a sweet-but-funny anniversary card.
Best Date Ideas Book
He’ll likely love ready-made date night ideas, and you, of course, would love to participate. Here’s something you’ll both love.
Couples coupons can be a fun and humorous way to keep each other on your toes — you’ll give him the book on your anniversary, but he can use the coupons at any time, spicing up an otherwise-average evening.
Romantic Card Games
Romantic card games offer a flirtatious paper-based gift. They range from serious discussion prompts to help you learn more about your partner to silly games of truth-or-dare.
Fill-in-the-Blank Love Journal
A personalized love journal is another way to express your undying affection. A What I Love About You fill-in-the-blank book provides prompts for you to describe your significant other, such as “You are my favorite ________ in the world” and “I believe we’d make a great ________ team.” Make your declarations serious and sentimental, or fill in the blanks with sillier words to give him a laugh.
Photo Album/Hanging Photo Display
If you want to get a bit crafty and include a more personal touch for your paper gift, consider a vintage photo album or a hanging photo display, complete with pictures of memorable activities and places you’ve experienced together.
The photo album is a great way to immortalize special events; you could even chronicle your relationship, from your first date to your engagement, wedding, honeymoon, and important moments from your first year of marriage. Leave a slot at the end for a picture from your first anniversary!
The hanging photo display is more decorative, allowing you to showcase your favorite pictures in a single exhibit and brighten up a room with happy memories. If you want to surprise your hubby, you can choose your favorite photos in advance, then set it up somewhere in your home where he will see it when he walks into the room.
First-Anniversary Toilet Paper
Anniversary-themed toilet paper is a great gag gift if you’re looking to match the paper theme while also giving something of practical value. This roll says “Happy 1st ‘Paper’ Anniversary,” so your husband will be reminded of your special day every time he visits the bathroom. The night before, you can replace the regular toilet paper with your anniversary gift and try to hold in your giggles until he discovers the surprise.
Another practical-yet-silly gag gift is a set of paper plates, which will elicit a sarcastic “thanks” from your beloved and save you both a night of doing dishes. You can even buy a themed set for your anniversary (shown below), or a sports-themed set for finger-food game nights or friend get-togethers.
Piñatas aren’t just for kids! A papier-mâché heart to represent your first year together is a fun way to bestow smaller gifts. Fill the piñata with his favorite candies, pictures of you, gift cards to restaurants he’s always wanted to try, dollar bills, or thoughtful notes. Hang your piñata from a tree in the yard, then grab a bat or broom and let him go to town.
Star Wars Origami Kit
Like piñata-whacking, the art of paper folding is not just for the under-twelve crowd. A Star Wars origami kit provides a unique diversion for any Star Wars enthusiast, with everything from light-sabers to the Death Star.
Jigsaw puzzles can be fun, but why not turn your gift-giving up a notch with a 3D paper puzzle? You can build an iconic landmark like the Eiffel Tower, the castle you both dream of living in, a lighthouse, or one of many other options. You may even be able to find one that matches a sight you saw on your honeymoon. After you build it, you can display it in your home for years to come.
Swear Word Coloring Book
Everyone needs a way to blow off steam, and a swear-word-filled coloring session is one way to goof around together and relax. Grab a set of coloring pencils and cut out a couple of pages from the coloring book so you and your significant other can work side by side.
Cards Against Humanity
As the self-proclaimed “party game for horrible people,” Cards Against Humanity is the risqué version of Apples to Apples. Using paper playing cards, one player asks a question from a black card, and the other players answer with their funniest white card. If your husband has a crude sense of humor, Cards Against Humanity will provide an evening of wet-your-pants hilarity. Invite your friends over and have a good time playing a few rounds over drinks.
Book Series Boxset
Books are another classic paper product, and a great book series will keep him occupied for several months, like the one for A Game of Thrones. You can make this gift extra fancy by going all out with a leather-bound boxset.
The Princess Bride
Reading can be a wonderful shared experience for couples, even for those who have vastly different tastes. If you both enjoy stories, you can create a new bedtime ritual and read a book aloud. One modern fantasy classic that has pleased both male and female readers alike is William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, which reads like a contemporary fairytale with plenty of adventure, romance, and humor throughout.
Although a calendar is a good paper-based gift, it may only be relevant if your anniversary is in December or January. However, if you like the idea of a productivity tool, opt for a customizable daily planner instead. This gift can be given at any time of year. Choose one that includes daily, weekly, and monthly calendar sections as well as pages for notes and goals, a pen holder, and card slots.
A pocket journal or traveler’s notebook is a great gift if your guy loves to jot down his thoughts on the go, whether that means notes for work, grocery lists, story ideas, business concepts, or travel plans. Find a notebook made with high-quality paper and leather binding that feels smooth to the touch.
Travel Guide/Road Atlas
If you’re the type of couple who loves to daydream about faraway places, you can encourage future vacation-planning through a travel guide or road atlas. A book like National Geographic’s Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places will include full-page color photos of jaw-dropping sights around the globe, along with plenty of facts about each destination.
With a North American road atlas, you could plan out a route for your next trip together and even stick a sample itinerary inside with ideas for restaurants, outdoor activities, and attractions.
Bonus: Vinyl Wall Clock
Although the traditional first-anniversary gift is paper, modern tastes have suggested clocks as an alternative. A wall clock made from a vinyl record is both awesome and thoughtful, as you can find ones that honor his favorite movie, TV show, or band. There are nifty skyline designs as well that don’t break the bank.
Ready to get a jump on next year? Here’s the next article: 2nd Anniversary Gift for Husbands (16, All on Amazon)