Gift Basket Ideas
Enjoy today’s contributed post from Heather!
Raise your hand if you don’t like receiving a gift basket. No one? No one at all? Thought so. And you know what? They’re just as exciting to give! (And the bonus? You don’t need to wrap them!)
Gift baskets are so universal that they can fit nearly any need. The next time you need to come up with a gift for someone, try putting together a gift basket. You might be surprised at how much fun it is.
Before you start any gift basket, you need to figure out what kind of “basket” you will use. I recommend grabbing baskets when you find them cheap at rummage sales, clearance racks, or thrift stores. Often, they’re in perfect condition and are great for filling up with items to give away. Other things that can be used in place of baskets are canvas bags, large bowls, buckets, or plastic totes with lids.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Game Night Gift Basket
I come from a family of game-lovers. Seriously, our annual Christmas get-together is pretty much this: Games. Food. Games. Food. Christmas story from the Bible. Presents. Games. Games. Food. Games. (Did I just admit this online? Oops.)
This basket would be so much fun to give to neighbors, bosses, in-laws, or pretty much anyone who has a family.
- Large game: Apparently, Ticket to Ride is one of the hottest games out there right now. I ordered it, and it’s a fun one! My parents received Telestrations last year as a gift for Christmas, and our family had such a great time playing it. Other highly recommended games include Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan (love, love this one), and 7 Wonders. Check them out on Amazon for descriptions and reviews.
- Small games: A smaller easy-to-carry game or two would be great to stick in the basket also. Our family loves the card game Wizard. Some other fun ideas are Farkle, Rook, or Pit.
Happy Birth-Day Basket
This is a really fun basket to put together. It’s a great gift to give a mommy-to-be during those last loooonnnng weeks of pregnancy. Getting something like this near the end makes it feel like that baby might actually appear at some point. Or for a fun surprise, give it to the daddy-to-be to tuck in the vehicle. (This basket could be easily adapted for new mothers who choose the wonderful route of adoption.)
- Slippers. Something fast to slip on to walk down the hall and, later, for all those middle-of-the-night trips to the baby’s room.
- Cozy socks. Hospitals are chilly places! And if you have to wear a hospital gown, it’s nice to at least have cute socks!
- Bubble bath. For those post-delivery soaks.
- Extra-soft toilet paper. Anyone who’s had a baby knows that hospital toilet paper is not soft.
- A new hairbrush. It’s easy to forget to grab that when you’re leaving for the hospital. Some pony-tail holders would also be nice.
- Chocolate. Duh! This woman just had a baby. Give her the chocolate!
- Blanket or lovey for the baby. (You could make one like this 10 Minute Baby Blanket!)
- Paper plates. My mother-in-law tucked a package of these into a bag for me the last time I had a baby. I would’ve never thought of it, but they were so practical when I first came home from the hospital!
- Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. Every mother should own this book because every child should be read great books. This book tells a parent what books are worth reading and why.
- A cute bag to put it all in. My mother-in-law put those paper plates along with some other things together for me and put it all in a hefty 31 bag. What a great gift! I had something with which to transport all the extra stuff home from the hospital and a nice bag to use afterwards.
The Book Lover Basket
This is the first basket I thought of when I was trying to come up with ideas. You might notice a rather bookish theme in this post because, simply put, this world would be an unthinkably horrid place without books, a/k/a I’m a book nerd. Don’t judge me.
If this basket is for a man I’d skip the first couple ideas, if I were you.
- Honey for a Woman’s Heart. In this basket, I would tuck a copy of this lovely book by Gladys Hunt. It’s a woman’s guide to reading great literature. It contains suggestions of the best books to read, whether a person is looking for a heart-warming novel, a breath-taking true story, a fantasy, or a book to help her become a better mother. It’s a jumping-off place, so to speak. Even if the woman for whom this basket is intended is an avid reader, I’m guessing this book will still speak to her heart and give her new ideas of what to read next. If you’d like, you could also add Honey for a Child’s Heart by the same author, which would be a wonderful gift for any mother who enjoys reading to her children.
- Bubble bath. Come on, ladies. Who doesn’t love soaking in a warm bath with a good book?
- Coffee Mug. Nothing goes better with a good book than a hot drink. You could pick a unique mug or choose a travel mug that will keep that drink hot all the way through Chapter 8.
- Chocolate. (In a perfect world, no gift basket would ever be created that didn’t contain chocolate.)
- Notebook and nice pen.
- Bookmarks. I made cute little bookmarks using colored paper clips and a 2-3” piece of ribbon. I folded the ribbon in half and stuck the loop through one end of the paperclip. I wrapped the two ends around the paper clip and back through the ribbon loop, then pulled tightly. A drop of super glue or hot glue on the back holds it in place nicely.
- Books. Obviously, a book lover’s gift basket isn’t complete without books! If this book lover is truly a lover of books, he or she may not mind receiving previously-loved books. It’s your call, of course; but I personally love used books, both for myself and for gifts. I can give a lot more books if I’m paying used prices. If I’ve convinced you to give used books a try, here are some of my favorite online book haunts: Thriftbooks, AbeBooks, Biblio, Half.com, and – of course – Thriftbooks, AbeBooks, Biblio, Half.com, and – of course – Amazon.
Now on to what books to buy. It all comes down to taste. Biographies, historical fiction, thrillers, inspirational, travel. The categories are numerous, and the booklists are unending. Goodreads.com is a great place to browse reviews of books and see what’s popular.
Here are some books that I highly recommend.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This is a book that can change your life. I think the subtitle of the book says it all: “A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.” This book is real, beautiful, simple, and sharp.
The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss. I found this book to be a gem. The author wrote in his dedication, “From the first, my passion to write this book has had dual engines: to thank my father and to prepare my boy and two girls in the way my father prepared me. The world changes with every generation, but thankfully, life’s surest principles do not.” This book would be perfect for man or woman, young or old.
Fiction: This is where I could lose myself and end up writing thousands of words to tell about every good book that I think should be included in this gift basket. I’ll try to contain myself and keep it to a short list. Pride and Prejudice. A wonderful, witty, humorous classic. The Anne of Green Gables series. My hands-down favorite. These books are simply delightful. Don’t stop with the first one! Little Women. A classic every woman should own and should pass on to her daughters. For non-classic fiction, I generally like the Christian fiction arena. I could go on and on, but I’ll just stick to one author. Lynn Austin. Her books are incredibly well-written. The characters become friends, and the plotlines are good enough to read over and over.
The Teacher Gift Basket
I polled some teachers about their favorite gifts and got some great suggestions.
- Gift cards. This one’s a no-brainer, but who doesn’t love ‘em?
- Pencils, crayons, and other schoolroom supplies. Pretty obvious, but they’re appreciated and will be used!
- Kleenex and hand sanitizer.
- Dry erase markers. Colors besides the standard boring ones are best!
- Cozy socks. Just ‘cause. (I’m obviously thinking lady teacher.)
- Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. I would include this book if the teacher was an elementary teacher, particularly a young one. It has a strong Christian slant in the writing, so that’s something you might want to know. But it contains an excellent book list for young readers, and perhaps teachers are looking for new ideas that would interest their students.
Books for the classroom. Most teachers love books, and they are happy to have someone else stock their schoolroom bookshelves. If you think the teacher won’t mind, you can save money by buying used. (I mentioned some places to buy used books above.) Here are a few books that no child should miss!
- Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
- Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
- The Borrowers by Mary Norton
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
- Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwate
- Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
- The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Kiddo Gift Basket
I think this basket would be fabulous to take to a sick child in the hospital. But it would also be lots of fun for a Christmas present or an Easter basket.
- Thinking Putty. This stuff is great. It’s a step up from the old classic silly putty. It comes in all sorts of colors, even glow-in-the-dark and magnetic varieties.
- Wikki Stix. These bendable, shapeable, fun-colored sticks can provide hours of fun and are easy to stuff into a bag to take on car trips, to church, or any place where kids need a quiet activity.
- Game. We love this Gobblet Gobblers game. It’s a fun strategy game that is a take-off on the classic tic-tac-toe. Even the adults in our family have a blast playing this game! For preschoolers, I recommend the First Orchard game by Haba. My littles love playing this very simple game.
- Play-doh. (Make homemade play dough!)
- Crayons and Coloring Book.
- Water bottle.
- Blanket. This would be especially nice for a sick child’s basket.
- Fun pillowcase.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Big puzzle. The giant puzzles made by Melissa and Doug are marvelous!
- A book. (You didn’t really think I’d leave this one out, did you?) James Herriot’s Treasury for Children is fantastic. The artwork is gorgeous, and the stories are perfect for small children. For older children, I might suggest something from the Teacher Gift Basket list above.
- Treats. You know every kid is going to be hoping for a treat in his basket. Please don’t disappoint, but do check with parents first.
- A nice overnight bag. Stuff it all in there!
There. Five gift basket ideas. You could mix and match for various occasions.
Here are a few more ideas that I had that I didn’t have time to put together:
- Love-to-Cook Gift Basket (cooking utensils, oven mitts, and other essentials in a large mixing bowl)
- Cheer-Me-Up Gift Basket (scented candle; light-hearted, humorous book (maybe At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon or Invisible by Lorena McCourtney); homemade cookies; good tea; and some fun lip gloss or nail polish)
- Practical Man Gift Bakset (coffee mug, batteries, grilling apron and utensils, beef jerky, chocolate-covered almonds, warm socks, and Armor-All wipes).
And here are a few more gift basket ideas on Little House Living:
I had a blast putting these baskets together. I hope you were able to get some ideas, and I wish you a wonderful Christmas season!
Heather Bork is wife to a kind and supportive hubby and stay-at-home mommy to three precious little girls. She has a passion for family, books, homeschooling, Sunday School, hospitality, and – most of all – Jesus Christ. If she’s not memorizing nursery rhymes with her littles or trying to figure out what to make for supper or tackling the never-ending laundry pile, she can probably be found in some out-of-the-way thrift store perusing the book shelves.