Thank you readers! When I asked for ideas, as always, you delivered. Armed with your suggestions, I created this fabulous basket for my friend's parents' 50th anniversary.
I loved all your ideas so much that I wish I could have included all of them. I decided to go with baked goods and consumables, so I started with some dark German rye bread and Pfefferneuse (German spice cookies). I had never baked either one before, but they both came out delicious. The basket was sitting in a coworker's office since the holidays, and he was happy to let me take it off his hands. Then I picked up some strong coffee, marmalade, and sour cherry jam at World Market for about $10. I was able to incorporate the gold from the "golden anniversary" with the basket and the envelope for the card.
The gift was a big hit, and I was happy I was able to stay on The Compact. It took a bit more time and effort than just throwing down the money, but I love to bake, so that's okay. Although I advise starting yeast bread before 9pm if you want to get to bed before 2:00 in the morning.
Thanks again for your brilliant suggestions. Another event successfully navigated. I really think these "Compact-approved" gifts are the best gifts of all. When I think about my favorite gifts I've received over the years, they have all been Compact-friendly. Look for that post in the future. Meanwhile, what are some of the best gifts you've ever received? Please share in the Comments section.