Gift Baskets

Do you want to give a gift that is fashionable, flexible, and fun? Gift baskets—and other self-contained gifts—are the answer. Pick one up from the grocery store, the department store, a specialty shop, or a mail-order service, or assemble your own.

Gift baskets and other self-contained gifts are easily customized for specific recipients or for specific occasions. Use your imagination and before long you will be creating your very own delightful, customized gift baskets. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Assemble related items and a basket or another container (tote bag, leather carryall, garbage can, children's lunch box, backpack, canister, wheelbarrow, ceramic pitcher, cookie jar, or piñata).
  • Line the basket or container with napkins, popcorn, shredded paper, streamers, paper Easter grass, confetti, dishcloths, peanuts in shells, straw, fabric doilies, leaves, small wrapped candies, or tissue paper. Arrange the items in the container.
  • Wrap the filled container in clear or colored cellophane or a large plastic bag.
  • Adorn the container with a festive bow and accessorize with ribbon, flowers (fresh, dried, or silk), baby's breath, small toys, knickknacks, pine cones, greens, or holiday ornaments.

To prepare custom gift baskets and other self-contained gifts on a last-minute basis, simply buy related items in a single location: a grocery store, drug store, or bookstore, for example (see Last-minute Gifts).

To delight a homebound child, fill a basket with cookie cutters, a loaf of sliced bread, a jar of peanut butter, assorted preserves, a box of raisins, and a jar of sesame seeds for making fun-shaped open-faced sandwiches. Or how about a homemade cookie kit with cookie cutters, sugar cookie dough and ready-made icing?

Cheer a discouraged friend with a ginger jar filled with fortune cookies into which you have inserted your own timely "fortunes."

Stuff a gym bag with the recipient's favorite sports balls: tennis, golf, softball, baseball, squash, racquetball, or table tennis.

Fill a watering can with bulbs or seeds, gardening gloves, and small gardening hand tools.

Pamper someone special with a European spa basket filled with loofah sponges and mitts; body, nail, and complexion brushes; fragrant bath oils, gels, and lotions; and a luxurious terry robe.

For a delicious twist on the typical fruit basket of bananas, apples, oranges, and pears, fill a generously sized basket with fresh pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and mangos. Or assemble a basket full of farm-fresh vegetables or salad fixin's.

Fill small crocks with fragrant herb butters (mix one to two teaspoons of basil, thyme, dill weed, or tarragon per stick of butter) and garnish with a fresh herb sprig. Present the butters in a breadbasket with a fresh-baked loaf of bread or an assortment of rolls.

Fill a dish drainer with dishcloths, dishtowels dishwashing liquid, scouring pads, and bottlebrushes, and give it to someone setting up housekeeping.

Load a sturdy outdoor trash container with lawn and leaf bags, garden hoses, rakes, brooms, and other yard tools and give it to a new homeowner.

Fill a wire or wicker napkin basket with a set of colorful napkins and whimsical napkin rings.

Fill a basket with low-sodium, low-fat, or low-sugar goodies for someone on a restricted diet.

Stock a reusable canvas shopping bag with a supply of kitchen spices, flavorings, staple foods and cooking utensils and give it to the cook leaving mom's kitchen to go solo.

Stuff cushioned socks, a stopwatch, a heart rate monitor, and a pedometer into a pair of comfortable shoes and give them to a serious runner or walker.

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