DIY: Gift Baskets

Hello Readers!  Hopefully by now you have most of your holiday shopping done or at least planned out for the rest of the season.  But occasionally, you may have that unexpected recipient that pops up out of the woodwork.  It may be a friend or a colleague or a neighbor.  Hopefully you have remembered everyone, but these last minute gift needs can certainly add up, especially as the less expensive blanket gifts–the baskets of tea or coffee that cost around $10 or $15–sell out and you’re left with the more expensive options.

Thankfully, there is another option for you that can save you some money.  However, I will warn you that this idea will take you some time and effort to put together.  My idea is gift baskets.

Now, I know that it is easier to just pick up a basket from the large department store and not give it another thought.  Sure, it’s always so convenient to just pick up one of those prepacked baskets.  But it’s also very impersonal.  And, let me ask how many of you like receiving those cheap sets yourself?  Often it can almost be offensive to receive one of those baskets, especially since they sometimes can contain items that some acquaintances may not even use.

Because of this, I try to purchase a few supplies to create a gift basket in a moment’s notice if I need it.  Here are a few items and DIY baskets that I like to keep on hand.

1. Movie Basket.  You know, at the Dollar Tree, I can find a big plastic popcorn tub, movie theater candy packs, and other movie night supplies like popcorn bags and Cracker Jack for a dollar apiece?  I will sometimes pick these supplies up, along with a five dollar family or holiday movie and keep them for the season.  The movies can always be used in he following year if I don’t use it one year, and the candy can be given to my niece and nephew for fun.  Now, I can’t completely discount this as a true gift as we did choose to do this for a family this year, but we chose a higher end movie for the gift.  However, this gift basket idea can cost $10 or less.  And best of all, most acquaintances will think it was especially done for them because it is hand wrapped rather than a shrink wrapped blanket gifts.

2. Game Basket.  This is similar to the Movie Basket idea, but it’s a little more expensive.  I’ll typically get a couple bags of microwave popcorn, some movie theater candy, and a family favorite game like Sorry, Scrabble, Monopoly, or Uno.  Then, just wrap these up together and gift them away.  For a friend with a family, they’ll love the personal touch and the fact that you thought of their family or their quality time.  For singles, they’ll love the use for parties or friends’ nights.  And, best of all, this can be as little as $15.

3. Journaling Basket.  This is the perfect one for your writer friends, your journaling friends, or your mom friends.  It simply takes a nice journal and nice pen, both of which can typically be found at places like Ross or Marshall’s.  And your friends will love that personal touch for themselves.  Best of all, this can be less than $10.  Bonus: throw in a $5 gift card to a coffee shop and your friends will be over the moon!

4. Food Basket.  I love places like Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and whatnot because you can typically find things like artisan oils, specialty coffees and cookies, special mixes, novelty pasta, and the like.  And most of these items can be purchased for very little.  And gifting these to a friend who may like to cook is always a great gift option.  You can buy baskets or mixing bowls in these places, too, and they can act as your baskets.  Your friends will love that personal and unique touch.  And these can cost you less than $20.

5. “Themed” Basket.  Okay, even when you’re strapped for money with major gifts, these options can be a Godsend.  This year has been a little rough on our little family with a major and detrimental change in June that cost us a few thousand dollars and affected holiday shopping a little.  Luckily, this SAHM has a few tricks up her sleeve and I was able to pull off holiday gifts for everyone under our tight budget.  One way I did that was to do some themed baskets.  These are similar to food baskets, but they follow a central theme that add a personal touch while staying fairly inexpensive.  For us, we did a breakfast theme for a couple of people–just a little artisan pancake mix purchased from a higher end store, some artisan syrup and flavored coffee purchased from a store like Ross, and a mixing bowl.  Put it together and voila!  It’s a great way to make your recipients feel special, even when money is tight.  By spending a little extra on just one more expensive item–such as the artisan pancake mix with the more expensive store’s name associated to it–our fairly cheap basket became a high end gift for the recipient.  This kind of gift is a little more expensive, but it can be kept under $30 or $40, depending on the theme.


So, I hope that these gift baskets give you some ideas on making your own to gift away for those last minute gifts or to make your budget really stretch during the holidays.  Remember: for less than $40 you can make someone’s holiday extra special.

Until next time,



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