I have been making gift baskets for my family, friends, and colleagues for years. If you need an idea for a gift, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is a thoughtful gift idea for any occasion. The store bought readymade gift baskets can be quite pricey and you can make your own for just a fraction of the cost. Customizing these baskets is easy using these few helpful tips. The important thing is to have fun making them!
To get you started – decide on a theme for the gift basket recipient. Search for your baskets or containers, in places like garage sales, swap meets, flea markets, second hand stores, dollar stores and craft stores. You can spruce up your baskets by spray painting them or adding dried flowers.
- For instance use flower pots to put gardening items in, a colander for an Italian theme, large ceramic and plastic bowls, platters, buckets, wooden boxes, etc. … the possibilities are endless!
- Use clear cellophane bags to package your bulk bought mixes, nuts, teas, and candies. They are inexpensive when purchased at party stores or florists. Use inexpensive fillers for height such as crumpled heavy weight paper, shredded curly or crimped paper, decorative grass, and tissue paper and place your gift items on top of the filler – this is needed to prevent your items from falling to the bottom.
- You’ll need ribbon, bows (put these on the handles of your containers), gift tags, and clear cellophane paper. You can make your own gift tags from colored cardstock and decorative edging scissors and use stickers or stamps. If you are crafty – wrap clear cellophane paper around your entire basket and shrink it by using a blow dryer on low heat … not too hot or you will put holes in it … it just takes a bit of practice!
- A gift can be as simple as tea bags in a tea cup tied with a pretty ribbon. A large soup mug and saucer with soup mix or a small glass bowl with some potpourri might also make a simple but nice gift.
Try making these custom specialty gift baskets:
Gardener’s Basket – Fill a basket or large flowerpot with gloves, packets of seeds, plant food, small gardening tools such as a hand trowel, shovel, clippers, spade, watering can, gardening magazine or book, and don’t forget the hand lotion.
Sports Basket – Calling all football, baseball, basketball, and soccer fans! Fill a large bowl with candy bars, M&Ms, nuts, bags of microwave popcorn, sodas, chips, dips, a favorite flag or hat, T-shirt, and a calendar of game days, or game tickets.
Italian Basket – Fill a large colander lined with cloth napkins … add an interesting shaped jar of pasta, pasta sauce, basil, pasta grabber, bread, biscotti, parmesan cheese, wine glasses, and a bottle of wine.
Fisherman Basket – In a tackle box or fish bowl, put in hooks, bobs, lures, bait, fishing line, hot chocolate or sodas, trail mix, gloves, and fishing magazines.
College Basket – In a basket add microwave popcorn, nuts, cookies, crackers, power bars, pizza coupons, movie rental coupons, cds, dvds, phone cards, powdered drink mixes, magazines, socks, diary, stationary, pens, and a mini photo album.
Dog Basket – In a dog bowl, place a ball, sock with a knot tied in it, squeaky toy, dog bones, rawhides, treats, a leash, a name tag, collar and a brush.
Cat Basket – In a cat litter box, place a catnip toy, ball of string or yarn, cat food, treats, a pooper scoop, a name tag, collar, and little toys like a small cloth or rubber mouse.
Car Basket – In a large bucket, place fuzzy dice, air freshener, car wax, car wash, chamois, tire cleaner, brush, a car trash can, and a novelty key ring.
Baby Basket – Spray paint a basket white and line it with a baby blanket or use a diaper bag. Fill with baby coupons, bibs, baby oil, socks, baby lotion, baby powder, diaper ointment, a teething ring, burp cloths, wipes and a rattle.
Coffee Lover Basket – In a basket, include flavored coffee packets, coffee beans, cinnamon sticks dipped in chocolate – wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon, cookie mix or cookies, flavored powdered creamer and a coffee cup.
Ice Cream Lover Basket – Place tissue paper on the bottom of a basket. Add sundae dishes, an ice cream scoop, nuts, hot fudge sauce, butterscotch sauce, chocolate syrup, Maraschino cherries and a gift certificate or coupons for ice cream.
Soup Basket – In a basket, stock pot or bean crock, add large soup mugs, 7 bean soup, cornbread mix, cookie mix and oyster crackers wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with a ribbon.
Movie Basket – In a large bowl, add microwave popcorn, movie sized candy bars, M&Ms, hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, and mugs, rental movie coupons or dvds.
Fruit Basket – Line a basket with tissue paper. Add apples, oranges, pears, various teas and dried fruits (like figs, dates, apricots, cranberries, or raisins).
Cookie Basket – In a basket lined with tissue paper, add cookie mixes in cellophane bags or jars tied with ribbons, various loose teas (also in a cellophane bag or small jar tied with ribbon), cookie cutters, a teacup and a pot holder.
Chocolate Lover Basket – In a basket, add Hot Chocolate Mix, Brownie Mix, Party Mints, gourmet chocolate bars, chocolate covered nuts or raisins, Hot Chocolate Mix, a mug, and a small package of marshmallows.