Gift baskets are a great way to make a personal gift for family or friends. This article includes many ideas of containers and themes to help you get started on a gift basked for everyone on your list. Gift baskets can be a lot of fun for you and the recipient and don't have to cost a lot of money.

The Recipient

The first thing to consider is who you are giving the basket to:

- What do they like?
- What are their hobbies?
- What do they need?
- What do they like to eat?

Containers

The container or "basket" doesn't have to be expensive. Pick a theme (some are listed below) and find a container that goes with the theme that can hold some items or have items attached to it. You want the container and the items to go together and for everything to be usable and practical. (This is not to say that a few fun things can't be thrown in too.) Below are some of my ideas for containers but there certainly are many more possibilities.

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

Ideas for Themes

The items that go within the gift basket should be tied together by a common theme. The themes below are gift basket recipes that can be modified to fit your needs or to get you started on developing your own themed gift 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
- Film
- 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
- 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 craft they do.)
- Craft patterns or how-to books
- Craft papers
- Scissors

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
- Brush
- 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
- Hammer
- 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
- 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/or warm hat
- Hot packs
- Sunscreen
- Lip balm
- Moisturizer
- Pass to the local ski hill
- Hot chocolate
- Ski, snowboard or sled waxes

Grandparent Gift Basket

Use a basket or reusable container
- Scrapbook
- 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
- Nutcracker
- Cookies or baked goods
- Holiday floral picks or ornaments for decorating
- Cheese ball or Sausage stick and crackers

Fillers

Once you have obtained your items here are some fillers to 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 red ribbon
- Greenery - spruce, pine, cedar, holly
- Christmas ornaments

For any occasion add:
- Potpourri
- 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

Finishing

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!
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About The Author:

Copyright 2003 -Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Susan Sanders-Kinzel is the editor of the ThriftyFun News
http://www.ThriftyFun.com