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 something’s) from this list should do the trick.
Traditional First Year Anniversary Gift Ideas for Him
1. Funny Anniversary Card
You can’t go wrong with an anniversary classic—a paper card. However, the usual Hallmark cards can seem corny or insincere. Maybe you’d rather make your guy laugh with a sweet-but-funny anniversary card. You’ll get a good chuckle yourself when you see the look on his face as you hand him a jumbo-sized envelope (it’s a whopping 8.5 by 11 inches!). That also means there’s plenty of room inside for you to write a more personal message.
2. Date Night Idea Box
Setting aside time each week for date nights is a great way to strengthen your relationship. With a Date Night Idea Box, you can play romance roulette. Just pull out a paper “recipe” from the 150+ options and see where the night takes you! The cards come in a classy-looking box with five dividers for ‘Appetizers’ (recipes to seduce and tease), ‘Side Dishes’ (to show him he’s loved), ‘Main Dishes’ (for dates and romantic rendezvous), ‘Desserts’ (for passion and sex), and ‘Special Occasions’ (for fun celebrations).
3-4. Sex Checks / Sexy Truth or Dare
This set of 60 paper checks is for “maintaining balance in the bedroom,” and it can really spice things up. The tasks range from naughty favors to mandatory poetry, and the checks look fairly authentic. You can customize each one to suit both of your interests with fill-in-the-blank answers and checkboxes. Take turns picking out your favorite checks, or even leave one on the bedside table for him as a special surprise.
The Sexy Truth or Dare Pick a Stick game is a similarly flirtatious and tree-based gift idea. Each stick features a truth and dare side to inspire bedroom antics as well as interesting conversations.
5. Jar of Love Notes
For something on the sweeter side, a jar of love notes will give him that warm and fuzzy feeling. These beautiful jars contain 31 little envelopes for each day of the month, with thoughtful messages like “Every day I am thankful you are mine.” If you want to write your own messages, you can also buy a version with blank cards. Every time your hubby looks at this keepsake, he’ll be reminded of your love for him.
6. Fill-in-the-Blank Love Journal
A personalized love journal is another way to express your undying affection. The 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.” As the product description suggests, “make it as mushy, racy, or witty as you choose!”
7-8. 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. A naughtier variation of the photo album or display could involve personal pictures for him to enjoy.
9. 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.
10. Paper Plates
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, such as a football frenzy design, and make plans for finger-food game nights or friend get-togethers. To be extra thoughtful, you can pick out a set that features the logo of his favorite sports team.
Piñatas aren’t just for kids! A papier-mâché numero uno 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. Remember to find a cloth to blindfold him with so that he has to work for his present (and who knows—maybe that blindfold will come in handy later that night).
12. Star Wars Origami Kit
Like piñata-whacking, the art of paper folding is not just for the under-twelve crowd. The 36 figures in this origami kit provide a unique diversion for any Star Wars enthusiast, with everything from lightsabers to the Death Star. Origami is a new skill you can learn together while you grunt in exasperation at the difficulties of constructing Jabba the Hutt. There are also training chapters for beginner origamists to help with the basics until you can get to folding the Millennium Falcon.
13. 3D Puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles can be fun, but why not turn your gift-giving up a notch with a 3D paper puzzle? Here’s one 3D puzle suggestion a Game of Thrones fan may love:
14. 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 pages from the Go F*ck Yourself coloring book so you and your significant other can work side by side. You can take your pick of forty different expletives surrounded by intricate patterns and color to your heart’s content.
15. 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 (“Why am I sticky?”) and the other players answer with their funniest white card (“Lumberjack fantasies”). If your husband has a tasteless sense of humor, Cards Against Humanity will provide an evening of pee-your-pants hilarity. Invite your friends over and have a good time playing a few rounds over drinks.
16. A Game of Thrones Boxset
Books are another classic paper product, and you can make this gift extra fancy by going all out with a leather-bound boxset, like the one for A Game of Thrones. This boxset is the ultimate collector’s item and features the first five books in the series (Let’s face it—the last two books aren’t going to exist any time soon).
17. 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. Since this planner is not date-specific, this gift can be given at any time of year. It includes daily, weekly, and monthly calendar sections as well as pages for notes and goals, a pen holder, and card slots. The sleek design makes for an attractive present for any workaholic husband.
19. Pocket Journal
A pocket journal or traveler’s notebook is a great gift if your guy loves to jot down his thoughts on the go, whether it’s notes for work, grocery lists, story ideas, business concepts, or travel plans. The Robrasim-brand notebook is made with high-quality paper and leather binding that feels smooth to the touch. It also comes in four different colors: black, brown, coffee, and wine. (black, brown and coffee shown below)
20-21. Travel Guide / Road Atlas
One of the things my SO and I love to do together is plan epic road trips. If you’re also the type of couple who loves to daydream about faraway places, you can encourage future vacation-planning through a travel guide or road atlas. National Geographic’s Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places includes 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.
New modern first year anniversary gifts for him post coming soon. Will link here when it’s finished.
What first anniversary gift best suits the love of your life?
Would he prefer a funny gag gift, a mushy-gushy expression of love, an idea generator for sexy times, or a combination of all the above? You know your husband best, so follow your intuition and pick what you think will make him smile. Anniversaries are a time to cherish the uniqueness of your relationship, and I hope that your first will be one of many!