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Making Your Own Gift Baskets

Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Gift baskets are a great way to make a personal gift for family or friends. This article includes many ideas of containers and themes to help you get started on a gift basket for everyone on your list. Gift baskets can be a lot of fun for you and the recipient and don't have to cost a lot of money.


The Recipient

The first thing to consider is who you are giving the basket to:

  • What do they like?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What do they need?
  • What do they like to eat?


The container or "basket" doesn't have to be expensive. Pick a theme (some are listed below) and find a container that goes with the theme that can hold some items or have items attached to it. You want the container and the items to go together and for everything to be usable and practical. (This is not to say that a few fun things can't be thrown in too.) Below are some of my ideas for containers but there certainly are many more possibilities.

  • Baskets of all shapes and sizes
  • Bowls
  • Flower pots
  • Watering can
  • Fishing creel
  • Canvas bag
  • Day pack
  • Waste basket
  • Bucket
  • ice, plastic or garden

  • Colander
  • Plastic container
  • Storage box
  • Platter
  • Tin

Ideas for Themes

The items that go within the gift basket should be tied together by a common theme. The themes below are gift basket recipes that can be modified to fit your needs or to get you started on developing your own themed gift basket.

College Student Gift Basket

Use a basket or usable container with some or all of the following:

  • Pens and Pencils
  • Printer paper and supplies
  • Mouse pad
  • Washcloth and hand towel
  • Yummy healthy snacks
  • Phone Card
  • Gift certificate for a CD
  • Nail Clippers
  • Book light

Bath Gift Basket

Use a nice basket with some or all of the following:

  • Gel eye-pack
  • Epsom salts or bubble bath
  • Aroma therapy oils
  • Scented candles and holders
  • Pumice stone
  • Washcloths, scrubber or loofa sponge
  • Back cleaning brush
  • Relaxing music on CD or cassette
  • Rubber ducky

Kids Coloring Gift Basket


Use a rubber/plastic storage box with some or all of the following:

  • Assorted papers, coloring books
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Nontoxic markers
  • Assorted stickers
  • Paint box and brushes
  • Safe scissors

Photographer's Gift Basket

Use a basket or a camera bag with some or all of the following:

  • Film
  • Coupons for picture developing
  • Camera Filters
  • Lens cleaner
  • Lens cloth
  • Photo print paper
  • Picture frame and matte
  • Picture Album

Letter Writer's Gift Basket

Use a square basket or plastic box with some or all of the following:

  • Note paper or cards
  • Envelopes (choose a variety of sizes)
  • Letter opener
  • Pen or pencil
  • Personalized seal
  • Sealing wax
  • Return address labels
  • Rubber stamps to decorate envelopes
  • Stamps

Crafters Gift Basket

Use a rubber storage container with some or all of the following:

  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Acrylic paints
  • Assorted brushes
  • Craft knife

  • Craft supplies (this will depend on the craft they do.)
  • Craft patterns or how-to books
  • Craft papers
  • Scissors

Pasta Lover Gift Basket

Use a colander or bowl with some or all of the following:

  • Package of gourmet pasta
  • Tongs or pasta grabber
  • Package of sun-dried tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fancy olives
  • Spices: oregano, basil, garlic powder
  • Collection of your favorite pasta recipes hand-printed on recipe cards
  • Pasta cookbook
  • Jar of gourmet sauce

Gardener's Gift Basket

Use a clay plant pot, bucket or watering can with some or all of the following:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Hand tools
  • Vegetable, flower seeds
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Kneeling pad
  • Gardening book
  • Subscription for a gardening magazine
  • Plant markers
  • Heavy Duty Hand Lotion

Cat Lover Gift Basket

Use a cat bowl or pet bed with some or all of the following:

  • Catnip Mouse or other cat toy

  • Hair ball paste
  • Cat treats
  • Cat Brush
  • Scratching post
  • Gourmet cat food

Dog Lover Gift Basket

Use a dog bowl or pet bed with some or all of the following:

  • Rawhide bone
  • Dog biscuits
  • Squeaky toy
  • Dog shampoo
  • Brush
  • Collar and/or leash

Dogs come in all sizes so make sure you are buying for the right size dog. Also if it is for a puppy, chewy stuff is the best.

New Home Owner's Gift Basket

Use a tool box or tool tray with some or all of the following:

  • Screw drivers - Slot and Phillips
  • Wrench, Pliers or Vice Grip Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Assorted nails, tacks, screws, washers
  • Gift certificate for the local hardware store
  • Do-it-yourself Home Repair book
  • Other assorted odds and ends like:
  • super glue
  • light switch covers
  • light bulbs
  • duct tape
  • paint brushes
  • knobs and handles

Guitar Player's Gift Basket

Use a basket or gig bag with some or all of the following:


  • Assorted guitar picks
  • Tuning pipe or electronic tuner
  • Sheet music
  • CDs or cassettes of great guitar players
  • Guitar strings
  • Capo
  • Polishing rag
  • Guitar polish
  • Chord or lesson books

Skier or Snowboarder's Gift Basket

Use a small pack or canvas bag with some or all of the following:

  • Gloves, mittens and/or warm hat
  • Hot packs
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Moisturizer
  • Pass to the local ski hill
  • Hot chocolate
  • Ski, snowboard or sled waxes

Grandparent Gift Basket

Use a basket or reusable container with some or all of the following:

  • Scrapbook
  • Children's artwork
  • Gifts made by the kids
  • Framed family pictures
  • Videos of the family
  • Long-distance calling card
  • Candy, coffee, or tea
  • Handmade Christmas ornaments
  • Polar fleece lap blanket

Wine Lover's Basket

Use a wine cooling bucket with some or all of the following:

  • Wine Glasses
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Cork screw
  • Bottle of wine

Holiday Entertainment Basket

Use a nice holiday basket with some or all of the following:

  • Holiday Napkins
  • Holiday Plates
  • Holiday Cups
  • Whole Mixed Nuts
  • Nutcracker
  • Cookies or baked goods
  • Holiday floral picks or ornaments for decorating
  • Cheese ball or Sausage stick and crackers

Fillers for Your Basket

Once you have obtained your items here are some fillers to put around them.

  • Piece of fabric
  • Shredded paper, newspaper or colored paper
  • Straw
  • Easter basket grass
  • Tissue paper or newspaper comics
  • Raffia
  • Colored towels or cloth napkins
  • Cedar shavings

Extra Items To Consider

For Christmas Baskets add:

  • Candy canes
  • Candles
  • scented or unscented, votive, tea lights or tapers
  • Pine cones
  • Cinnamon sticks tied with red ribbon
  • Greenery
  • spruce, pine, cedar, holly
  • Christmas ornaments

For any occasion add:

  • Potpourri
  • Hot cider, special tea bags, special coffee or cocoa mixes
  • Mandarin oranges, tangerines, oranges or apples
  • Unshelled nuts or packets of roasted nuts
  • Wrapped candy or baked goods
  • Small toys or puzzles
  • Sample hand creams
  • Lip gloss or Chap-stick

Finishing Your Basket

If you buy colored cellophane you can cover the entire container with it disguising what is inside. Tie a ribbon around the whole thing or paste a ribbon on top. Have fun!

About The Author: Sanders-Kinzel is a mother of 5, grandmother of 6 and the editor of the ThriftyFun News.

Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

By Denise Ruiz-Johnson (Guest Post)
October 7, 20050 found this helpful

Wow this realy helped me get my stuff together. I can't belive all the great ideas you have. I realy appreciate all the wonderful tip you have given me. Again thank you very much.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
December 20, 20050 found this helpful

I love making gift baskets for the holidays...I save up all the 34 oz coffee cans through out the year just for this, and save some of the christmas wrapping paper, and christmas cards so that I can decoupage them on a can, after I have painted it.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By hvnlyhills (Guest Post)
December 20, 20050 found this helpful

I make gift baskets every Christmas for our family members. There are too many to buy gifts for all without it being very expensive, plus knowing what everyone likes is a big issue. When choosing items for the baskets, I keep in mind who is getting them. I add special items to each one and for the ones with children in the family, I add special items for the children, too.

I buy a lot of the items at Dollar stores. I have used baskets and large plastic bowls as containers. I put candies, candles, soaps, cappucino mixes, flavored coffees, hot chocolate mixes, lip balms, pocket calenders, wall calenders, ink pens, christmas ornaments, coffee mugs, etc. Everyone loves them. My sister in law says she looks forward to hers because she likes the surprise of looking thru the basket and finding lots of little goodies. I generally make about 15 of them and start buying items early (get a lot Dec. 26th on clearance).

I seldom need a filler, but when I have I take old wrapping paper and run thru my paper shredder....presto ... free filler :).

Finish the basket or bowl off by putting it inside a clear plastic gift bag ( I especially like the ones that shrink with the blow dryer to fit the basket) and tie closed with ribbon. I find these bags at our local dollar store and sometimes luck out and get 2 for $1!

It's a lot of fun to see what you can come up with each year.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Courtney (Guest Post)
January 9, 20061 found this helpful

I am in the process of starting my own gift basket business. I have researched many different sights but this one is by far the best. It has given me such good information. The only thing I have to say is thank you and great job.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
February 15, 20160 found this helpful

Hi I love making gift basket for all sort of event and each time I work my brain in what to put in the basket. I want to thank you for giving me so many ideal . I make them and give them away in process doing some for Easter and for Church event for your Missionary Event. Thank you so much

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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