Making Your Own Gift Baskets

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Gift baskets are a great way to make a personal gift for family or friends. You can also use up some things around the house.

The Recipient

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 (see below) and find a container that goes with the theme that can hold some items or can be attached to it. You want the container and the items to go together somehow and for everything to be usable or consumable and practical. (This is not to say that a few fun things can't be thrown in too.)

You can use any of the items in the list below but any other containers you can think of please feel free to add the list.

Baskets of all shapes and sizes
Flower pots
Watering can
Fishing creel
Canvas bag
Day pack
Waste basket
Bucket - ice, plastic or garden
Plastic container
Storage box

Ideas for Themes

The themes are endless but the list below is just to get you brainstorming. Do not feel that you have to put everything on the list into the basket.

College Student Gift Basket

Use a basket or usable container

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

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

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

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

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

Crafters Gift Basket

Use a rubber storage container

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

Pasta Lover Gift Basket

Use a colander or bowl

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

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

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

Rawhide bone
Dog biscuits
Squeaky toy
Dog shampoo
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 Gift Basket

Use a tool box or tool tray

Screw drivers - Slot and Phillips
Wrench, Pliers or Vice Grip Pliers
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

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

Skier or Snowboarder's Gift Basket

Use a small pack or canvas bag

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

Grandparent Gift Basket

Use a basket or reusable container

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

Wine Glasses
Cheese and Crackers
Cork screw
Bottle of wine

Holiday Entertainment Basket

Use a nice holiday basket

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


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

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

Extra Items

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:

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 Chapstick


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!

Be sure to let us know if you have more ideas for themes and items!


About the author:

Susan Sanders-Kinzel is the editor of The ThriftyFun News and Daily Thrifty Tip. ThriftyFun publishes information about thrifty living.

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