How to Make a Gift Basket for the Holidays

There is no limit to how creative a gift basket can be. Almost any container will work, any theme can be used; any amount of money can be spent. In the end you’ll have a present for a friend, relative, or co-worker that says you spent time and thought on a very special gift.

CONTAINERS:   Let your imagination take off; anything can be used as long as it sits securely on a flat surface. If it’s a plain brown basket and you want it more colorful,  spray paint it. Walk around your house & ideas will jump out: a colander, a pretty pot, a large mug, a tea pot, or an ice bucket in the kitchen, a toy wagon from the playroom, a fancy sturdy box from the bedroom, even a toolbox from the garage.

FILLER: A large gift basket needs a firm base so the items you put in do not move around. Rolled up newspaper, old wrapping paper, or tan packing paper can be used. A brick of floral foam is great but be sure it fits securely into the base of your container. Cover the floral foam with some decorative paper so it doesn’t discolor any of the gift items. With small containers a base is not necessary. Next add some form of shred. There are many kinds and colors to choose from; my favorites are crinkle cut, parchment, mylar, or cello.  All of these come in great colors and can be found at any craft store.

Must Have Supplies: Be sure to have these items close by as you’re putting together your gift basket. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a perfect creation only to find that you’re missing some essential tool. All of these items can all be found in any craft store.

Sharp scissors, wire cutters, sharp knife

Bamboo Skewers: thin wooden sticks that are used to keep items upright.

Transparent Tape: This is used to attach the top part of a skewer to the gift item; the bottom part of    the skewer is inserted into the floral foam or paper base of the basket.

Double Sided Tape: Use this to cover unsightly areas with decorative shred (i.e. where skewers are attached to products.

Glue Dots: These are little sticky circles that come in rolls and can be used to attach light decorative   items such as artificial flowers or ribbons

Gift Items: Before you start, decide exactly what will be in your gift basket so that everything goes smoothly once you begin putting it together. Have some extra items close by in case things don’t fit exactly as you had planned or don’t look as good as you thought they would.

Wrapping a Gift Basket: You don’t have to wrap your gift basket, especially  if it’s in a unique container.  If you decide to wrap it, use a large sheet of cellophane or carefully place it in a large cellophane bag. Top it all off with a big beautiful bow. To give your gift basket a more professional look, you can shrink-wrap the wrapping. Shrink-wrap comes in different size bags and in rolls of film. The bags are definitely easier to use. Determine the size of your gift  basket and buy the appropriate size bag.  Carefully use a heat gun (or your hair dryer may work) to shrink the wrap.  Always start at the bottom and work your way up to the top; work slowly and patiently. Attach a bow or other decorative items with double sided tape or glue dots when through.

Items for a Gift Basket: Think about whom the gift is for and pick things that he or she would really appreciate. The key to a successful gift basket is to make it personal and meaningful. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

The Plant Lover: Use a pretty ceramic flower pot as your “basket,” add some small unusual plants, gardening gloves, new pruning tools, some plant food, and finish it off with a few treats to munch on.

 The Wine Affectionado: Use a rattan basket with a handle, add two wine glasses, wine charms, interesting coasters, then fill it in with the usual wine, cheese, and cracker assortment. Some fresh grapes are a nice addition. Oh, don’t forget a bottle of wine!

 The Coffee Drinker: Healthy Dark chocolate goes well with coffee (and just about everything), some biscotti, a travel mug for the car, or a personalized mug for the weekends. Throw in a few gift certificates to Star Bucks. You can even add some coffee beans and a small grinder.

The Movie Addict: Popcorn, pretzels, nuts, and a gift certificate to your local movie theater, movie rental store, or a gift subscription to NetFlicks.

The Over-Worked Mom: What a treat to get a basket full of relaxing bath salts, lotions, teas, dark chocolate, cookies, and a gift certificate for a massage.

Italian Food Lover: Fill a large colander with pastas, sauces, cheeses,  spices, and a unique olive oil.

Mexican Food Lover : Stock your basket with green and red sauces, fresh roasted chilies, chips, a Mexican Cookbook, and perhaps a few  Mexican Beers.

Making a gift basket for someone is a great project to do with your children. They can add some drawings  for that special relative to put on their refrigerator.