gifts they might actually want

The Best 2nd Wedding-Anniversary Gifts

Photo: Courtesy of the vendors

There may be more fanfare around one’s first wedding anniversary (like sharing a piece of stale, year-old cake), but that doesn’t mean the two-year mark isn’t any less special. By now, you’ve probably settled into a comfortable routine with your husband or wife, so your second anniversary offers an opportunity to celebrate all the reasons you fell in love in the first place — and raise a glass to the fact that you’ve already outlasted more than a few celebrity marriages.

If you’re observing the traditional anniversary-gift guidelines and bought each other paper presents for your first anniversary, you’ll want to follow that up with a cotton gift this year. To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the best cotton things we’ve written about here at the Strategist (mostly from our archive of expert-approved products) for all types of couples — from cocktail party co-hosts to frequent travelers. If you haven’t been married for two years, we also have a guide for first-anniversary gifts. And when the time comes, we’ve compiled picks for third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, eighth-, tenth-, 20th-, 25th-, and 50th-anniversary gifts, too.

For the couple who needs a bedding upgrade

Designer Ashley Moore says “you cannot beat the price” of these extra-soft, prewashed sheets from Target. She loves that they come in a variety of colors and patterns, and that the fitted sheets “will fit around deep mattresses and stay put.”

For the (fancy) couple who needs a bedding upgrade

If you’re looking for luxurious sheets, you can’t do much better than Matouk. When we polled interior designers about their favorite high-quality bedding, the brand’s cotton percale sheets came out on top. Designer Sasha Bikoff says she keeps coming back to this subtle pattern: “It’s this very Hollywood Regency scallop-shell pattern that’s kind of Miami–influenced too.”

For the (ecofriendly) couple who needs a bedding upgrade

Couples who take pride in their metal straws and reusable beeswax sandwich wraps will love that this duvet cover is environmentally friendly and ethically made. SOL Organics is a favorite of Ashley Goldman, founder of the Gold Hive, because it uses non-GMO, certified-raw, and fair-trade-certified, 100 percent cotton.

For the couple that’s tired of their white towels

Plain white towels seemed like the logical choice back when you made your wedding registry, but a couple of years later, you might be itching for some color in the bathroom. These towels come in a range of shades like teal, soft pink, and mustard, and are a top pick among Amazon reviewers. One happy customer calls them “a little bit of heaven.”

For the couple that’s redecorating

Strategist writer Lauren Ro found this mellow, traditional number when she was on the hunt for cheap (but expensive-looking) area rugs. “There’s something about the soothing blue pattern of this hand-tufted, wool-and cotton-rug that makes it impossible not to stare at,” she says.

For the couple that’s trying to make their kale last longer

An easy way to eliminate plastic in the kitchen (and keep your veggies crisp for longer) is to store your vegetables typically in these organic cotton Veijibags, which writer Mattie Kahn said kept her kale fresh for 16 days. “Carrots retain their crunch. Swiss chard doesn’t lose its luster. Scallions don’t turn to goo. It’s a miracle.”

When we asked experts about what one needs to achieve a more sustainable kitchen lifestyle, expert Danny Seo (of Naturally, Danny Seo) called these netted, organic cotton bags a game changer at the supermarket — they hold everything from loose lettuce to lemons, and eliminate the need to use tear bags altogether.

For the couple that’s ready to ditch paper towels

DII Swedish Dishcloths
$13 for 3

Made from a blend of renewable cotton and wood pulp, these sustainable dishrags helped wean writer Ashlea Halpern off her heavy paper-towel usage (“I could plough through half a roll in one cleaning session,” she told us). Each dishcloth can supposedly replace 17 rolls of paper towels, and they come in the most precious prints.

For the couple that hosts dinner parties

If you’ve already cut out paper towels, a grown-up set of napkins for the couple’s dinner table might be next on your list. Author and interior designer Nate Berkus says he uses these “all the time.” He likes that they’re nicely sized, easy to bleach if they get stained, and “perfect for any and every occasion.”

For the couple that hosts cocktail parties

If you’re more inclined to invite friends over for predinner drinks, you can still make it a classy affair with these batik-patterned cocktail napkins recommended by writer Chloe Malle. “I brought these to a friend when we were invited to lunch at her house in Amagansett,” she says. “They fit perfectly with her nuanced maritime theme.”

For the couple with serious skin-care routines

Serum-sharing couples should stock the bathroom with these Korean cotton pads that are much better at applying products than the fuzzy, shedding ones you’ll find at the drugstore. “They’re organic, unbleached, and never, ever pill,” says Strategist writer Rio Viera-Newton.

For the binge-watching couple

Nothing says elevated date night like matching organic cotton sweat sets. There are a near endless array of pretty pastels and nice neutral sets at Entireworld, which are Chris Black approved, and can be mixed and matched to your heart’s content.

For the on-the-go couple

Leather accents dress up this cotton canvas duffel bag that’s a favorite among frequent flyers. Yolanda Edwards, the founder of YOLO Journal travel magazine and former creative director of Condé Nast Traveler, says “it stands up on its own, and I like how tall it is.”

For the couple that always takes the red-eye

Georgia Clark, author of The Regulars and The Bucket List, credits the cotton lining of this sleep mask with helping her get some rest wherever she may be in the world. “The cotton interior is pillowy-soft, so much softer and more comfortable than other masks that I tried, many of which were made from polyester (or other nonnatural fabrics),” she says. If you and your spouse need a “Mole Man level of complete darkness” to fall asleep, you’ll appreciate that the mask comes in a two-pack.

For the couple going on a second honeymoon

If you’re headed somewhere sunny, pick up a set of these nautical striped beach towels that are beloved by Amazon reviewers. As one writes, “This towel is the softest, plushest towel I ever touched.”

For the boho couple

As we wrote in our story on affordable living-room décor (that doesn’t look cheap), this macramé wall hanging “will add a little texture to your room.” Alongside the above throw pillow, it’ll make the couple in your life look like regular globetrotters.

For the couple that likes to craft

Nothing says deeply involved couple activity quite like quilting, which requires the time and patience to cut lots and lots of square of fabric. It’s also a good way to repurpose the napkins you saved from your wedding, and while away a couple (okay, a couple dozen) afternoons. We recommend picking up some quilting cotton like this, which expert quilters love for its tight weave and endless color options.

For the dog-parent couple

Two years in feels like as good a time as any to indulge in a a status-y dog tote, like this one from Wagwear that dachshund-owner Perry Betts says is adorable, less bougie than a Louis Vuitton carrier, can sustain a pup up to 20 pounds, and is chew-proof, to boot. The brand currently sells it in a bevy of shades, from camo to tangerine.

For the soon-to-be human parent couple

The DockATot has become something of a cultish baby buy: contributor Juliet Lapidos loves it and moms on Amazon swear by it, lauding its freakish ability to get babies to sleep fast. We like the OG pristine white version, but there are lots of covers you can add to jazz it up if that’s your wont, like a gray gingham that goes with everything, and a pretty floral design.

For the couple that needs to relax

Pair this unisex Parachute bathrobe (at one point it had a waiting list 1,900-people long) with some candles, face masks, and soft lighting for an at-home spa day that’s almost as good as the real thing. They’re sold individually, so you can each pick your own soothing hue (like blush or mineral).

For the couple that likes to match

Both of you can stock up on durable and affordable socks for men and women from Uniqlo, which makes some of our editors’ favorite pairs. Maybe mix up which colors you choose, though, to make laundry day a little easier.

For the couple that likes to cuddle

Recommended by designer Jenny J. Norris, this reversible patterned throw blanket would be perfect for getting cozy on the couch for a night of Netflix. “So on-trend and very cool,” says Norris. “It’s a statement, certainly more unique than your traditional throw blanket.”

For the couple who likes to cuddle (in style)

Crisp white cotton and contrast piping make these matching PJs a more elegant choice for lazy Sundays than old sweatpants. Plus, the status-y sleepwear brand Sleepy Jones is Karlie Kloss’s favorite.

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The Best 2nd Wedding-Anniversary Gifts