With Christmas behind us, we have presents we have received that we love, like, and plan to regift later. But as a gift giver, we also have those gifts that we are proud of and plan to repeat, gifts where we just aren’t sure what the person thought, and a few where we know we could have done better.
But a safe bet – whether for Christmas, a housewarming, hostess gift, or any other occasion – is the classic gift basket. And I think, there is a right and a wrong way to do the gift basket (or bag/box/etc.).
The rule of thumb should be, baskets should contain items that people will use. I’ve posted before about wine packages which make an excellent present for any wino – it’s something thoughtful, consumable, and a little high-end. Personally, wine is the best hostess, grab bag, or thank you gift that I could get!
I’ve also mentioned Beecher’s of New York and their amazing cheese boxes which contain amazing homemade cheeses from their shop, paired with perfect sides. (We picked one up for my parents this Christmas – although you can order them online and have them shipped!)
But, I also want to call out my favorites from this holiday, all of which I gifted to some of my loved ones!
A loaded coffee basket from Greene’s Beans in Hackettstown is usually my go-to when it comes to holiday and housewarming gifts. Everyone drinks coffee – and if they don’t they drink tea, or hot chocolate, or chai, or some type of hot beverage. Some specialty coffee from your local coffee shop is a great treat, especially when you’re visiting someone out of town. Our coffee shop does a great job of adding in teas, candies, and some little extras that fill the basket with useful – and delicious – goodies. And, unlike baskets from the chain coffee houses, they are local and unique. Plus, they aren’t stuffed with just filler – what you see is what you get in these gifts.
Plus, at my local shop, they offer different varieties depending on your needs; they come in coffee-lovers, tea-lovers, chocolate-lovers, and breakfast. You’ll see I chose the latter, which has an awesome mix of stuff!
This year, we wanted to give my grandparents something special, yet practical. So, we built our kitchen-loving grandma a basket full of goodies that she can use while cooking up her next meal for the whole family. Almost everything pictured – including the box – is from TJ Maxx (which could also be substituted for Marshall’s or HomeGoods). We wanted to get her a new cookbook since she’s been looking for some inspiration lately. And, as someone who is a little recipe-obsessed, I know a new cookbook is an amazing gift, even if it’s just to get a couple of fresh ideas.
So, we found Ina Garten, and wrapped it up with some Italian pasta, quality olive oil, spices, garlic stuffed olives, vanilla, and jam. Topped off with some dollar store cellophane, we built our own gift basket of gourmet – yet useful – ingredients for a fraction of the price.
This is my original this Christmas – personalized gift jars. Mason jars are trending, and when I found them at the dollar store, I wanted to put together something special for my best friends for our gift exchange. We had a $15 price cap and I usually see that as a bargain hunting challenge rather than a limitation. So, I stuffed $15 worth of goodies into my mason jar, all with sentimental value.
The important thing for me was to add items that they could use, and would like, rather than little trinkets that are actually junk someone would throw out. I also added in a tea light in case they wanted to turn the mason jar into a candle once all of the mini gifts were in use. Some of the stuff I was able to buy in “value” packs (since I know I’ll be using some of these things anyway) so I had some huge cost savings per item. The Essie nail polish was my only splurge, but every girl needs a new color.
Here’s what I included:
- Soft lips lip balm (Target, $2)
- Palm Rabbit Wine Stopper (HomeGoods, $1.50)
- Smirnoff mini ($2)
- Essie nail polish (Target, $7)
- Chai Tea (Green’s Beans, $2)
- Lindt candy ($.75)
- Tea Light Candle (HomeGoods, $.50)
And, to make it more sentimental, I dug up some old photos of the three of us and cut them to fit inside the jar lid. The mason jar ring frames and secures the photo perfectly and adds a little extra touch of nostalgia.
That’s Danielle, Nicole, and me in summer of 2002 on our school trip to Quebec. Funny to think that 10 and a half years later, we’re getting ready for Nicole’s wedding! Despite our horrible fashion sense at 13, I guess I should have known that we would be bridesmaids one day.
Topped off with some ribbon (also a dollar store find), I knew this was a gift worthy of memories with my childhood friends.
For the loved one who has a furry loved one, a pet basket will make them say “awwww.” We put this together which is a combination of a Christmas present for Olive and a “welcome home” present for our newest addition, Rosie.
Most of the items are from HomeGoods/Marshalls/TJ Maxx (noticing a pattern here?). This basket includes a dog bed ($15), dog bowl ($5), treats jar ($8), and gourmet dog cookies ($12) as seen on Urban Olive!
And of course, this gift got the ultimate approval from Olive herself (although Rosie and Lily forced her to share).
What’s the best gift basket you’ve given or received?