I love the idea of gift baskets. The reality of (most) of them….um, not so much. You know the “gourmet” one your boss gave you last Christmas that included the meat log, processed cheese, and the wine you could get at Safeway. Not too terribly exciting. I actually used some of what I received in my last gift basket as the basis of my earthquake preparedness kit.
I’ve been known to give a few gift baskets in my day and not of the pre-packaged variety. It’s really not that hard to do and can be a lot of fun. You just need to know a little about your giftee and have a few hours to spare.
Gift baskets are great way to welcome weekend guests, celebrate birthdays, congratulate new parents, or just thank someone for doing something nice for you. Think about it, isn’t your favorite part of Christmas opening your stocking?
MY BFF and two other gal pals came up for a visit this past weekend. One of us was celebrating a significant birthday (NOT ME). Now, my apartment is the size of a postage stamp so unfortunately the girls couldn’t stay with me and instead had to stay at a hotel. However, I wanted them to feel at home so I decided to put together a gift basket to welcome them to my lovely city.
I knew I wanted to include homemade items along with some purchased goods (this is Rule #1 for good gift basketing). I also wanted them to have some sweet treats; something to nosh on when they woke up; and some items to make their recovery from all of the celebrating we were to do easier. They were moving hotels each evening so I decided that rather than doing a basket a pretty bag full of treats would make the most sense.
Here’s what I included:
- Morning muffins– made fresh from scratch that a.m.
- White peaches– in season and gorgeous!
- Coconut water– for the morning after
- Vitamin water-also for the morning after (we intended on doing A LOT of celebrating)
- Homemade toasted coconut marshmallows– I knew my BFF had a sweet tooth and liked coconut
- Tim Tams (Australian biscuits)- yum!
- Strawberries– a fantastic midnight snack for après barhopping
Does good gift-basketing still seem too daunting? It isn’t. ANYONE can make muffins, quick bread, drop cookies, or brownies. And EVERYONE loves to eat homemade baked goods no matter how basic. And if marshmallows are a wee bit too taxing try making French bark. Or, go to a nice confectionary and buy a pretty mixed box of chocolates. At the end of the day keep your giftee in mind, be creative, make at least one thing from scratch, and have some fun!
Here are some other gift basket ideas:
Gotta movie buff in your inner circle? Put together a basket of his/her fave flicks, actual flicks (you know, the candies), caramel popcorn (make your own), pimento cheese (try it, you’ll like it), and some Pullman bread (for the cheese).
Need a Father’s Day present? Try a bbq-themed basket. Fill it
with one of those cool wireless meat thermometers, tongs, bbq sauce (make your own –it’s SUPER easy), and several selections of meat (you can’t have a bbq without meat no matter what vegans say).
Sound expensive? That’s the rub with gift baskets. To do them well you’ll probably need to spend some coin (RULE #2). No hunting around your house for weird odds and ends.
Last rule- when selecting your basket (or bag), go smaller than what you’ll think you’ll need. Baskets look better when they runneth over (RULE #3)
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