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Ideas For Creating Themed Gift Baskets

Make appropriate gift baskets for all of your friends!

Creating gift baskets are an excellent way to make a personal gift for your friends and family. This article includes quite a few ideas for containers and themes to help you get started on a unique gift basket for everyone on your list.

Gift baskets can be a lot of fun for you and the recipient and they don't have to cost a lot of money to produce.

The recipient of your gift basket

The first thing to consider is who you plan to give the basket to:

  • What do they like?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What do they need?
  • What do they like to eat?
Containers to use for the gift baskets

The container itself (or "basket") doesn't have to be very expensive. Simply pick a theme and find a container that matches that theme that can hold some related items or have items attached to it.

You want the container and the selected items to go together, and for everything to be usable and practical. Of course, this isn't to say that a few fun things can't be thrown in as well! Below are a few of my ideas for containers but there are certainly many more possibilities.
  • Baskets (all sizes and shapes)
  • Bowls
  • Flower pots
  • Watering can
  • Fishing creel
  • Canvas bag
  • Day pack
  • Waste basket
  • Bucket (ice, plastic, garden, etc.)
  • Colander
  • Any plastic container
  • Storage box
  • Platter
  • Tin
Ideas for gift basket themes

The various items that you place within the gift basket should all be tied together by a common theme. The themes below serve as gift basket "recipes" that can be modified to fit your needs or to get you started on developing your own themed gift baskets.

College student gift basket
  • Use a basket or most any 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, attractive 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 plastic or rubber storage box
  • Assorted papers and 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
  • Film
  • Coupons for photo developing service
  • Camera Filters
  • Lens cleaner
  • Lens cloth
  • Photo printer paper
  • Picture frame and matte
  • Picture Album
Letter writer's gift basket
  • Use a square basket or plastic box
  • Note paper or cards
  • Various sizes of envelopes
  • Letter opener
  • Pen or pencil
  • Personalized seal
  • Sealing wax
  • Return address labels
  • Rubber stamps for decorating envelopes
  • Postage stamps
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 type of crafting they do.)
  • Craft patterns / how-to books
  • Craft papers
  • Scissors
Pasta lover's gift basket
  • Use a bowl or colander
  • Package of gourmet pasta
  • Tongs or pasta grabber
  • Package of sun-dried tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fancy olives
  • Spices: basic, oregano, garlic powder, cumin
  • Collection of your favorite pasta recipes, hand-printed on personalized recipe cards
  • Pasta cookbook
  • Jar of gourmet sauce
Gardener's gift basket
  • Use a clay plant pot, watering can, or bucket
  • Gardening gloves
  • Hand tools
  • Vegetable and flower seeds
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Kneeling pad
  • Gardening book
  • Subscription for a gardening magazine
  • Plant markers
  • Heavy duty hand lotion
Cat lover's gift basket
  • Use a cat bowl or pet bed
  • Catnip mouse or any other cat toy
  • Hair ball paste
  • Cat treats
  • Cat Brush
  • Scratching post
  • Gourmet cat food
Dog lover's gift basket
  • Use a dog bowl or pet bed
  • Rawhide bone or chew toy
  • Dog biscuits
  • Squeaky toy
  • Dog shampoo
  • Brush
  • Collar and/or leash
Dogs come in all sizes, so make sure you're sticking the gift basket for the right size dog. And if the basket is for a puppy, chewy stuff is the best.

New home owner's gift basket
  • Use a tool box or tool tray
  • Slotted and Philips head Screw drivers
  • Wrench, Pliers, or Vice Grip Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Assorted nails, tacks, screws, and washers
  • Gift certificate for the local home improvement 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 picks
  • Tuning pipe or electronic tuner
  • Sheet music
  • CDs or cassettes featuring accomplished 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
  • Gloves, mittens and, a warm hat
  • Hot packs
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Moisturizer
  • A pass to the local ski slope
  • Hot chocolate
  • Ski, snowboard, or sled waxes
Grandparent's gift basket
  • Use a basket or most any reusable container
  • Scrapbook
  • Children's artwork
  • Gifts made by their grandkids
  • Framed family pictures
  • Videos of the family
  • Long-distance calling card
  • Candy, coffee, or tea
  • Handmade Christmas ornaments
  • Polar fleece lap blanket
Holiday entertainment basket
  • Use a nice holiday basket
  • 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 gift baskets

Once you have obtained your gift basket items, here are some fillers that you can 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

For Christmas Baskets add:
  • Candy canes
  • Candles (scented or unscented, votive, tea lights or tapers)
  • Pine cones
  • Cinnamon sticks tied with a red ribbon
  • Greenery (spruce, cedar, holly, or pine) 
  • Decorative Christmas ornaments
For any occasion add:
  • Potpourri
  • Hot cider, special tea bags, special coffee or cocoa mixes
  • Oranges, tangerines, or apples
  • Unshelled nuts or packets of roasted nuts
  • Wrapped candy or baked goods
  • Small toys or puzzles
  • Hand cream
  • Lip gloss or Chapstick
Finishing up the gift basket

You can use colored cellophane to cover the entire container and disguise its contents. Simply tie a ribbon around the whole thing or glue a ribbon on top.

Have fun!

About the author:

Susan Sanders-Kinzel is the editor of the ThriftyFun News.

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