The Cotton Year

I think it’s fun and kind of kitschy to give anniversary gifts corresponding to the traditional year gifts. Last year was paper. This second year of marriage is celebrated with cotton, though a modern list I consulted also lists china. Cotton is much more fun and practical, so I thought I’d go with that.

I had a hard time figuring out what to get Dan for our cotton anniversary. A shirt seemed to simple. He has a lot of ties. We have enough sheet sets from the wedding showers to last us for years to come. I wanted something a little bit off the beaten path.

During my search, I came across a ton of great cotton-related gift ideas. I didn’t use these, but I thought I’d help out a fellow wife who is coming up on her second year anniversary.


1. What guy wouldn’t love a hat for his favorite team? We’re Cubs fan, and it’s baseball season, but feel free to pick an off-season sport hat (like the Bears) to give your guy something to look forward to when the weather cools.

2. Every man can use another pair or two of boxers. J. Crew has some fun designs, but they can be pricey. Old Navy usually has similar prints for a little cheaper.

3. Splurge on a new rug for your home. This may be one of those presents you pick out together and make a part of both of your gifts, but you’ll have a constant reminder of your second anniversary there on the floor.

4. Tie your gift to a promise of a fun event. Use your towel on the next trip to the beach or pool.

5. OK, I’ll admit this one is out of my price range, but I love the sentiment of looking at where each of you have come from and seeing the family you’ve made together. Since I’m a big DIY-er, I would try to make this one myself. Or, if hand stitching isn’t your thing, you can always design a family tree yourself on the computer, and have it printed onto fabric at spoonflower.  I particularly like these modern family trees, and I’m hoping to design something similar one day.


(from my tree & me)


(from etsy)

Frame it or hang it up as is for a great statement piece of art.

6. Another high ticket item, but could be done so much cheaper on your own. Here’s a great tutorial I cam across on how to make it. I love the natural look of the pillow, and it would look great on the bed.

I didn’t get any of the above, so what did I actually get Dan?

As I always try to make part of a person’s gift (it seems more special that way), I made him these pillow cases.


They say “same thing as always,” which is our way of saying I love you.

The method of making them was easy enough. I bought a pack of two 600 thread count standard pillow cases. I washed and ironed them first, to avoid any shrinking issues.

Next, I found a font I liked in word and printed it out. I traced over it on the pillowcase in very light pencil. It’s kind of hard to see.


I just sewed over it in plain sewing thread.


For the store-bought gifts, I got Dan two other things with a cotton theme.

I got him a duffel bag for the many mini-getaways to come.


On our last trip to Lake Geneva, Dan had trouble finding a bag that wasn’t carry on sized to hold his things, so I knew this gift would be perfect.

The final item was just a photo of the gift…for now. It is a hammock (from


When we move to a house with a backyard, we’ll spend hours laying out in it. But for now, with no place to use it, I’m giving Dan the promise of buying him a hammock. It totally reminds me of our honeymoon in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. There, we sat in the hammocks after dinner and enjoyed the warm air and pretty view. Dan’s a tall guy, so he didn’t fit so well in those hammocks, but should fit fine in this large one.

Dan really enjoyed his gifts, which made me happy.

I guess I should start thinking now for traditional Year 3 gifts. The theme: Leather. Yikes.


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