Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Nifty, Gifty Basket!

Please Share It
Hey, there, sunshines!! As we scoot into our last days of November, I don't know about you, but I am finding Christmas coming at me like a runaway freight train!

If you are like me, you are almost always broke, er, on a budget, yet you still want to give presents to just about everyone you run into on the street, like a drunken, reformed Ebenezer Scrooge. Of course, not being a lottery winner myself (and if you are a lottery winner, you still want to read this post, because I'm just awesome like that), that can be a pretty tough order.

For me, the fun of Christmas is really in choosing and giving presents. I keep a running wishlist for myself and I've heard that I ruin everyone else's plans by getting myself what I want or need throughout the year as money permits. LOL I hate the thought of someone fretting over what to get me, but I adore fretting over what to get everyone else! So, I want to share with you one of my favorite gifts to give - one that combines the feel of something handmade and personal with the ease of store-bought, all on a thrifty budget!

2012-11-27 Gift Baskets 001
I started making gift baskets when my kids were younger and our school would hold trivia night fundraisers that included raffle baskets. Each classroom would be assigned a theme and, as a head room parent, I was responsible for gathering donations and coming up with the basket. Some of the donations were spot-on, but some were obviously last minute grabs from the back of the linen closet, with no concern as to whether they fit the theme or not. It was then that I got pretty creative in finding a common thread in all the items, no matter how convoluted!

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That basket above is my Bookworm's Basket. This is one I created for the fundraiser, but I've recreated the theme in different sizes for gifts since then. This basket included books, of course, but also magazines, two books for children, a book bag, 2 Dollar Store coffee cups, Dollar Store candles and candle holders, a book stand, a book light from the Dollar Store, a notebook that could double as a reading journal, and a fleece throw that was on clearance at Target. The basket itself was a magazine holder that didn't match my d├ęcor (yes, I re-gifted it. I am a big proponent of re-gifting. I like to think of it as giving a great item a better home!) For those who have an eReader, be sure to include a gift card for a book store or Amazon! Basically, if you can use it while reading a book, it goes into the basket.

2012-11-27 Gift Baskets 004

This is another basket I created for the fundraiser, but I have scaled it back a little for gift giving, as well. This was the Ice Cream Social basket and it was a big hit. The Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker was the big attraction, but it was another re-gift that had seen the light of day only once and had been put back in the box. (This time it wasn't me doing the re-gifting. LOL) The Dollar Store again was a treasure trove of items - everything from glass dessert bowls to milkshake glasses to fountain spoons. An assortment of ice cream toppings, cookies, candies, cones, a Tupperware ice cream scoop (one of the best available, if you ask me), and a book on entertaining rounded out the contents. The basket was a simple cardboard tote I picked up at the grocery store and wrapped with colorful wrapping paper.

TIP: Thrift stores, dollar stores, and stores like Big Lots are great resources to start with, especially if you are really wanting to include a high-dollar item, but on a pocket-change budget. Make a list of baskets you'd like to make, keep it with you, and then, when you are out shopping, pick up small items wherever you find them!

Here are some of the basket ideas I've made over the years. (Unfortunately, since I didn't know I was going to become a blogger, I didn't take pictures of all of them. LOL But, I did find some Pinterest inspiration for you below!)

The Hometown Swag gift basket

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The picture I found on Pinterest, but this is a basket theme I've created several times over the years. With family visiting from overseas and other family members living out of town, this is a fun basket to make for Christmas or as a welcome gift for visitors. Simply get together postcards, magnets, specialty food items, tourist-y things like coffee cups, tour guides, etc. If you are doing a welcome gift, include some tickets or coupons for local attractions. My favorite thing to include is a small photo album of pictures with family and friends.

Future Great Artist gift basket

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Again, the picture is from Pinterest, but I've made up this basket on the cheap for several budding artists in our family or that I've babysat. The Dollar Store is a great source for finding great little tins and totes for the basket and I like to include crayons, erasers, colored pencils, sketchbooks, how-to-draw books, and also little figurines they can use as models, modeling clay, etc. I like to grab an inexpensive tool smock, such as you might find at The Home Depot, and put that in, too. While this basket in the pictures is very child-centric, I actually prefer to make mine as adult-feeling as possible, so the child feels like you consider them to be a real artist. Include a cute Dollar Store picture frame so they can frame their artwork!

Gardener's gift basket

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This is another favorite! The picture is from Pinterest, but I've created similar baskets a few times myself. For the basket, I use either a tool bag or a decorative pot and fill it with easy-to-care for plant seeds, trowels, gloves, a cushioned kneeling pad, a sun visor, plant food sticks, gardening books, clippers, cute garden markers, etc.

Wine Lovers gift basket

2012-11-27 Gift Baskets 008

This is always a hit and is a great choice for anyone who you aren't sure of their interests. This picture is from Pinterest, but I've made a ton of these and combined them with The Hometown Swag basket, because Missouri actually has local wineries. Include a variety of wines, a corkscrew, Dollar Store wine glasses, a nutcrackers and nuts, some gourmet chocolates, a book on wines, and maybe some cute wine glass charms. If the gift is for a couple, add a romantic movie on DVD and they have an instant date-night basket!

Other Ideas:

Honestly, the list of ideas you can turn into a gift basket is almost endless:
  • Learn to Cook - kitchen essentials, spices, and a handmade family recipe book
  • Laundry  - great for a teen heading off to college. Include an instruction sheet for how to wash all different types of items
  • Tea Time - tea pots, cups, tea balls, tea biscuits, assortment of teas
  • Coffee Lover's - travel mugs, flavored instant coffee assortments, gift cards for coffee shops, etc.
  • Cupcake Lover's - everything you need to bake delicious cupcakes
  • House Warming / Newlyweds - all the little stuff you didn't realize you needed when you moved into your first house - nails, extension cords, gift cards for hardware stores, etc.
  • Couple's Massage - books on massage, massage oil, scented candles - make sure of your recipient, though! LOL
  • Chocolate Lover's
  • Health Food - cooking utensils, recipes, dry food items, gift cards
  • Commuter's Care Kit - headphones, neck pillows, puzzle books, iTunes cards, favorite snacks, travel mugs,
  • Inner Child - vintage candies & toys for the nostalgic person on your list
  • Movie Night - DVDs, popcorn, movie candy, popcorn holders,
  • Cookies In A Jar assortment - use Mason jars and fill with premeasured dry ingredients to different cookie recipes. Label each jar with cookie type and include a handmade corresponding recipe book.
  • Pet Lover's - treats, toys, books, picture frame, and keepsakes for the pet lover on your list
  • BBQ Lover's
  • The Big Game (for Men) - Snacks and memorabilia from his favorite team
  • Learn To Sew - all the basic sewing essentials, with a beginner's pattern and book. Don't forget to include the materials for the pattern!
  • Crafting - if you have a crafter, try to include all the little items they constantly have to replenish for their favorite craft
  • Girls Are Handy, Too - like the Housewarming basket, include basic tools and items to empower a girl on her own!

I'm telling you, if someone has an interest or a need, you can make a basket for it! And, the chances are, you can do it on the cheap!

Have you made a particularly unique gift basket for someone? Please share your ideas in the Comments section!

(I would love for you to come back to visit, so please SUBSCRIBE using one of the buttons I have up there at the top on the right. And be sure to find me on Facebook for behind the scenes stuff and general goofiness. I'm on Twitter, too, but be warned - I have been known to accidentally tweet-bomb during baseball seasonl!)

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  1. I love this idea! The basket with the blanket, books and mugs will be great to give to a lot of ladies in my family.

  2. Love, love, love making gift baskets!! Clever ideas for 'em too! Happy to be a new follower!

  3. I love making gift baskets! People really underestimate the power of themed gift baskets as you posted about. It really doesn't have to be expensive if you shop smart.

    Newest follower from the blog hop.

  4. Hi Kristy, I'm your new follower and you have a lovely blog. I like your gift basket ideas!
    You can visit my blog at

  5. Stopping by from A Lovely Blog Hop and wanted to say hi!

    Those baskets are too cute!

    Your Newest Follower
    Misfit Librarian

  6. Awesome I love baskets too!!!!! great ideas, thanks for sharing!

  7. Great tips, Kristy! It's always nice to put little gifts like this together for people. To me, it's more meaningful.

    Thank you so much for linking up to Grow Your Blog!


  8. such cute baskets!
    following from follow Friend Friday Link Up Party!

  9. Thanks for linking up with my blog today. You were my 300th GFC follower and I thank you for that. I'm now your newest follower.

    Kimberly @

  10. I love gifts baskets - giving and receiving!

  11. That's a great idea, thanks for sharing - just need somewhere to store them. I think I will be doing this next year!

  12. Hi Kristy! You gift baskets are so cute. I think they are a great idea. I made on for a give away at my salon and that's about the extent of my gift baskets. :-)

    I'm having a, "It's a Social Hop like Crazy" party. I'd love for you to hop on over, grab a button and link up your blog.

    Have a crazy beautiful week!

  13. I love putting together gift baskets. These are great ideas.

  14. Thanks so much for sharing your gift baskets at my party at House on the Way! Have a great week!

  15. Hey from tessacotton! Love your creation. I would be so thrilled if you would link up to my new, Christmas themed linky party!

  16. I love putting together gift baskets! Thanks for the great ideas! :)

  17. Hi Kristy, I LOVE putting together gift baskets for people-and your ideas are GREAT. I found your blog on Someday Crafts and have started following you. Looking forward to your future posts! -Meg

  18. I love gift baskets-making them and receiving them! Great list of ideas, my favorites-Chocolate Lovers and the Tea basket.

  19. Your gift baskets are awesome, Kristy. Thanks for the suggestions!

  20. Stopped by from The Shabby Creek Cottage. Great gift basket ideas. I would love to have you share at my Our Favorite Things Link Party.

    Have a great week,
    Your newest follower

  21. they all look so crafty! filing away under to-do...

  22. These are awesome! Thanks for linking up!!

  23. Oh, I love the creativity in gift baskets! You have so many stellar ideas here! I think gift baskets are just as much fun for the giver as the receiver, the budget is the challenge :( .Thanks for sharing such a fab idea,

  24. So many cute basket ideas! Thanks so much for the inspiration and for sharing!

  25. Great love these ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  26. I am your newest follower. Look for my little blue slippers. I am following via email too.
    Come by and meet me.
    Have a great day,

  27. Great gift basket ideas!! Love the ice cream one! I'm visiting from The Ironstone Nest and am your newest follower-I invite you to stop by and say hi :)

  28. You are so talented!! Thanks for linking up at the Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
    Adorned From Above,
    The Busy Bee's,
    Myrna and Joye

  29. Gift baskets are always so much fun! Thanx for sharing at THT.

  30. This is such a great idea, love the tailoring to the recipient of the basket.

  31. These are some great gift basket ideas!! We are always on a budget as well, so thanks for posting this. Thanks for linking up at Romance on a dime last Tuesday!!

  32. I LOVE gift baskets! They are the best gifts!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality! Can't wait to see what you link up this evening!

  33. The year before last instead of baskets I used boxes and made one for each of the grandkids. They loved them! Inside was notebooks, pencils, pens, paper, ruler, markers etc etc.
    All stuff that I had rounded up super cheap during the start of school sales.

  34. This is a marvelous idea, Shona! I can just imagine how fun it is for the children to go through these! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    I will be featuring your post in this week's party,

  35. Gift baskets are wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration. And thanks for the reminder that it's okay to include items that have been gently used

  36. Great ideas! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home! Have a very Merry Christmas!

  37. They are all so thoughtful. thanks for all the great ideas!

    Just a wanted to let you know our Silhouette Cameo Giveaway ends tonight, if you haven't entered yet (or if you wanna get more entries! :) Have a great weekend!

  38. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly
    Clever Chicks Blog Hop:
    I hope you can make it!
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  39. hey Kristy,
    These are great gift baskets. Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above
    Joye and Myrna @ The Busy Bee's
    Linda @ With A Blast


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