expert-approved gifts

The 10 Best Paper Gifts to Celebrate a One-Year Anniversary

It’s the one-year anniversary of the Strategist’s launch, and to celebrate with the traditional gift of paper, we asked Luke Pontifell, founder of Newburgh-based printer and publisher Thornwillow Press to help us create a selection of the best one-year anniversary gifts.

In this age of disposable and intangible communications, when we delete our correspondence, store our memories in the cloud, and turn our books on and off with a switch, it may seem to you, dear reader, that paper is destined for the scrap heap of our virtual civilization. But I argue it is more powerful now than ever before. Paper is power. You can touch it. You can keep it. You can share it. It will be here when you are gone. It is tangible. It is REAL. With that in mind, I would like to share a few real gift ideas from the world of paper that will make a physical impact on your gift list — and that you can order online.

You might play Texas Hold ‘Em on your phone, but there is nothing like a beautifully made deck of cards, especially the amazing gold-stamped tuck case on these playing cards from Theory 11. I also love these cards from master playing-card designer Jackson Robinson. He is an amazing artist (he just illustrated a new edition of stories by David Mamet that we are bringing out at Thornwillow).

If you really want to make an impact, find a book that meant something to the recipient when they were growing up. AbeBooks is a great tool for this — depending on your budget, it could be a first edition or just an early one; it could be leather bound, or signed by the author. I personally love N.C. Wyeth–illustrated Treasure Island, Charles Scribner’s, 1911.

Whether you have a green or inky thumb, these paper peonies will be in beautiful bloom all year long. Paper rarely looks this gorgeous.

While NASA certainly uses a computer or two to navigate the stars, there is nothing like an actual map that you can unfold when planning your next trip into space. A cheeky way of telling someone the sky’s the limit, or to reach for the stars.

A lovely leather journal that only gets better with time is a fitting way to keep yourself in your loved one’s thoughts. Shinola is committed to restoring craft and manufacturing to cities in peril in the United States. When you buy and use a beautiful object, you are also supporting and endorsing the people who made it. Urban revitalization by making things makes our world a better place in so many ways.

For recipients who need some portable inspiration, Mouse Books takes classic literature and makes them as mobile as a smartphone, without having to read on a screen. Their books are thoughtfully curated and scaled down to make the bus, the subway, the coffee line, or the Uber ride moments for stimulating your imagination.

What is paper if not wood? Lynd Ward, one of the greatest wood engravers, “wrote” novels without words during last century’s Depression era. These expressionist early graphic novels are dark and mesmerizing and are now available in a collector’s set that would be a fantastic gift for a history buff.


Admittedly an unusual gift, but for someone who lived through the era of Studio 54 or even just knows Ian Schrager as the hotel guy, this is the perfect time capsule of a decadent era. Fun fact: When I was a teenager, and underage, I somehow talked my way past the velvet rope into Studio 54 during the last days of disco.

Not all of your photographs are destined for Instagram. Some might be worth experiencing and preserving on actual paper. Visit to create prints and albums to remember special moments and occasions.

A beautiful calendar is a lovely way to mark the passage of time with a loved one. I’m biased, of course, but we’ve been making limited-edition engraved calendars for years, and our 2018 calendar is particularly handsome. Original designs for each month are hand-stamped on heavy card stock with a gold motif.

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The 10 Best Paper Gifts to Celebrate a One-Year Anniversary