Love where you live. Sign up for our newsletter

The Ultimate List of Perfect DIY Gift Basket Ideas

by on Dec 19, 2022

Shutterstock / IMG Stock Studio

Themed gift baskets make amazing, affordable, and memorable gifts. The key is to pick the items carefully and to pay attention to the presentation. Here is a complete list of our very favorite gift basket ideas for everyone on your list, plus money-saving tips and tricks on assembling DIY gift baskets!   

Who likes getting gift baskets during the holidays? The better question is: Who doesn’t?! The best gift baskets are the ones filled with stuff we love. The problem with lots of gift basket ideas, however, is the expense. Costs can rack up quickly when you fill a big, beautiful basket with a little of this and a little of that. When all is said and done, that stuffed basket might blow your Christmas gift-giving budget to the moon. There are, however, some Christmas and holiday gift basket ideas that are actually budget-friendly, thanks to our DIY natures and some really great tutorials floating around on the internet.

How to Choose a Basket

Gift basket
Shutterstock / nikkytok

Before we get started, let’s talk about the baskets. The single most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a basket is size. Remember, a big basket is going to cost more to fill, and if you choose not to fill it, then it looks sad and you look cheap (Seriously. It does. You do.). A better rule to live by is ‘smaller basket filled largely.’ When choosing a basket, always opt for smaller rather than larger.They’re less expensive to fill, and a big basket scantily-filled looks sad. The better option is to go with a small basket and fill it to the gills. 

Opt for Inexpensive Baskets

Okay, so you’ve decided to go smaller with your basket choice, but even those can be expensive. The trick is to find good-and cheap -alternatives. Here are some that come to mind:

  • Wrap the bottom and inside sides of a sturdy cardboard box with pretty wrapping paper and use that as your ‘basket’. I’d opt for square boxes, like the ones in which flowers are delivered, as the shape feels more suited to the task. 
  • Re-gift from past gift baskets. Don’t worry; nobody is going to know. Unless you re-gift to the giver, and that’s just tacky.
  • Check thrift shops for acceptable, structurally sound baskets that can be given new life with a shot of spray paint. 

Be sure to use the basket best suited for the occasion. If you’re making a Christmas gift basket, for example, use an appropriate material for the holiday. 

Useful and Utilitarian Baskets 

We mentioned using cardboard boxes wrapped with pretty paper for a basket to keep costs down, as well as re-using gift baskets and thrift store baskets that can be given new life with a shot of spray paint. All still great gift basket ideas, but it started us thinking about more utilitarian objects we could use for baskets. You know, baskets that have further purpose:

Which Filler to Use in a Gift Basket?

christmas gift basket ideas

As for filler, we still really like the idea of used paper straight out of the shredder. To make it more interesting, run a couple of colorful sheets from an old magazine through the shredder to mix in with the mundane stuff!

If you don’t have time to shred paper, you can purchase gift basket filler in bulk online, or at your local craft store.

DIY Gift Basket Kits 

Gift basket kit
Source: World Market

Don’t have time to gather all the supplies for your gift basket ideas? That’s okay! You can purchase pre-assembled gift basket kits, complete with cellophane and filler. Click here to check it out

Perfect for Raffles or Silent Auctions

Gift baskets make great presents for coworkers. Or friends. Or those impossible-to-buy-for people on your list. Okay, they’re great for pretty much everyone. So don’t just think about using gift baskets for the holidays! These are great prizes for raffles (think: school, church or neighborhood fundraisers) or as things for people to bid on at silent auctions.  

Here’s What to Put in Your Gift Basket

Check the vast majority of pre-packaged gift baskets out there and you’ll see they have something in common: a lot of the stuff in them was made in some other far-flung land. (My apologies to all those in far-flung landers). For our budget-friendly gift basket ideas, we will be including things made with our own hands. Not only will this save us heaps of dough, it will also increase the points on the thoughtful scale as registered by the receiver.

We’ve broken these homemade gift ideas into a few sub-categories. Stuff for her, stuff for him, and gift basket ideas for anybody.

Let’s get started!

Themed Gift Basket Ideas for Everyone

Spa basket
Source: Style Me Pretty

Spa Basket – This gift basket idea is perfect for that friend who needs a good excuse to relax. Fill it with loofahs, body washes, bath gels, candles, and a succulent for a pretty finishing touch. Head over to Style Me Pretty for more ideas. 

Kitchen tools gift basket


Source: Pinterest

Color-Themed Kitchen Basket – Stick with two or three colors and make sure to add a personalized piece like the gorgeous monogrammed dish towel in this basket.

pancake gift basketHannah’s CT Kitchen
Source: Bellewood Cottage

Pancake Gift Basket – This might be my favorite… all the things you need to make a delicious pancake breakfast, complete with blueberry syrup. Go for store-bought pancake mix, or make your own (chocolate chips, anyone?). Also could include regular maple syrup, coffee beans, and fresh fruit. Check out the details here

DIY cheese board gift basket
Source: DIY Network

Do-It-Yourself Cheese Board Basket – Everyone loves cheese. Click here to find out how to make a vintage-inspired cheese basket.

candy basket gift idea - movie giftsOne Sewing Mommy
Source: The Scrap Shoppe

DIY Movie Night Basket – DVDs, popcorn and candy… what could be better?! Wrap it in cellophane and add a big red bow to make it extra pretty. Here are the details.

girl's night - magazine and nailsCheryl Style
Source: Everyday Dishes

Girls’ Night In A Basket – This is a fun one… fill a basket with magazines, nail polish, bath gel, lotion and other relaxing goodies for the girlie girl on your list. Check out the original post here.

pasta dinner gift basketYoung Married Chic
Source: Frugal Mom Eh!

Pasta Dinner Basket – Buy (or make!) a good bottle of marinara, some high quality spaghetti and a nice bottle of olive oil… and don’t forget the red wine! Read more about this gift basket idea here. 

Margarita Basket
Source: Style Me Pretty

Margarita Basket – Pair a bottle of tequila with a good margarita mixer, and add a couple of limes and a yellow citrus juicer. Beautiful! This gift crate goes above and beyond by including a little lime tree, but we’ll let you decide if that’s excessive or not. More info can be found here

hot chocolate gift basketCrafts Unleashed
Source: The TomKat Studio Blog

Hot Chocolate Gift Basket – This is the perfect gift to keep your friends warm on those chilly winter nights. Create a gift basket for one with a single packet of cocoa mix, or put together a basket for a crowd by adding extra supplies. Check out the full tutorial here. 

Perfect morning gift basket
Source: Ruffled Blog

Perfect Morning Gift Basket – Make a “Your Perfect Morning” basket filled with ground coffee, a mug, reading materials, breakfast snacks, etc. Read more about it here.

barbeque gift diyDesign Mom
Source: Design Mom

BBQ Basket – Here’s a fun gift basket idea… fill a box with handmade BBQ sauce and a delicious rub mix. Here are the recipes.

gift basket idea for gardenersElizabeth Anne Designs
Source: Elizabeth Anne Designs

Gardener’s Gift Basket – For the friend in your life with a green thumb… new gardening gloves, a watering can and a pretty plant to tide them over until spring. Read more here. 

Wine gift basket
Source: Ask Deb

Happy Hour Basket – A bottle of wine, unique glasses, a pretty tea towel, a baguette, grapes and other snacks are perfect for this one. Read more here. 

craft brew gift basket
Source: Legends of Beer

Beer Lover’s Basket – Assemble this one according to the recipient’s taste; stick with domestic beer if that’s what they usually drink, or go with a mix of unusual craft beers if they like to try new things. Check out more good ideas here.

Popcorn gift box
Source: Country Living

Fresh Popcorn Gift Box – Similar to the Movie Night basket! You can use popcorn boxes as the “basket” for this fun little gift, and throw in some homemade seasoning mix. Find details here. 

soup can Coborn’s Blog
Source: HGTV

Soup Basket – You’ve probably seen the soup-in-a-jar idea, but why not take it a step further and include everything needed for a soup-tastic meal? Add a pair of cute bowls, spoons, and some artisan bread, and don’t forget the recipe to cook the soup!

breakfast in bed gift basket
Source: Country Living

Breakfast For Two – This one has to be made right before, but it will be worth it… the recipient is sure to love it! Click here to read up on what to put in a “Breakfast in Bed Basket.”

coffee giftThe DIY Mommy
Source: The DIY Mommy

Coffee Lover’s Basket – This gift basket idea is super fun. Combine K-cups, vanilla syrup, and delicious biscotti for a coffee lover’s dream gift. Check out the instructions (and free printable tags) here.

winter getaway gift basket
Source: Sunset Magazine

Winter Weekend Escape Basket – Make a wintry weekend escape basket filled with a deck of cards, a cozy blanket, and hot cocoa. Check out the tutorial here.

Cocktail kit
Source: Savvy Eats

Moscow Mule in a Box – And last but not least – a cocktail kit! Find all the information you need here.

Gift Basket Ideas for Women – What to Include in a Gift Basket for a Female Friend

If you aren’t keen on the idea of a themed basket, and are looking for gift basket ideas for a female friend, coworker, or relative, here are some things you could include. We’re linking out to the DIY-version of these gift basket items, but you could just as easily purchase them if you’re in a rush:

Tinted lip balm
Source: Hello Glow
DIY sugar scrub
Photo: Lexy Ward
Concrete candles
Photo: Holly Wade

Gift Basket Ideas for Men – What to Include in a Gift Basket for a Guy

So, you need to put together a gift basket for a male friend? Here are our best dude-inspired gift basket ideas. We’re linking out to the DIY-version of these gift basket items, but you could just as easily purchase them if you’re restricted by time:

Hand butter
Source: The Prairie Homestead
DIY shaving cream gift idea
Source: One Good Thing
  • Shaving cream: This is a real treat – all-natural, homemade shaving cream, which surprisingly isn’t made of any hard-to-pronounce or exotic ingredients! 
  • After shave salve: For that guy with dry skin, try this recipe for coconut/shea butter salve. I’m guessing it would be great for calloused hands and fingers too (there’s also a recipe for Apple Cider after shave on this page).
  • Bath mitt: Martha tells us how to make a super easy bath mitt for the guy who shuns the puff (a nice accompaniment would be to include a bar of the coffee soap listed above).
  • Reed diffusers: Guys seem to gravitate to diffusers more than to potpourri, which is why a DIY reed diffuser would be a great addition to a guy’s gift box. I’d scrounge in the recycling bin here too and look for a tall, medium-sized, capped glass bottle in which to put the tincture. Then I’d tie the reeds/bamboo skewers to the bottle with some jute to keep them tidy until they’re ready to use. 
Homemade reed diffuser
Source: Apartment Therapy

Gift Basket Ideas for Everyone – What to Include in a Gift Basket that Anyone Will Love

If you’re trying to put together a gift basket for someone that you know nothing about, the most sure-fire solution is to go with food! Everyone loves a sweet or savory treat, and you can’t go wrong with a DIY gift basket filled with some of these goodies. Again, these links are to the DIY-version of these gift basket ideas, but you could just as easily purchase them if you’re dealing with a time crunch:

Chocolate covered dipping spoons
Source: Tatyana’s Everyday Food
Hot chocolate on a stick
Source: See Vanessa Craft
English toffee recipe
Source: The Idea Room

Money-Saving Tricks and Ideas for DIY Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are a wonderful solution to a gift-giving quandary, but are especially impressive when their assembly doesn’t stretch the budget. Here are a few tips and tricks for you DIYers who are crafting most of the components in your gift baskets:

  • Old jars: Bath salts, after shaves, balms, and the like are going to need containers. It doesn’t hurt to take a peek in your recycling bin before you go out and buy all new jars. Salsa jars and other glass containers with a wide lid would be great for scrubs and balms, as they’re easier for fingers to dip in. Bottles with smaller necks could be used for DIY reed diffusers. Read this article on how to remove jar labels and get rid of odors stuck in lids.
  • New jars: If you’d rather use ‘fresh’ jars, two great sites to visit are SKS and The Jar Store. Both sell jars perfect for some of the projects mentioned in this post, but they’re sold in cases of twelve. However, at a dollar or so a pop, that’s a lot of gift basket gifts for not a lot of cash. Of course, many big grocery stores do carry small canning jars, which would be a good choice too.
  • Bags: For packaging cookiesbiscotti, and candies, bags are the way to go. A good resource is Creative Gift Packaging. Again, quantities are large, but the cost is still very low. For small quantities at a higher price, your local craft store is always a possibility too. I’d also recommend checking out the dollar section of Target, or the Dollar Store. And, of course, in a pinch there’s always Ziploc.
  • Pots and tins: For the personal items like lip balms, check the recycling bin. Altoids tins work for solid perfumes and lotion. A great online resource for cosmetic containers is SKS and the Jar Store. 
  • Wrapping: Any DIY gift basket looks luxe with a proper wrapping. Shrink wrap is a great option, and buying it on a roll is the most cost effective. Another option is to use inexpensive tulle to wrap the baskets. Tulle is cheap (as low as $0.79 a yard), and it comes in a variety of colors.

DIY Gift Basket Ideas
Share these gift basket ideas on Pinterest!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *