There’s nothing more joyful than giving a beautiful gift basket to someone you care about or who is in need, especially when it’s one you’ve made yourself. Don’t get us wrong, there’s always an occasion to turn to the best gift basket (opens in new tab) companies - they are pros at this, after all - but sometimes it’s fun (or more appropriate) to make your own. As you’re reading this article on gift basket ideas, we’re assuming you are indeed looking to make your own.
When it comes to how to make a gift basket, budget plays a big role, and we would definitely recommend setting a budget before shopping for items as it’s easy to get carried away. Of course, it’s entirely possible to make the large majority of items that go into a gift basket, which helps to keep the costs down, and we’ll cover those below too.
Choose a gift basket theme
When looking at professional gift baskets you’ll notice that most of them follow specific themes. For example, Christmas gift baskets, Valentine’s Day and birthday gift baskets. However, a theme could also relate to an emotion, such as peace or joy, or it could directly relate to a person’s wellbeing. For example, you could create a gift basket filled with items to help a person sleep better or to kick-start healthy eating and exercise.
The most appropriate gift basket ideas, of course, center around the person you are making a basket for. What do they like doing, eating or experiencing? How are they feeling right now? Are they celebrating a special occasion, or is there something happening in their life that they need a little respite from or support to get through?
Once you reflect upon why you want to give that person a gift basket, you will naturally arrive at what theme, or group of items, will work best for the basket you’re creating. Here are some of the most popular gift basket ideas that could work for you…
- Get well soon
- Thinking of you
- Healthy eating kick-starter
- Bon voyage
- Sorry you’re leaving
- College survival kit
- Back to school fun
- Harry Potter magic
- New baby
- Getting hitched
- Breakfast for two
- Spa in a jar
- Grow your own
Unsurprisingly, the most popular gift basket ideas are centered around love and birthdays. Let’s take a closer look at these two now…
Gift basket ideas: You are loved
Love comes in many different forms, and reminding someone that they are loved is a gift in itself. Whether you are learning how to make gift baskets for family members, friends or your romantic other, or for someone you don’t know quite so well but want them to know that someone cares, there are plenty of gift basket ideas centered around spreading a little more love and light in the world.
Design motif: Hearts and flowers quickly convey a sense of love, so you could certainly add some of those to your gift basket, choosing either fresh blooms or artificial flowers. You could buy heart-shaped gift tags or decorative stickers, or craft your own. Pink and red are the colors most associated with love, and they blend well with neutral tones such as white and cream.
What to add to your gift basket: When it comes to gift baskets centered around love, candy may be your first thought. After all, who doesn’t enjoy chocolate? Think about the person you are buying for, and whether they have any health conditions that might be affected by eating candy.
Other gift basket items to show you love and care for someone include fresh flowers, scented candles, soaps and massage oil (probably best kept for romantic gift baskets). Many people put little cuddly teddies into love gift baskets, or other sentimental items such as heart-shaped balloons or even jewelry. If you’re good with arts and crafts, why not paint a gift or break out your sewing machine (opens in new tab) to make something?
For flower ideas, take a look at our guide to the best flower delivery online (opens in new tab).
Gift basket ideas: Happy birthday
Hands down, birthday gift baskets are some of our favorites to make. Celebrating the day someone was born is always cause for occasion, and you can have lots of fun with birthday gift baskets. Keep in mind the age of the person you are making a gift basket for, as that will dictate the overall design and what treats you add to it.
Design motif: You can afford to go really bright, colorful and celebratory with a birthday gift basket. Candles and balloons are traditional birthday fare, so you could have fun with a balloon sitting at the top of your gift basket. Add some fabric bows or rosettes for color, or create some out of multi-colored ribbons.
What to add to your gift basket: You may want to build your birthday gift basket around some homemade or store bought birthday cupcakes, biscuits or candy. If you’re buying for someone who enjoys healthier foods, consider swapping in fresh fruit and luxury dried fruit and nut (trail mix) offerings instead.
Think about what the person enjoys and let that guide you in terms of gifts. If they love self-care and pampering, add in bath oils, a hair brush and candles. Creating a birthday gift basket for a bookworm? You could opt for a new book by their favorite author, a decorative bookmark, or a cool mug with hot chocolate and marshmallows for those days when they want to just curl up and read.
Gift basket ideas: Popular gifts to buy
- Toys and cuddly teddies
- Bath oils and bubble bath
- Fragrances for them or their home
- Scented candles
- Luxury coffee and tea
- Cakes, biscuits and candy
- Cheese or long-life continental meats
- Baby supplies, including muslin cloths
- Books and comics
- Wine, gin and champagne
- Dried fruit and nuts
- Sleep sprays and eye masks
- A comforting wrap or throw
Gift basket ideas: Popular gifts to make
- Granola presented in a decorative jar
- Cakes, biscuits and candy
- Fresh fruit and vegetables grown in your own garden
- A snuggly scarf, throw or socks
- Hand-painted decorative items
How to make your own gift basket: Choose your basket
Unless you already have a decorative basket or suitable gift box at home that you can upcycle, your budget also needs to cover the basket itself, plus any decorations. Traditionally, gift baskets use a lot of plastic wrap to keep the contents protected, especially if there’s fresh food (such as fruit) in the basket. In an age where plastic pollution is ever more prevalent, trying to find alternatives to plastic coverings is important.
Perhaps look at transparent yet decorative fabrics that could be upcycled by the person you are giving a gift basket too - is the fabric something they could upcycle into a lightweight scarf, for example? In terms of decorative touches, if you are hand-delivering your gift basket, take a look around your garden or yard for any flowers, acorns or twigs that could be dressed-up with offcuts of ribbon and added to the basket.
There are plenty of places where you can buy fabric gift bows too, and these can all be upcycled or used on other gift baskets and presents to avoid heading to landfill.
Your gift basket itself could also be a:
- Flower pot for garden themed gift baskets
- Gift bag
- Wooden crate
- Tray with deep sides
- Old picnic hamper
- Wicker basket
- Decorative bucket
- Burlap containers
How to make your own gift basket: Decorative touches
Once you have gathered all of the items you want to include in your gift basket, it’s time to start pulling the entire thing together. Arranging your items is one of the trickiest aspects of making a gift basket, so take some time to get this step right as it will pay off.
We’d recommend putting the largest item at the back and arranging the rest of your gifts around it, so that everything is visible from the front. If you want a smaller item to take pride of place in the middle of your gift basket, sit it on a gift box to give it instant height, then hide the box with other gifts.
Depending on the contents, handing over gift baskets in person means you don’t have to wrap and pack them quite as carefully as when shipping them. If you’re struggling to find the right kind of gift basket wrapping, you can often find supplies on retailers such as Amazon (opens in new tab) and Target (opens in new tab), among other places. When shipping baskets, courier companies may even have materials that you can use to safely pack your basket.
Lastly, add your bows, ribbons and note card. These finishing touches make a big difference and can lend a more polished look to any gift basket.