Affordable 20th Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Thoughtful gifts, even for life's most significant occasions, do not have to be expensive. The 20th anniversary milestone is only one of the many occasions where one has to get creative to give a gift that means something without depleting the piggy bank.

Historical Trends

When investigating inexpensive options for gift giving or when merely trying to get the creative juices flowing, it's always a good idea to research the themes, symbols and traditional treats that were customarily given in days gone by. These can help the giver brainstorm the perfect present. China is a traditional 20th anniversary gift, to symbolize the delicate beauty as well as the elegant, subtle strength that is inherent in a love that sustains a 20-year marriage.

Modern Ideas

For those who prefer going with contemporary themes, platinum has become associated with the 20-year mark, primarily because in today's era of quickie marriages and even speedier divorces, the innate strength of platinum is a nod to the strength of the marriage.

Other Traditional Symbols

Additional emblems of this anniversary that, while not inexpensive themselves, can help with low-cost ideas, include:

20th anniversary gemstone: Emerald or a diamond with a gold or champagne tint

20th anniversary color: Emerald green or white

20th anniversary flower: Lily (some narrow it down to a day lily specifically). The lily is associated with those playing the role of coquette. A fun and flirtatious flower, it is ideal for a couple who maybe needs to rekindle the puppy love aspect of the romance.

Old is New--and Less Expensive

Contrary to popular belief, china can actually be purchased for decent prices. For instance, the highly coveted Bernardaud china that has a longstanding reputation for producing china that is magnifique from Limoges, France, is available to all at Bloomingdales. With prices that range from $29 to north of $450, as of 2010, any consumer can choose from such lines as Promenade, Imperial Garden and Eden Turquoise without slashing and burning the bank account.

Emeralds as gifts are not easy to find for an inexpensive cost. However, a bouquet of candy-pink or angel-wing-white lilies put in an emerald-green glass vase or tied with an emerald-colored ribbon combines the best of both worlds.

Personalize It

This is an idea that works no matter what the specific occasion. Personalized gifts--such as frames that have the date of the anniversary or the wedding, T-shirts with an embarrassing picture of the lovey-dovey couple, coffee mugs, key chains, Christmas ornaments and other ready-made customizable items--are appropriate and inexpensive.

Art = Love

Another inexpensive do-it-yourself option comes courtesy of Color-Me-Mine. The store offers a zen-like atmosphere for even those of us who had trouble coloring within the lines. With over 1,000 ceramic pieces to choose from, thematic gifts are easy to produce. You can paint a piggy bank with the couple's favorite colors or with the colors that they associate with their first meeting, and then fill the bank with pennies or quarters from each year that they've been together. Other options include heart-shaped plates that can be painted with the couple's names and date of marriage. Some of Color-Me-Mine's ceramic pieces are in the shape of fancy goblets, and can be painted and filled with miniature bottles of alcohol or candy to toast the still-happy couple.