• Wedding Anniversary Gifts By Year

    Do You Have A Non-Consuming Gift Idea?
    Send It: greengifts@oregonlink.com
    Subject: Green Gift

    Ellen's Non-Consuming Gift Ideas

  • A follow up congratulations to a wedding usually has me collecting the flowers left around on the tables at the reception. I dry and fragrance them, then sew them into a colorful decorative mesh satchet so the bride can always have her wedding flowers in her drawer. - Elise - Evanston, Illinois
  • For my grandmother's 81st birthday - I sent out letters to all her children, friends and family asking them to gather old pictures of themselves and her. I also asked them to schedule a time for a video taping. In the video I asked what was their most memoriable moment about her? Say one of her famous lines? (this was very funny since she was a quick wit) and anything they would like to say to her that they had not said (very touching). I edited the video with subtext and at the end inserted all of the photos which played as the song Memories by Glady's Knight played - there wasn't a dry eye in the house. - Chana - Houston, Texas
  • Pay for someone to go to the doctor's office and have a check-up. This shows that you care and want them to stay alive for a long time. -Laura, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • For my friend's birthday I wrote a letter to all the people closest to him and asked them to send me their favorite memory of him and a picture of them with him. I put them all together in a nice photo album. He cried when he read it. - Aimee - Evanston Illinois
  • Give an apple tree; this will produce food, no waste and also offer shelter. -Amelia, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • Giving a library card to a child is a wonderful thing. Usually the parent needs to sign for it, but I suggest this: call the library and find out the cost. -- Send the check to the child in a card explaining this is for a library card (check with the parent first). It has brought much joy to the children I have done this for, and it is a wonderful way to get them reading more. -Cynthia - Salem Oregon
  • Go to the store called Natural Wonders and buy a certificate to have a star named after a friend. -Vasily, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • Make a solar oven from a cardboard box. Inside the box you put foil paper and the sun reflects off the foil onto the food, and it cooks. -Jasmine, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • Give an Aloe plant. It does not need much water and you can cut off a leaf and use it for burns. -Mike, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • I think an environmentally safe gift is a real big hug and a friendly compliment. -Mary, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • A great frugal continuing gift is a packet of seeds. -Karen, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • Take a person somewhere, like fishing or to the movies. -Christena, Alice Ott Middle School - Portland Oregon
  • Our family went through our closets and found all the clothes, shoes and toys that were the right size and fitting for a family whose apartment burned down just before Christmas. -Kimberly, Salem Oregon
  • The frugal gift I give people is gift certificates for my time, like one to my dad for a garage cleaning, one to grandma good for a car wash and wax. -Mathew, Salem Oregon
  • I craft with old Christmas cards all the time; we have made a Christmas train to put on the wall and door decorations with cards. -Angie, Salem Oregon
  • My grandfather made me a tape recording that told his life story before he passed away ten years ago. He talked about where he was born, where he grew up, his parents, some of his most fond memories, how he met my Grandmother, the day my father was born, the way things were so many years ago...At the time I did not really grasp the pricelessness of this gift, but now I treasure it dearly. I am making each of my brothers and sisters a copy of the tape as we all loved my Grandfather so dearly. -Amy, Salem Oregon
  • A gift for the homeless: get towels at thrift shops, then go to 99 cent stores and buy samples of toilet articles. In each towel put a bar of soap, a bottle of shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb and a razor. (Save unused giveaway toilet articles from motels and hotels to put in these towels.) Sometimes I add ski hats, gloves or sweaters if the thrift store has them; I add $3.00 worth of coupons from McDonalds and a candy bar. -Shirley, California
  • Large storage jars filled with basic mixes of cornbread, pancake, cookie and quick bread mixes was the gift I gave my pregnant daughter who has a four year old and a part-time office job. Most of my supplies were purchased from the bulk bins and brought home in my recycled bags. -Phyllis, Salem Oregon
  • A bulletin board made out of real cork has been a successful gift. Take a picture or window frame and put a heavy backing on it. Glue wine corks tightly together, either horizontally or vertically. -Jim, Salem Oregon
  • Pay for a child's lessons in piano, dance, swimming, karate, riding, etc. -Lori, Woodburn Oregon
  • Big hit with my mother-in-law: recycling ketchup, wine and syrup bottles, filling with non-hazardous household items (baking powder, lemon juice, garlic cloves, canola oil, beeswax, table salt, etc.) that make cleaning formulas. Details in Natural Cleaning for Your Home, by Casey Kellar, which I included in my gift basket for her. -Nanette, Boring Oregon
  • Pay for a class in continuing education. -Lori, Woodburn Oregon
  • A gingerbread cookie basket filled with homegrown and dried fruits dipped in white or milk chocolate. -Mark, Silverton Oregon
  • Make an unusual gift for your spouse by creating a two-way street asking people for things they have borrowed from your spouse to be returned, AND to inquire whether he/she might have borrowed anything from them. -Rhea, Salem Oregon
  • For my college graduation, my mom's gift was a card telling me not to worry about making my car payment for 6 months. It was a perfect gift for a graduate new to the job world. --A.J.
  • Our children have given us cherry trees with four or five grafts, apple trees grafted with different varieties, a peach tree, berry plants and grapevines. This has been wonderful for us, and a benefit for them in the forms of pies, cakes, homemade ice cream, jams and jellies. -Terry, Jefferson Oregon
  • We used several old car license plates and some lumber scraps to make dust pans for friends and family. We painted the handles in bright colors, with paints we had on hand. -The Thompsons, Dallas Oregon
  • Handmade book for friendship, birthdays, child's story made from 2 sheets of paper folded, stiff cover and staples or thread. -Boude, North Hills, California
  • I give my nieces and nephew a special ornament each year; this year I made small artificial Christmas trees by gluing on antique buttons from their great grandmother and great aunt. -Bonnie, Jefferson Oregon
  • Grandma Smith gave my sister-in-law and me each a china serving dish from her cupboard. It is of great sentimental value to us, cost her nothing, and were dishes she no longer used. -Bonnie, Jefferson Oregon
  • Create a bird house from your tree prunings! Recycle 20' of nylon strapping tape from shipping boxes or 20' of nylon binding twine cast-offs from lumber yards or hay bales, top and bottom lids from gallon cans or the bottom of plastic jugs. (Contact Creative Twist, 1007 Newport Rd. SE, Salem, OR 97306 for detailed instructions.) -Dave, Salem Oregon
  • My sister gave me a beautiful carousel horse which she rescued from a rubbish heap, cleaned up, painted and trimmed. It is now one of my prized possessions. She has since painted and sold several others. -Carol, Salem Oregon
  • My mother wrote her memories of the first five years we spent in Alaska, my husband typed it into the computer and I edited. My younger sister provided illustrations and our son proofread the manuscript a number of times. We made copies, had them bound into books and sent it to many friends and relatives. A spin-off bonus has been to receive e-mail from her friends expressing delight in our sharing. -Sharon, Dallas Oregon
  • Instead of giving less than useful gifts for Christmas this year, Judy and I donated what we would usually spend, about $100, to the Women's Crisis Center in the name of our school. -Principal Steve, Salem Oregon
  • Children and adults were given tickets to locally produced music and holiday productions. -Marti, Portland Oregon
  • A gift for my parents' 58th wedding anniversary: I will write down some of my best memories of growing up and the important things I learned from them on special stationery. -Mary, Salem Oregon
  • The gift of my 10 year old son playing from the heart "The Yellow Rose of Texas" when I returned after receiving my doctorate is one I will never forget. -Vye, Salem Oregon
  • One of my students stitched a 12" square decorative pillow for me at Christmas. On the back she embroidered my name and hers and the year; it is proudly displayed in my home. -Nancy, Keizer Oregon
  • My mother's recipe box has given me some wonderful ideas. I am currently going through the book with Mom copying some of each of our favorite recipes. I'll compile these into a family favorite recipe book and give them as next year's Christmas gifts. I'll include stories from Mom about memories of these various dishes. -Jennifer, Salem Oregon
  • A great gift would be a teenager washing the car once a month for a year. -Lori, Woodburn Oregon
  • Cards were made by glueing personal photos and including a hand-written greeting. Enclosed with each card was a packet of Territorial Seeds (poppies for me) with a gold sticker, "You are special and unique exactly as you are." -K. C., Salem Oregon
  • I took one of my birdhouses and used it as a pattern. Each child received all the parts, pre-drilled, and a drawing of how to assemble it. They also received a bird feeder. Everything was cedar so it didn't need to be painted. The kids were very proud when they finished and let me know when birds had moved into their houses. -Maura, Scio Oregon
  • For someone at home or in another city, give a membership to the Zoo, the Museum, the Aquarium--something that is special in their lives. -Lori, Woodburn Oregon
  • Do hand-mending for a busy working mother or a bachelor. This is a great idea for grandmothers on fixed incomes! Or, offer to do their holiday baking. Other ideas costing you only your time are coupons for: baby-sitting, caring for an elderly or handicapped person to give the regular caretaker a break, feeding pets while someone is on vacation, etc. -Lori, Woodburn Oregon
  • Our relatives gathered at our home for the annual June party and my husband and I presented each family with a compost bin and primer. These were well received, and we had an uproaring and unconsumptive time exchanging white elephants. Catherine, Cornelius Oregon
  • I make cloth napkins from fat quarters (used in quilting) to give friends with the following attachment: "Save a tree, reuse, recycle, and reduce. Please use these cloth napkins over and over - as what isn't reused, recycled or reduced will either be burned or buried, and what goes up will come down and will eventually bury us." -Janet, Salem Oregon
  • When my daughters were beginning to wonder about their futures, I researched and wrote short reports on the lives of various women who had the same first names. -Lloyd, Salem Oregon
  • A questionnaire was sent out to all the members of my extended family asking about favorite this and favorite that, plus basic ID information. The results were published allowing us to give appropriate gifts to some we didn't see so often. -Lloyd, Salem Oregon
  • Some of my cousins are interested in genealogy and gave gifts of research on family ancestors. -Lloyd, Salem Oregon
  • Make gifts of table runners, placemats, and napkins from fabric scraps. -Barbara, Salem Oregon
  • Calligraph a poem or saying, using canceled stamps appropriate to the subject. -Barbara, Salem Oregon
  • An unusual gift or anyone over the age of 70 or married for 50 years, you can request a birthday or anniversary greeting from the President of the United States! Two months before the date, send a letter to the White House Greetings Office, P. O. Box 39, Washington, DC 20502 with the request: "On (date), my (relationship and name) will be (number) years old. [Or have been married for (number - 50 or more) years.] I would appreciate it if the President would send his greetings. Thank you."--Be sure to include your relative's name, address and zip code! -Shirley, San Diego California
  • Because our grown children have projects that we can help with, but they don't want to impose upon us, we place a week of a calendar print in a jar. They know we have that time available for them and they may take a day or more from the jar, then feel free to call on us. (We're particularly hoping they need some baby-sitting !) We use up the time...altogether or how many days they needed. We all know what worthwhile time it can be working together. -The Roberts, Monmouth Oregon
  • Our gift to each other was to make a donation to charities that help the needy and homeless. We requested that our children and adult relatives do the same. -The Cutsingers, Salem Oregon
  • We've saved all our cards from important dates and occasions. Years ago I needed a card and happened upon this box. I selected one, redated and re-stated it (we've moved) and added a new personal message for my husband's birthday. He appreciated it so much he proceeded to categorize them into Mother's Day, birthdays, etc., and now we choose our cards and have double the pleasure of now and then. -Eleanor, Keizer Oregon
  • Each person in the family gets a homemade ornament related to his/her life. A ceramic tomato for my son-in-law, G clef sign for my grandson in a singing group. I use clay, but they could be made of cloth scraps, wire, cardboard or paper. -Jean, Salem Oregon
  • For the birds, put a 2-3" piece of kidney suet (available at a butcher's) in the netting that holds onions (I've also seen it with tomatoes and avocados recently), and tie it with dental floss to a tree branch. A festive touch at Christmas is to add a piece of holly. The suet gets moldy or rancid in a week or two, so keep an eye out for when it needs changing. -Ellen, Salem Oregon
  • I sent a friend who wants to go to Tibet for the Mt. Kailas pilgrimage my coffee table book on Mt. Kailas with a note plus request for return when she finished. She doesn't need STUFF either. -Linda, Kenwood, California
  • A gift for someone either on vacation or a temporary job away from home is to keep the car on your property, safe and sound, until he/she returns. -Diana and Paul, Aumsville Oregon
  • When a person dear to you is struggling with a broken or substandard something-or-other, fix it, quietly, saying nothing. -Diana and Paul, Aumsville Oregon
  • A combination of coupons to friends: a homemade meal, a day of baby-sitting, a back rub, and a walk in the park. -David, Keizer Oregon
  • A natural looking birdhouse for decorative display can be made out of a half gallon milk carton, spaghnum moss or lichen, waterproof glue, an artificial bird, 6" square wood base and nails or staples. -Little Garden Club of Salem Heights, Salem Oregon
  • A ferrier recycles horseshoes by cutting them in half, firing them , then pulling and shaping the cut ends into hoof picks. Great Christmas gifts for his clients! -Mike, Keizer Oregon
  • Use a piece of Tupperware or pot with lid for instead of box and wrapping paper for a wedding , housewarming or shower gift. -Mark, Silverton Oregon
  • Recycle the short pieces of candles by remolding them and making ice friendship candles. -Bonnie, Jefferson Oregon
  • Our family invited a student from a local college that was unable to go home for the holidays. Fill an egg carton with lint from the dryer, melt wax over the top. Cut into sections and use as fire starters. -Pat, Salem Oregon
  • Cut off the top of Christmas or birthday cards and make them into postcards. Minimum: 3 1/2" x 5", Maximum: 4 1/4" x 6". Vicki, Syracuse New York
  • During the year, I get baskets at thrift stores, yards sales etc. For holidays I fill with home canning-pickles, jams, fruit. Our family has been recycling greeting cards for over 30 years, so my grown children still receive the cards they got as small children, and they enjoy the memories attached to these cards. -Melissa, Willamina Oregon
  • Don't forget to check out these useful books!
  • 50 Simple Things You can Do to Save the Earth - the Earth Works
  • Money Saving Secrets - Gene Logsdon
  • Natural Cleaning for Your Home - Casey Kellar
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  • Salem Oregon Community Guide
    1994-2002