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Gift Baskets

Gift baskets make great gifts for all ages and most any occasion. Beautiful gift baskets can be purchased at many flower or gift shops and specialty stores. What I like about gift baskets is that you can make your own, make it personal to the recipient and spend as much money as you wish or what your budget will allow. Great gift baskets don't have to be terribly expensive and even the smallest ones with that special gift will be appreciated. I've reviewed several videos along the way and will post some that I think are the best. You'll see links along the way to these YouTube videos and you can also find them on our "Instructional Videos" page of the blog. Components to gift baskets include the container, filler, product, wrapping and finishing bow. We'll start with containers. Your typical gift basket is a perhaps a wicker basket, square, round, rectangular, oval. Some with handles, some with hinged lids, no lids or lids that lift off. Baskets with hinged lids look great open and work well with items that are tall. If you have a basket or container with a lift off lid, you might be able to just set the basket down in the lid, if that doesn't work, you can position the lid to the back of the container and wire together with florist wire or chenille stems to hold it in place. Wicker baskets are great for most any type of product. They can also be spray painted if you need a particular color. Just be sure to paint and allow drying time days before your package your goodies. Wicker is available in a wide price range. Sometimes the container itself may be your primary gift. Wicker suitable for baby gifts include small baskets to hold bath and nursery items is widely available even or larger wicker to hold the baby. Easter baskets made of wicker can also substitute for baby gifts. Wooden Containers: A wooden container or crate filled with craft paper shreds or excelsior, is perfect for food items or bath items such as soaps and salts. Wooden boxes filled with men's shaving supplies would be a welcome father's day gift.....no more ties! Wooden salad bowls, serving trays all are great containers to start with. Apple crate style wooden containers filled with shiny red and green apples, bags of nuts, and a nutcracker would make a great family gift. And once the goodies are gone, the crate makes a great magazine holder, or could be used in the kitchen to hold vegetables. Just the look and feel of real wood adds to the gift, it costs more, but so much nicer than a disposable plastic container or cardboard box. Metal Containers: Metal, tinware, pots and pans, galvanized tubs, toy wagons - are all great containers for gift baskets. Metal containers are especially good when gifting wine and food items. Little red wagons are perfect for birthday parties and Christmas gifts for little ones. Metal watering cans filled with gardening gloves, trowels, seed packets make a nice change of pace for Mother's Day gifts or just a special spring "happy" for your gardening friend. A great basket for men, or the mechanic in your family is a galvanized tub or simple water bucket filled with shop towels, hand cleaner, nail brush. Another great container for the mechanic is a plastic pan or basin filled with similar goodies - oil filter wrench, rags, oil, oil filter, air filter ect. Now I know this doesn't sound like "fun" stuff, but trust me....men love it. Plus, if it's a gift for the hubby just think about how much of your Tupperware you'll be saving! Who among us hasn't see some of our favorite Tupperware bowls and plastic tubbies go out the door for the quick oil change.....right? Cooking pots, cast iron kettles, stock pots are perfect for holding kitchen utensils, cookbooks, all sorts of culinary products. Plastics: One of the best plastic containers for children is the sand bucket, wheelbarrow, wagon and trucks made of plastic. Look in the pool toy section of your local Wal Mart or dollar store for inexpensive containers. They make a great base for holding your goodies. Plastic tubbies, makeup or travel bags, milk crate type containers, flower pots, buckets, kitchen canisters, mixing bowls, juice pitchers...there are just too many items to list! This silver color makeup bag would be perfect for the teenager or any young lady. Unzip the lid and let it remain open, fill with sparkling iridescent shred and pile in skin and hair care products, makeup, nail polish, etc. This bag would be appreciated just filled with shampoos and soaps! The silver color would be great for the holidays too. I love clear plastic pitchers. Plastic because it's safe around kids outside, and clear because whatever your drinking can shine through. Nothing is more refreshing than a frosty pitcher of lemonade with slices of lemons, oranges and cherries floating around in it. Now, you can't see that in anything but a clear pitcher! A clear pitcher filled with a base of shred, your favorite lemonade or fruit drink mixes, long wooden spoons for stirring and cocktail napkins or kitchen towels would make great hostess gift when you're invited to that backyard barbecue. Or you could fill it with fresh lemons and limes - how colorful and aromatic. Pour a cup or two of sugar in a clear cellophane bag tied with ribbon to stick out toward the top. This would make a great gift - both useful and appreciated. And for a more personal touch, hand write a lemonade recipe on a card, punch a hole in it and tie to the handle. Glass & Ceramic Containers: Mixing bowls to hold fruits or kitchen goodies, pie plates, decorative bowls, mugs, pitchers, flower pots, votive/pillar candle holders, glass canisters, fish bowls, casserole dishes. Again, the possibilities in glass containers are just too many to list! A great way of using a cooking dish or mixing bow, is to fill with utensils and ingredients for making a special dish. It could be your favorite cherry pie recipe. Take your pie plate and fill with a quart of fresh cherries (in a cellophane bag or leave in the plastic box container), dry ingredients premixed in a clear cellophane bag, perhaps a pot holder or pie server and attach your handwritten or handmade recipe card. And if cherry pie is something near and dear to your heart, include a Cherry Pie Christmas ornament so they will have a keepsake of your gift that will last for years to come. The large ceramic popcorn bowls filled with microwave or gourmet popcorn and perhaps a DVD makes a great gift for the family or teenagers. I like to take six-packs of bottled Coke, use that for the base and stick bags of peanuts, nabs (peanut butter crackers), or bags of microwave popcorn and tie up in cellophane. A very "use it and it's gone" gift. Perfect for families with children or movie buffs. Easily less than $10 a gift and you always get that "kewl gift" response. Cardboard and Paper: Many styles of cardboard containers are available from craft stores and online shops. These boxes are open topped boxes that can be found in all sorts of colors and styles. They are usually purchased in pack of 6 or so, but make really great gift box containers especially when you need to do several for a project. Say, the entire cheering squad or basketball team, office staff, teachers gifts, any small group. You can also cover a box you have have on hand with wrapping paper or even fabric. This really reduces your expenses when you're looking to save money or to put your money into the gift itself rather than the packaging. Recycle! A paper gift bag is one of the easiest ways to present a gift. Just stick it in the bag, put in some tissue and done! But if you're like me, I really really hate to spend $2-3 on a bag to be thrown away! At my grandchildren's birthday parties, I'm always gathering up the gift bags to keep them from going in the trash! Tissue "flames" add color and dimension to a sack gift. Video "How to Make Perfect Tissue Paper Flames" Use your imagination when it comes to containers. First decide if the container is the primary gift, or just the holder, then go from there. Antique and "junk" stores can provide a wealth of containers. Always check out the sales bins at discount stores. It might be July when you run across the perfect container for your next super special Easter basket! Summer sales can result in great red containers that can be used for Christmas. Next we come to the "filler" for our basket whether it be wicker, paper, glass or metal. You need something in the bottom of the container to take up space so that your gift items will present well. Filler materials can include paper shred, excelsior or wood shavings, tissue paper, crumpled paper such as newspaper, Styrofoam peanuts. You can use crumpled paper first, then layer your more expensive paper shred on top for show. You can shred your own paper but I don't advise a crosscut shredder, its too messy to work with. Discarded gift wrap will shred okay, but foil papers will not. Shredding wrapping paper is okay if you really got a good deal on the paper. I was once in a "Dirt Cheap" store and they were filling up laundry size baskets of gift wrapping paper for $1.00 a basket. That's the kind of paper you can shred)) Video: "Types of Gift Basket Filler" Paper Shred: Paper shred can be found in many colors and styles at craft and discount stores. It is usually sold by the ounce and comes compacted in a bag. It is surprising how far a little paper shred will go! Some shops carry different color combinations. Metallics will be more expensive than plain solid colors. White or kraft paper shreds will cover most any sort of basket you're creating especially if you have a project of several baskets to do. Otherwise, you might just want to get shred for the particular gift you're working on. Wood wool or excelsior looks great in metal or wooden containers and is a nice bedding for food products, wine bottles and cheeses. Easter grass when it goes on sale ...buy it! Easter grass is perfect and it comes in all colors. Some is plastic, iridescent and some is actual wood product. After Easter, it will go on sale sometimes for a quarter a bag. Great time to stock up! Once you've arranged your products on a bed of filler, reserve some to fill in the gaps and spaces once everything has been added. Wrapping: Once your gift basket is assembled, it's ready to wrap. Cellophane or cello rolls in a variety of colors and prints are easy to use and make a very attractive wrapping. Cellophane bags are available in clear cello rollseveral different sizes. Also go with a larger size if you're unsure what size you need. You can always cut some off of the top when your done. Wrappings include cellophane either in sheets or rolls, shrink wrap sheets or bags. Another option would be to wrap your basket in mesh netting. Mesh netting is available in rolls 21" wide and 10 yd in length and comes in many colors and prints. Shrink wrap rolls and bags can also be purchased and you can use a hair dryer to finish off. Tie a bow around your package with wire edge ribbon, raffia, curling ribbon, tulle or make a big bow out of Sinamay mesh netting (Poly Deco or Geo Mesh are brand names) and you'll have a beautiful, handmade, personal gift. Tips: If you use purchased items like Fiddle Faddle, chocolate covered pretzels or something like that, don't put the box in your basket. Pour the contents into a clear cellophane bag and close with a ribbon or twist tie for a much more appealing look. Use a jump rope for tying off a gift basket for a child. Backpack or lunch tote is a great container for the school age child. Double stick tape and glue dots are handy for securing items. Start by placing your tallest items in the back and fill in the front with smaller items. Gift baskets make lovely centerpieces for parties or showers. White tulle makes a good wrapping for a wedding or anniversary gift, along with pink or blue for baby. Natural color raffia for bows and kraft shred compliment food products. Homemade gifts that typically come in a jar (dry mixes for cookies, hot chocolate, soups etc) can be layered in clear cello bags for a different look and adds less weight to your basket. Clear cone shaped pastry bags add a neat look to simple items. They also even make bagged candies such as M & M prettier. You can use them for dried beans for a soup mix. Fill with hot chocolate mix, add miniature marshmallow on top with some mini chocolate chips for more color. Nuts look great packaged this way instead of the tin can. Use fresh fruit that has been washed and thoroughly dried. Stay away from ripe bananas or anything on the ripe side. Don't forget pet lovers! For that person who "has everything" create a basket for their beloved pet. A food or water dish makes a great container. A tailgater basket could be wrapped in a tablecloth in team colors. Check with your local grocer for a cheese crate. Great for a big gift basket filled with food items. Consider adding a memorable keepsake to your gift basket filled with items that will be used up or eaten. Something that reflects the theme of your gift. A cheese ornament for a gourmet basket. swiss cheese christmas ornament Include a few sprigs of Rosemary in a wedding gift basket. You can put it in the bow or lid of the basket. Rosemary is said to bring the new couple fidelity, good luck and protection. Tackle boxes filled with good are great for the fisherman. Tackle boxes also are great filled with screwdrivers, pliers, nails, small hammer, tacks, tape measure etc. for the lady of the house. I have one of these and I thought pink handled screwdrivers would keep the hubby out ......not! Diaper bags are good containers for baby gifts. Leftover wallpaper is a good for covering boxes to be used as containers. Cover the inside too. Deco Flex Tubing makes a quick tie for your basket. Browse through the video section and watch some of the videos. You'll get great ideas there. Gift baskets should be stuffed with goodies. If it doesn't look stuffed, get a smaller container, add more filler in the bottom or add more items. Fill any gaps with bunches of your filler material.

Happy Gifting!

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