Creating A Perfectly Customized Gift Basket

Posted by Inger McDowell-Hartye on

Who doesn’t love receiving a gift basket? The more, the merrier, as they say, and with gift baskets comes...well...more gifts! But before you get carried away with piling a random assortment of things into a leftover box in preparation for that upcoming holiday or birthday, know that gift basket creation is a kind of art form. You will have to put in some thought and work when developing a vision and deciding what you want to say through your gift-giving. A beautifully curated gift basket can evoke a heart-warming feeling on the receiver’s end, and if it hits all the right notes, your person will feel not only loved but also understood.  

There is always a reason to give, from traditional holidays and birthdays to once-in-a-lifetime occasions like weddings and graduations. Our world revolves around a never-ending gift-giving cycle. So, now is your time to shine! YOU can become an expert at the art of creating a perfectly customized gift basket. Heck, why not become the freakin’ Picasso of gift basket creation?! Your friends and family will most certainly love you for it. Everyone knows that one person who is a fantastic gifter, and you know who is pretty much guaranteed that top spot on every invite list? Mmhmm. 

Now without further ado, let’s dive into creating your gift basket!

  1. Plan and pay attention.
 Who is going to be the receiver of your gift basket? What is the occasion? Do you have a theme in mind?  Nothing screams last-minute thought like a haphazardly assembled gift basket. My advice: Do not try and throw something together the night before. The goal should be giving your person a basket that resonates with their likes, habits, interests, and personality. You want them to respond with something like, “WOAH this is SO ME!" not  “Oh...this was....a nice thought.” 

You can avoid the latter reaction by paying close attention.  

What hobbies are they active in? Do they have any passions or quirky obsessions? What message DO YOU want to send their way? Maybe you simply want to say thank you to a neighbor for helping you pull your car out of the snow or give your soon-to-be college grad a real-world survival kit. Answering these questions will not only help you pick out gifts that compliment your receiver’s personality, but will also spark your basket theme. 

(Pro Tip:  By planning ahead, you will also literally buy yourself more time to source items that are potentially on sale, or better yet, locally made and environmentally sustainable. These will add an especially thoughtful touch to your gift basket!)

  1. Get inspired with a unique theme. 

A theme is everything! It imbues your gift basket with a sense of purpose and cohesion. Moreover, gift-giving websites like With Love From PDX make the curation of local and theme-inspired items fun, easy, and affordable. You can pick from a list of pre-curated baskets or build one yourself if you're feeling creative. 
When deciding on a theme, you always want to start by clarifying the person, reason, and context for your basket. Once you can answer the basic questions for your gift-giving, everything else will naturally fall into place. For example, your gift basket can be a generic holiday-themed one like Christmas or Hanukkah. Or, it can be something specific like a Good Morning basket or a Black History Month-themed basket. (See the images below!)

 In need of some inspiration?   Scroll down to the bottom of this blog for a list of unique themes to get your imagination up-and-running! 

  1. Don’t be afraid to think outside the “basket.” 
Fun fact, you don’t have to use a traditional basket per se. A variety of unique containers can provide the perfect “basket” alternative for holding your gifts. Consider artsy bowls, vintage crates, thrifty boxes, colorful colanders, or mason jars for smaller items. Heck, even pots and pans can work as a basket replacement for a more food or cooking-themed gift basket. 
Now, if you really want to go off-the-beaten-path…
Laundry baskets or mopping buckets can provide a bit of both funky charm and utility in the case of a person moving onto college or starting their post-grad chapter in a new city. 
You can also go big or go home for the little ones in your life by putting everything into a giant wagon or children’s play car. 
The options are pretty much limitless, and honestly, the weirder, the better sometimes. Let your imagination roam wild and free as you stroll through local shops, Pinterest boards, and retail stores. 
  1. Build your base. 

Your gift basket items will look a lot better if they are sitting elevated. What you don’t want is for everything to appear all dreary and sunken by letting all your gifts fall to the bottom. 
Building up your base properly depends on TWO main factors.

If your basket is shallow, using tissue paper, bubble wrap, crumbled newspaper, or some other kind of basket filler can work great at propping items up. 
For deeper baskets, you can use a combination of heavier items and boxes to prop up the smaller items that you want to be seen on top. 
To prevent too much waste from piling up, it may also be worth your time to source more sustainable materials for building up your basket. Avoiding unnecessary plastics and paper may seem like a challenge, but there are plenty of alternatives including plant paper that can be used for wrapping and decorating. 
Take a look at how these baskets on With Love From PDX use a zero-waste design method.
  1. Size, colors, tones, and textures are your friends. 

Variety is great when it comes to both friends AND gifts. Selecting a variety of items in different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures will instigate a sense of interest and intrigue. 
Here’s a few more pro-tips to keep in mind as you select your differing items. 
Put your taller gifts to the back so that your smaller items have a chance to be seen.
Keep everything secure using string, wooden skewers, or even naturally found tree branches and twigs can do the trick. 
Fill in empty spaces like glasses, coffee mugs, and jars with either smaller gifts or decorations. 

  1. Finally, as noted above, having a theme is always a good place to start. Check out our list of ideas below to create a one-of-a-kind gift basket theme. 

    It could be food themed...
    Get Snackin’ 
    Tea Lover
    Coffee Enthusiast 
    Romantic Dinner Night 
    Breakfast In Bed
    Summer Grilling 
    Candy Store 
    At-Home Baker 
    Local Beer Enthusiast 
    Gourmet Wine Night (With Cheese!) 
    Celebratory Themed...
    Baby Shower
    New College Student
    College Graduate 
    First Car 
    Romantic Anniversary
    21st Birthday 
    New Pet 
    Creativity Themed...
    Scrapbooking and Collaging 
    The Writer
    Coloring or Painting 
    The Jewelry Maker 
    The Knitter 
    Or More General…
    Movies or TV Shows
    Care Basket 
    Date night
    City or State-Specific (Think local goods!)
    Entertaining Supplies 
    Game Night
    Outdoor Activity Specific 
    Road Trip
    Book Related
    Music Related 
    ---by Inger & Olivia Polony


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