The 1st Anniversary: The Paper Gift

A Greek myth related to followers of Plato tells us the first human beings were creatures with eight limbs and four eyes. It had two mouths and two noses, and the mighty God Zeus abhorred the sight of them. Like his father before him, Zeus believed these beasts held power beyond their understanding, and that when they reached the day of their enlightenment, they would destroy him.

Not wanting to be overthrown, Zeus cleaved these beings in half, creating what we recognize as the human being of this age. Zeus left these lost souls to wander in the mortal world broken and alone, forever in search of their other half. Forever in search of their soul mate. Only when they found their soul mate could they be made one again.

Marital Traditions
Marriage, at least metaphorically, makes us one with our partner. The first wedding anniversary marks the first year’s success for the couple, and is hopefully a sign of many more to come. No one is sure as to why tradition tells us to bestow the gift of paper on our beloved on the first anniversary. It is believed that because the material gifts become stronger with each year of marriage (silver, gold and diamond in the later years) that paper marks the marriage as still being in a fragile state. Only after you have been married for 25 years or more can it be said that your marriage is strong.

If your partner is a romantic, bringing them a gift made of paper is sure to delight. Here are three different anniversary paper gift ideas that will commemorate your first year of marriage.


Maps: The Collage Picture Frame
There are three distinct memories you share with your partner: where you first met, where you said yes, and where you married. Isn’t a gift documenting where you fell in love and married the perfect way to say I love you?

Materials Needed:

  •  Collage picture frame with three openings
  • 3 Small heart-shaped stickers
  •  Map
  •  Ruler
  •  Pair of scissors
  •  Glue stick
  •  Sheet of scrapbooking paper
  •  Pen
  •  Pencil


  1. Locate on the map the three places you want to highlight (i.e. where you met, became engaged and married)
  1. Affix the heart-shaped stickers to the points of interest
  1. Cut out the areas on the map to the measurements of the collage picture frame openings
  1. Using the ruler, measure 3 2” x 1” strips on the scrapbooking paper, mark with pencil.
  1. On the first strip, write “Met”
  1. On the second strip write “Engaged”
  1. On the third strip write “Married”
  1. With a pair of scissors, cut out the three measured strips and lay them upside down (the writing should face your work station surface).
  1. With the glue stick, glue each strip to their designated map cutting. Wait to dry.
  1. Insert the map cuttings into the collage picture frame.

Close the frame, and you’re done!

This gift will tell your spouse the three best days of your life had to do with being in their company. What’s more romantic than that?

If you don’t think this gift will be to your partner’s taste (maybe they were hoping for a joint gift to a new vacation spot) you can still present them with a small, easy-to-make paper gift that celebrates your coupledom’s adventurous spirit. You can write down your memories of your first year together on scraps of colorful paper and fill up a mason jar and tie it with ribbon, or you can write a beautiful love letter. As long as you use paper in some way for the gift, you have satisfied the paper-giving tradition. But of course—it’s up to you and your partner’s gifting styles.

About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1

    I really love the met, married, live. Super cute. I have a must to check out by Dreamlines. My hubby gave me a sketch of my wedding dress and his suit. The details were just amazing. I hope you enjoy it.

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