Personal Shopper: Paper Anniversary Gifts for Catherine's Husband

Says Catherine: "HELP! My first anniversary is coming up and I don't have any idea what to get my husband. We decided to go with the traditional categories for anniversary gift with the 1st one being paper. We give each other art posters pretty regularly and I thought about tickets to a game or concert but again, we attend one of those once a month so it doesn't seem special at all. Any idea? We said we'd keep gifts to the $50-60 range. I only have 2 weeks to find a gift."

Marian the Contrarian, at your service! Catherine, I've always loved the anniversary gift categories, and this one in particular should be a lot of fun. (There's something magically DIY about it.) First off, I'm sure you're aware that the "traditional" and "modern" anniversary gift lists take decades and then some to match up. While paper is the traditional first anniversary gift, clocks are the modern choice, and you could cover both bases (and get a big smile) with this 1) paper clock kit ($12). It arrives looking like a book (with a preface by Isaac Asimov, no less!) but once it's cut to bits, it becomes a working timepiece.

Is there anywhere that the two of you have wanted to go together? An 2) atlas (this one from Rand McNally is $36) could convey a romantic promise of future travel - even more so if there were (paper) tickets tucked inside. And to finish up with the books, since your remark about posters suggests that you and your husband enjoy art, Out of Nothing ($34) collects photos of paper sculptor Peter Callesen's works, like 3) this one.

If you have the time or inclination to set this up, there are also these 4) paper streamers that magicians use ($11) - you know, the really really long multi-colored ones that coil up really tiny and sort of burst out into the air? That would be a great way to start your celebration, don't you think?

Do you know a few simple origami patterns, or can you take a few minutes on the sly and learn some? (This site has traditionally lovey options like hearts and flowers, but plenty of other things as well - you might be able to find something of special significance to you both.) Give the origami an extra twist by making them from 5) edible paper ($6 a pack), written or drawn on with edible ink (included with paper).

The challenge of getting a great paper gift together, of course, is that most of the paper products we use regularly are sort of . . . cheap. And not very interesting. But you could still top off the package with a collection of little, but thoughtful, things: 7) pocket tissue packs (8 for $3), a 8) quirky deck of playing cards ($4 for this one, featuring cover art from Beatles singles), and a really nice letter. Folded into 9) a paper airplane.

Keep yourself safe from paper cuts, Catherine, and have a lovely anniversary!

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