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Inspiring Ideas for Making a Gift Basket + The Ultimate List of Perfect DIY Gift Basket Ideas

by on Oct 27, 2023

Gift baskets are a timeless and versatile way of showing someone you care. Whether it’s for a birthday, holiday, or just to brighten someone’s day, making a gift basket allows you to personalize and curate a unique present.

But with so many options and themes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what items to include in your basket.

In this blog post, we’ll share some inspiring ideas and tips for making a gift basket, plus the ultimate list of gift basket inspiration that will leave a lasting impression on the person receiving it.

From beauty products to treats, get ready to create a thoughtful and meaningful gift basket with our helpful suggestions.

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 nature and some really great tutorials floating around on the internet.

Understanding the Basics of Gift Basket Creation

Gift baskets are a fantastic way to show someone you care, and understanding the basics of gift basket creation is key to crafting a thoughtful and meaningful present. First and foremost, consider the theme or occasion for the gift basket.

Are you celebrating a birthday, holiday, or special event? Once you have a theme in mind, it’s time to get creative.

When it comes to gift basket creation, the options are endless. You can opt for a DIY wine gift basket, filled with their favorite bottles and wine accessories. Or, try homemade gift basket ideas such as a DIY coffee gift basket, complete with specialty beans, a stylish mug, and delicious treats to pair with their morning cup of joe.

For a cozy night in, a DIY movie night basket is sure to impress. Fill it with their favorite movies, popcorn, and cozy blankets. The key is to tailor the contents of the basket to the recipient’s interests and preferences.

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and let your creativity shine when creating a gift basket. So grab a basket, start brainstorming, and get ready to make a truly memorable gift.

gift baskets for every occasion

How to Choose a Basket

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 a smaller rather than a larger basket. 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 cheap alternatives.

Here are some that come to mind:

  • Cardboard Box. 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.
  • Thrift. 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 a further purpose:

  • Metal paint bucket
  • 6 or 8″ terra cotta clay pots
  • Small storage bin
  • Small 2-quart bucket
  • Metal colander

Which Filler to Use in a Gift Basket?

christmas gift basket ideas

From traditional fillers like shredded paper and tissue paper to more creative and themed options, we have a variety to choose from.

  • Shredded paper (in various colors)
  • Tissue paper (in coordinating colors)
  • Crinkle-cut paper (to add texture)
  • Cellophane wrap (for a polished finish)
  • Raffia or ribbon (to tie and decorate)
  • Gift tags and labels (for personalization)
  • Cellophane bags (for smaller items)
  • Decorative or theme-specific wrapping materials
  • Shimmer or metallic filler for a touch of elegance
  • Natural materials like straw or moss for rustic themes
  • Confetti or glitter for a festive touch
  • Fabric scraps or lace for a vintage look
  • Decorative leaves or petals for a botanical touch
  • Colored foam or foam shapes for themed baskets

As for filler, we still really like the idea of using 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.

Gift Basket Ideas for Women

Tinted lip balm
Source: Hello Glow

If you 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:

DIY sugar scrub
Photo: Lexy Ward
Concrete candles
Photo: Holly Wade

Gift Basket Ideas for Men

Hand butter
Source: The Prairie Homestead

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:

  • 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).
  • 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

Chocolate covered dipping spoons
Source: Tatyana’s Everyday Food

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:

  • Dipping spoons: Dipping spoons are especially good for those cocoa and coffee mixes. They can be made in a variety of flavors – a drop of peppermint oil would be a delicious treat! DIY dipping spoons can go on disposable cutlery, of you could use inexpensive spoons from the thrift store.
  • Turtles: A little bag of super simple pretzel turtles are a must for the DIY food basket (I’ve made these several times and they’re fab).
  • Acorn cookies: These chocolate and peanut butter acorns are a new find for us, but they are sure to be a perennial favorite and another great addition to gift baskets everywhere.
  • Hot chocolate mix: We know. This isn’t an earth-shattering idea, BUT this recipe for Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix sounds swoon-worthy. 
Hot chocolate on a stick
Source: See Vanessa Craft

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 cookies, and candies, bags are the way to go. 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, and it comes in a variety of colors.

The Ultimate List of DIY Gift Basket Inspiration

Inside this treasure trove of ideas, you'll discover an overload of themed gift baskets for every occasion, personality, and interest.

From delectable food and beverage-themed baskets to self-care and wellness collections, gardening, hobbies, and much more, we've got you covered.

Each concept is designed to spark your imagination and help you craft a thoughtful, meaningful gift that will leave a lasting impression.

Our suggestions are versatile, ensuring that you can cater to the tastes and preferences of your loved ones.

You can create a gift that goes beyond the ordinary, leaving the recipient feeling truly cherished. Explore the possibilities, adapt the ideas to your unique vision, and embark on a journey of gift-giving that will be as enjoyable for you as it is for the lucky recipient.

So, whether you're an experienced DIY gift basket creator or a novice looking for inspiration, let this ultimate list be your guide to spreading love, joy, and thoughtfulness one carefully curated gift basket at a time.

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