Gift Basket Basics

Thoughtful gift baskets aren’t reserved for milestone events like bridal showers, baby showers and graduations. The key to making a gift basket a likable and functional present for any celebration, like birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or really, any holiday or special occasion that makes sense to you, is to combine equal parts sentiment and practicality. Practical gifts are great and thoughtful because the recipient can actual use them, but sometimes, they might fall short in the area of emotional connection. Meanwhile, a sentimental gift, while sweet and thoughtful, can fall short if the recipient feels it has no purpose and they have no real place for it in their house.

Gift baskets are the perfect happy medium because clearly, thought was put into them. By arranging practical and useful things into a functional basket, case or bin, adding in one or two sentimental pieces can really make a great impression and combination. It gives you the chance to be creative while having fun with your gift-giving experience, and it gives your loved one a collection of functional, adorable reminders of how much you care. Depending on the occasion, you can even develop a theme relevant to your recipient. For example, a camper’s basket, baker’s basket or sports fan’s basket are all great ideas!

There are some key factors to think about when putting together a gift basket for your loved one. 

First, it’s important to set a budget for yourself. If you are anything like me, you might get excited when thinking about what you can buy a friend or family member, and go overboard, then live with some buyer’s remorse because you spent a little more than you originally planned. I walk the tightrope of buying too much and feeling guilty for spending more than I could afford, and buying too little and feeling guilty for not showing someone just how important they are to me. I’m not trying to sound materialistic, because it’s about more than what I buy. It’s really about feeling like I did a quality job showing someone how much I care. Gift baskets do the trick!

While each occasion has its own particular specifics, generally speaking, there is a formula for basket gifting. It’s up to you how much you’d like to include in your overall package.

Here are some items you will need: 
  • A basket, bin or box that serves a purpose: This can also be personalized based on the occasion, and you can get creative with what you use to house your other gifts. For example, does your gift recipient need a tote or overnight bag? Or maybe a hamper? Yes, of course, every woman knows any type of basket can be functional in her house, but it’s nice to think about how the basket of choice might be used. A toy bin is a great choice for a baby shower basket because it can be used in the baby’s nursery. There’s plenty of material options, too, from wicker to plastic and coiled rope.
  • A core gift or central feature: There should be one semi-large present, something good to anchor the smaller gift choices and to serve the purpose of filling space in your basket. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending your entire budget on one piece. It should be something to make you feel like your basket has something substantial and not just “fluff.”
  • Something Useful: Your basket should include at least one functional item, even if it’s something small.
  • Something Personal: Think about the person receiving the gift. What do they like? Are they a baseball or football fan? Do they love movies? At least one of your smaller gifts should make your recipient feel like you understand who they are and what they enjoy.
  • Something Sentimental or Thoughtful: Is there something personalized that makes sense at the time of giving the gift? Did someone recently become a grandparent or reach a life milestone?
  • Something Cute, Fun or Unique: Maybe something to match the season, something with character or something that fits the recipient’s home decor.
For Wrapping: 
  • Clear cellophane to wrap the exterior – Think Easter Basket style! Pick it up at the dollar store.
  • Ribbon or bows to enhance your overall look and secure the cellophane into place.
  • Scotch tape.
  • Patience, and maybe a few glasses of wine.
  • There are also some great gift basket kits available from places like World Market and Walmart.

Now that we have our basics in order, the next step is figuring out the occasion, the gift recipient and just how much time, money and effort you’d like to put into their basket.

Happy Gifting!