A gift basket can be one of the most personalized and unique items you can give on any occasion. There are a lot of readymade gift baskets available online and in physical stores, but it’s much more cost-effective and thoughtful to put them together yourself. This way, you can focus on packing items that will be best suited for the recipient.
A gift basket can serve as a holiday gift, a hostess gift, a birthday gift, or a sort of care package for someone who’s feeling down. However, these baskets can also get quite complicated if you overthink the process.
Before you get bogged down in determining the exact gifts and decorations for your next gift basket, try going simple. At times, it’s the simplest things that give the most joy. Going for an easy gift basket will also free you up for other tasks, so read on for some ideas on how to get started:
1. Pick Your Theme
If you want a quality gift basket, picking a theme should be the first step. This will also help in keeping the basket simple yet classy and useful. You can choose from several themes, including the following:
- A holiday like Christmas or Easter
- The occasion you’re gifting on (birthday, graduation, baby shower, bridal shower, etc.)
- Appreciation for high performance at the workplace (check out these simple and healthy snacks for the office)
- Useful items for a new home, dorm, or room
- A ‘get well soon’ basket for someone who’s ill
- A specific interest such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc. (nothing too specific; only choose a fandom theme if the items are easily available)
- The season or expected weather at the time of gifting
- Anything that’s in season at the moment (mangoes, citrus fruits, pumpkins, etc.)
Of course, you don’t need to have a specific theme in mind. The basket could be a ‘just because’ gift or a nice gesture from one coworker to another. In such cases, you want to play it safe and include items that most people would like in any case.
Specific hobbies or fandoms are useful themes if you know them, but you can also go for general interests such as traveling or food. Almost anyone would appreciate small travel-sized items even if they don’t have a trip planned. Most people will also like to have different snacks on hand, so you’d be pretty safe adding these to your gift basket.
Everyone loves a gag gift on occasion, so consider these gag gifts for both men and women.
2. Stick to Your Budget
It can be all too easy to go overboard when you’re selecting items for a gift basket. You may get excited while putting it all together, or you may think that a lot of items are necessary in order to make a good impression.
If you want to keep a gift basket easy and simple, though, don’t make things difficult for yourself budget-wise. Here are some tips for saving money on each basket:
- Select a few items with care and package them nicely; presentation counts for a lot
- Stuff the basket with a filler such as shredded tissues paper, paper confetti strands, colored foam balls, shredded newspaper, or packing straw – these will keep everything stable along with filling up some space
- For decoration and as an additional filler, put in items that go with the theme but don’t actually cost anything; for example, a Christmas gift basket may include pine cones that you collected in the park
- Set aside the money for the gift basket beforehand and don’t let yourself exceed that amount
- Choose budget-friendly stores instead of high-end ones; you may also choose a local vendor (for instance, someone who can provide a range of organize skincare products) and ask for a discount
- Have one or two large items and fill up the rest of the basket with small things like snack packs, chocolates, individually wrapped cookies, etc.
- See if it’s easier and cheaper to make certain things at home, such as cookies, brownies, origami birds, cake mixes in a jar, etc.
- Upcycle items you already have; fill mixed nuts in empty glass jars and tie them with a ribbon for better presentation
For more ideas, take a look at these fun gift ideas for under $50.
3. Choose a Useful Basket
You don’t have to go out and buy a regular basket; go for something that’s both inexpensive and practical. As long as it’s large enough to fit everything you want to give, your ‘basket’ can be anything at all. Examples include:
- A plastic storage basket that can be used for storing folded clothes, pantry items, etc.
- A large mixing bowl with baking items (it will be an additional gift in itself)
- A tote bag that can later be used for shopping, picnics, and so on
- A wooden crate for a rustic look; it can be later repurposed for storing items or fashioned into a low stool
- A cardboard box that’s biodegradable and also useful for storing things, dioramas for school, and more
- A picnic basket that will keep all the items safe and can be utilized for picnics, trips to the beach, road trips, and more
The idea here is to utilize something you already have or whatever is easily available. Not every store might have the right size of basket you need, or perhaps you don’t have time to search for the perfect vessel. In such cases, making do with what you have can actually turn out to be the best option.
4. The Proper Arrangement
No matter what kind of gift basket you’re making, it’s important to know the correct way of arranging all the goodies. There are a lot of items in most gift baskets, so it’s best to pack them in the recommended manner. That way, you won’t risk damage to any breakable items. Before starting, check out these tips for a safe and attractive gift basket packaging:
- Pack the bottom of the basket with some sort of filler in order to cushion the items. Place a thick layer if you have glass jars, ceramic mugs, or anything else that might break easily.
- Put the heaviest items in the bottom or the back, and then start layering the rest
- If there are any soft items, use them as functional fillers between the breakable items; for instance, a pair of fuzzy socks might nestle between the mason jars
- For any extra-small items, consider a separate packing that makes them stand out. For example, you might gift-wrap a tiny perfume bottle and place it in a cupcake liner
- Try to arrange the items so that everything is visible from the top or the minute you take the cover off
- Place the most delicate and smallest items on top
- Add a cloth to cover the basket or tie it up with cellophane; put a large ribbon on the handle and add a card if necessary.
Once your basket is packed, make sure it’s not too heavy. If it is, remove some items. You don’t want the basket breaking before the recipient has opened it (or at any point, for that matter).
5. Small and Thoughtful
Not every gift basket needs to have a lot of items or flamboyant decorations. It doesn’t even need to be that big. Here are some ideas for having a small, simple, and easy gift basket for any occasion:
- A single mug with a couple of mug cake mix or hot chocolate mixes (you can also put in a couple of cookies to finish it off)
- A tiny gift basket filled with travel-sized lip balms or other small products
- A small stuffed toy with some candy
- A small honey pot with a wooden dipper and something to pair with it (fruit, cheese, nuts, etc.)
- Several varieties of a specific item such as cookies, mixed nuts, bath bombs, essential oils
- Just a couple of jars in a small basket; one may contain nuts while the other has candy
- For coffee lovers, a beautiful coffee cup with saucer and spoon along with a pack of coffee beans/pods
A gift basket is a versatile option for any occasion. It can offer more excitement and intrigue than a regular gift, since opening it and inspecting each item is part of the experience.
If you don’t have much time or don’t know the recipient very well, simple baskets are the way to go. The guide above can also help you out if there are a lot of gift baskets to make. Once you’ve selected the right items and have some decorations on hand, you can even form an assembly line to pack them all in one go! Set out all the baskets in a line; arrange the items in the same way, and pack them up. Make sure to add a card with the relevant names to avoid any mix-ups!