What to Put in a Gift Basket

what to put in a gift basket

Gift baskets are the perfect gift idea, especially if you’re looking for a creative way to incorporate a variety of gifts into one package. Since there’s so many things you can do for a gift basket, we decided to put together some ideas that might help you decide what to put in a gift basket in the future. 

If you’ve never given a gift basket before, it’s important to understand a couple of basics.

  • Gift Baskets Typically Have a Theme. Even though each gift within the basket can be used independently, together, all the gifts represent something larger. For example, if you’re giving someone who loves coffee a gift basket for their birthday, you should consider putting a unique custom coffee mug in the basket along with a package of coffee, a box of mini creamers and a bottle of coffee syrup. While none of the gifts have to be used together–you can put the creamer in any type of coffee or put the coffee in any mug–they all center around the same thing: coffee. Using a theme for your gift basket helps the person receiving the gift understand what message you’re trying to convey with the gift. gift baskets are personal
  • Gift Baskets Are Personal. You wouldn’t give a gift basket centered around fishing to someone who prefers golfing. Instead, you should give gift baskets that are filled with fun, personalized gifts that really show the recipient that you pay attention to their likes and dislikes, as well as their hobbies. Giving a gift basket filled with goodies to someone shows them you took the time to put everything together and carefully thought about what to put in it. Even if you purchase a pre-made gift basket from a store, you should still make sure all the items in it will be enjoyed by the person receiving the gift basket.
  • What You Use as the Basket Is a Gift, Too. Gift baskets mean that everything–including the basket itself–is part of the gift. Feel free to get creative with this. You don’t have to use an actual basket for each gift basket. If you’re putting together a vacation-themed gift basket, feel free to use a large monogrammed beach tote as the basket. Fill it with a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, a beach-themed book or even some goggles and a snorkeling tube. Gift baskets are all about creativity, so don’t hesitate to think about how you’re going to put the gift together. 

Gift Basket Themes

When creating a gift basket, it’s important to have some themes and ideas ready to go based on what you might need to give the gift for. Here are some common gift basket themes, along with some common items you might want to include in them! 

  • Tea: We already went over what you’d probably put in a coffee basket, but what about tea? Some common items for a tea gift basket include a tea tin for loose leaf tea, a package of a variety of teas, a large tea cup and some cozy socks. 
  • Candy: Candy gift baskets are great. Who doesn’t love candy? Using either full-sized bars or fun-sized bars, fill a glass jar with layers of different candy. You can even split the candy baskets between chocolate and non-chocolate. For example, put Snickers, Reese’s, Hershey’s and Almond Joy in one jar. Then, in the other jar, put Starbursts, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids and Jolly Ranchers. 
  • Spa Day: In a unique toiletry bag, include a package of cotton balls/Q-tips, a sleep mask, hairbrush, nail polish, bubble bath or bath salts, a face mask and a body scrub. These items are perfect for an at-home spa day!
  • Gift Cards: Many people love getting gift cards as gifts, so put them in a small basket! Get gift cards to different restaurants, coffee shops and other stores. You can even do a small-business gift card basket filled with gift cards to unique local shops to promote and support the small businesses in your area. 
  • Movie Night: In a large popcorn container, put a couple of packets of popcorn, a couple of movies from the discount pile at your local grocery store, some boxes of different candies and a couple of bottles of soda. Bonus points if you can use glass bottles! 
  • Hangover Basket: Perfect for a 21st birthday, a hangover basket is something we’ve all probably needed at one point. Fill a small trash can with a couple of bottles of 5-hour energy, some granola bars, saltines, water, aspirin or Tylenol, gum and even some ginger ale. Don’t forget a gift card to the local coffee shop! gift basket of memories
  • Memories of Us: Feeling nostalgic or really want to remind someone of how long you’ve known each other? Consider a “memories of us” themed gift basket. Fill it with some old photos of the two of you in one of our unique personalized picture frames and items that represent inside jokes or will remind them of things you used to do together. 
  • Graduation: Support the graduating senior in your life with a graduation-themed gift basket! Fill it with a grad-cap coffee mug, a graduation personalized ornament, some school spirit swag from their chosen college, some cash tucked in a funny card and some other college necessities they’ll be thankful for.
  • A Baby Shower: Baby shower baskets can be a little tricky, especially if the parents-to-be have created a wish-list or a registry that other people are picking from, too. Some staples for a baby shower gift basket include diapers of various sizes (they’ll always need those!), clothes, bottles, pacifiers, toys, shoes and even a cozy baby blanket or two. baby shower gift basket
  • Travel: Fill a backpack or other bag with an atlas, sunglasses, phone charger and car adapter, Airborne, a notebook and pen, travel pillow and a water bottle for the person who loves to travel. 
  • Hiking: Fill a backpack or other bag with a book of local hiking trails, sunscreen, bug spray, granola bars, a water bottle, socks, a first-aid kit and a knife. It’s perfect for the hiker in your family!
  • Camping: Fill a cooler with necessary items for s’mores, a flashlight with batteries, a hammock in a bag, a blanket or two, campfire mugs, a lantern and a couple of containers of trail mix. 
  • Gardening: A gardening gift basket is perfect for your friend or family member who loves to spend time outside. In a gardening pail, include gardening tools, gloves, various vegetable and flower seeds, garden spikes and other gardening necessities!

Gift Baskets for Holidays

You can create a gift basket for different holidays, too! Here are some ideas for holiday-themed gift baskets.

  • Valentine’s Day: Put a small teddy bear, a couple of fake roses, some chocolate and a Valentine’s Day card into a small basket. Use red, pink and purple colors to share love with all your family and friends!
  • St. Patrick’s Day: In a small green basket, put a small bag of Lucky Charms cereal, a small bottle of Irish whiskey, a St. Patty’s Day coloring book and some gold coin chocolates to give out the perfect unique St. Patrick’s Day gift baskets.
  • Easter: In an Easter basket, put some plastic eggs filled with chocolate and money, an Easter coloring book, a Hershey’s chocolate bunny and some marshmallow Peeps for a gift basket that works no matter their age!
  • Independence Day: Fourth of July gift baskets are so much fun! In a red, white or blue basket, put some sparklers, a lighter, a grilling apron, a small American flag, American flag baseball caps and ingredients for s’mores. It’s like a cookout in a basket! Everyone will love the sparklers, too.
  • Halloween: In a trick-or-treat pail, put various chocolate candy, some Halloween stickers, pumpkin-shaped Rice Krispies treats, a pumpkin carving kit, apple cider in a jar and a few small Halloween decorations. Halloween is one of the most popular holidays of the year, and the gift baskets are perfect to give out to special friends and family if they come by your home for trick-or-treating. Decorate the basket with spider webs, red paint and other spooky details.
  • Thanksgiving: You can make Thanksgiving memorable by creating small gift baskets to give to the family and friends who come to your home for Thanksgiving dinner! Using fake leaves as garnishes, in a small basket put different fall treats, such as pumpkin muffins, sunflower butter, homemade apple cider mix, cranberry jelly and some turkey coloring sheets for the kids. 
  • Christmas: Ring in the season by giving out Christmas gift baskets! Using all sorts of reds, greens and whites, fill the baskets with a variety of Christmas treats, including cookies, cake pops and peppermint bark. Add in some of your favorite Christmas books, hot chocolate in a jar mix and even a personalized ornament or two. You could also consider adding a Christmas wreath-making set. 

How to Decorate Your Gift Basket

After you’ve decided on a theme and picked out the items you want to fill your basket with, you’ll need to figure out how to decorate it! Here are some items you can use to make them fun and festive.

  • Ribbon: You can use ribbon in many different ways. Attach gifts tags, tie it around the base of the basket and make a bow or curl the ends! Ribbon comes in a variety of widths, materials and patterns, so there’s many options to choose from when deciding what to use.
      • To curl a ribbon, take a pair of scissors and cut the length of ribbon you want to use. We recommend cutting the piece a little longer than you think you’re going to need, since curling the ribbon will make it slightly shorter on the end. After you cut the ribbon, open the scissors and then place one section of the ribbon on one of the scissor blades. While holding the ribbon and scissor blade together, drag the ribbon down, keeping the scissors stationary. The speed you pull the ribbon will determine how tight the spiral of the curl is. If you’ve never curled a ribbon before, video tutorials are great to see the ribbon curl in action!
  • Tissue Paper: While tissue paper isn’t used very often for the outside of a gift basket, you should still consider using it inside! In order to get the items in your gift basket to peek out the top, you should use layers of tissue paper on the bottom to cushion the gift items and give them some height.
  • Faux Greenery: Perfect for gift baskets with outdoor themes, using faux flowers as decorations is a great way to add something extra to the basket itself. Wind faux ivy around the basket handle or hot glue flower bases onto the front of the basket. You can also add straw and other greenery to the inside of the gift basket to serve as the bedding for the items to rest on.
  • Cellophane: Cellophane is the crinkly plastic that many people wrap gifts and gift baskets in. It helps keep all the gifts inside the basket, plus it protects the items in it as well. Many pre-made gift baskets from stores are wrapped in cellophane, but it’s a great way to keep your items secure inside the basket!
    • To wrap your gift basket in cellophane, take a sheet that’s slightly larger than the basket itself. Place the gift basket onto the sheet of cellophane and then pull the sides of the cellophane up towards the top of the basket. Grabbing the ends together with one hand, use your other hand to tie some ribbon or twine around them to close it off.

Creating a gift basket is actually simple, fun and is a great option to give your friends unique, personalized gifts. Focus on finding pieces that represent your family and friends as well as items that they will use for years to come.

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