Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Gift of Paper: An Anniversary Gift

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in a little cottage in Dent and had a great few days away (you can read all about it here!). The first wedding anniversary is represented by paper in the UK and I thought I'd share my paper DIY. 

Full disclosure: This anniversary DIY isn't really complicated enough to showcase your crafty skills but you and the recipient both get get twelve fun days/nights out of it, so that earned it a gold star from me!
I picked up some sheets of recycled paper and 12 Kraft envelopes. Scrabble usually features in our weekend lineup and this Scrabble font was one of the fonts we used for our wedding day stationary. Each envelope contained a square of recycled paper with a printed 'voucher' which introduced the date for that month and said what was included. For some dates, I made little tickets and paper bits, too. I bundled the envelopes together, in date order, using a length of 'Admit One' ribbon bought on Etsy and put them inside a paper box filled with wedding day pictures and shredded recycled paper. Ta-da. Job done! 

The hardest, but also the most fun part was coming up with date ideas. I wanted the dates to be something we'd either talked about doing 'at some point' but never actually made a plan for, or something we do more regularly where the voucher would give us a good excuse to spend quality time together doing something which we love.

Here's what we got up to:
September - 'A Cozy Night In' (Clockwise from top left) Knowing we'd have a busy month, this one was a night where we'd switch of our phones, lock the door, put on PJs and just relax with each other. It's not that we'd not have done this at some point in the month anyway, but putting a date in the calendar for such a night made it feel more special. The voucher included a film of M's choice, popcorn, sweets, and a large American Pizza Slice pizza (best pizza ever). 

October - 'A Trip to Blackpool'  One of our first dates was a trip to Blackpool. We had taken a Kodak disposable camera. I sent it off to TruPrint and they lost it. Devastated! We've gone to see the illuminations, or what's left of them, almost every October since. I made little tickets for tram rides, made up a £2 bag of penny coins, and promised a fish and chip dinner.

November - 'Nando's and Cinema'  Both of us love Twilight fans (please don't judge!) so this one gave us an excuse to enjoy a Nando's meal, buy cinema tickets to see Breaking Dawn Part 2 and munch pick'n'mix.

January - A Night of Fine Dining, At Home  A three course dinner with wine - his choice of menu. I made homemade pasta, without a pasta machine. It was a disaster but we had a great night laughing at my attempt to make pasta. The thick slimy tagliatelle wasn't quite what I'd imagined - not so fine dining, as it turned out.

February - Spa Pampering for Two  A day of pampering at a local spa. We went to Rookery Hall and Spa and had a relaxed day around their pool area with sauna and steam room, and a heavenly massage.

March - Beer A tour around Cains Brewery and a few bottles of beer to take away. This one was thwarted, sadly, by our cat, Jacques', accident and then the brewery closed and tours were no longer available. Instead, I bought a supply of beers from different countries, made a beer quiz and created little tasting note cards. No complaints - he had a well stocked fridge for a good while after!

April - A Little Mini Break Again, this one was put on hold because it was very difficult to go away overnight after Jacques' accident. Not quite what I'd planned, but we splashed out on a lovely hotel in Buxton after my friends wedding.

May - An Indoor Picnic Not trusting the British weather, this included a new board game and a picnic blanket covered with tasty food from Delifonseca, our favourite Liverpool based deli. We have most of the more traditional board games at home already so M decided on Family Fortunes, which kept us amused for long enough (but hasn't been out of it's box since!

June - Museum Time  The original plan was to head to Eden Camp in Yorkshire. We'd worked out  that we'd both been there on a primary school visit within a month of each other. We agreed to go together but have never got round to it. Well, we still haven't! We couldn't get away overnight without paying for a vet nurse to sit, so we took advantage of living in such an amazing city and went to the Chagall exhibition at Liverpool Tate instead. We followed it up with a meal and drinks at Miller and Carter. 

July - 'Lions and Tigers and Bears' After talking about it for years, we finally made a date for Chester Zoo! This one included a packed lunch with peanut butter and jam sandwiches and all the sorts of naughty goodies you were never allowed in your packed lunch as a kid. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we had an amazing time.

August - Next Stop, Cotton I knew this would be a busier month and probably when we'd go on holiday. I planned a 'show and tell' night, where we looked through all the photos from the past 12 months of anniversary gift related dates with a good bottle of red, too much cheese and charcuterie. This one also included a photobook for us to store our favourite snaps.

That's it - our twelve paper anniversary dates. I'm sure there are lots of things that you could include, depending on how much money you want to spend, what you enjoy doing together and how far you're able to travel. Circumstances meant that not all of the later dates went quite as I'd planned but having at least one pre-planned date in the diary each month really encouraged us (forced us, at times) to stop and set 'proper' time aside for each other. We've got some great memories, a photobook to create and a lot of ticket stumps to help us to remember our second year of marriage. 

Doing things with the people I love, rather than having things, is becoming increasingly important. With Christmas coming up fast, I think this could easily be adapted for a friend or relative. Can this help you to cross anyone off your Christmas shopping list? I hope so!

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