35 Unique Gift Basket Ideas: Do It Yourself and Save Money

Looking for gift basket ideas to make a special occasion over the top? These 35 do-it-yourself-themed-basket ideas are unique, fun, and give you complete control over how much money you spend. We even include directions on how to create the perfect gift basket to add a personal touch for the special people you shop for throughout the year!

What You Need to Know

Making your own gift basket is fun and can save you money since you can choose the gifts to go inside!
It’s simple to make a do-it-yourself gift basket. Follow these steps:
1. Set your budget guidelines for the gift basket
2. Select the theme
3. Choose your basket
4. Select the gifts to fill the basket
5. Wrap it up
Deliver the basket and enjoy the smiles!
knit basket with bows and scissors on table text gift basket ideas
Gift Basket Ideas

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NOTE: These 35 gift basket ideas are just a start!

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35 Themed Gift Basket Ideas: Do It Yourself and Save Money

One of the most popular gifts for the special people in our lives is a gift basket.

In recent years, gift baskets have become almost as popular as gift cards because of the personal touch they add to the gift-giving experience.

Gift baskets are popular because they are versatile and can be filled with a variety of items, making them perfect for any occasion.

You can create many different types of gift baskets, and the best part is you get to select the perfect items for the person you are giving the basket to. If you are not sure what to put in a gift basket, you will get plenty of ideas here!

Another great thing about a do-it-yourself gift basket is that you can save money by putting together your own version of a basket that is perfect for the person you are giving it to.

Many items that make perfect items for a gift basket can be found at a discount dollar store such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General, or other discount dollar stores. You can also shop at a local store to find more unique items or to get gift ideas you may not think of when schedules get busy during the holiday season.

Don’t become part of the statistics by giving a not really wanted gift. A recent survey offered the honest truth about receiving gifts, with 154 million American adults sharing they typically get at least one gift they don’t care for.

What is usually in a gift basket?

lady holding gift basket showing only hands

A gift basket is a variety of small gifts that are delivered as a single package.

The typical items found in a cute basket are food items such as candy bars or prepackaged sausage and spreadable cheese, beverages such as hot chocolate mix or tea bags, cups or mugs, and other generic items that the recipient will find enjoyable.

In addition to the actual basket being beautifully decorated to display the contents, the main purpose is to keep all of the gifts together in one place.

Gift baskets are available in a variety of shapes and sizes; there are no restrictions on what you can put inside or how the basket itself will look! You can let your creativity flow when you create your own gift basket.

Depending on where you purchase your reusable item that will hold the merchandise (the basket part of the gift), the amount of money you can spend on it will vary.

The best financial reward for creating your own gift basket is you are in control of how much you spend, making it simple to put together a gift basket idea to match your budget while still giving a great gift.

Free Yearly to Hourly Wages Calculator: Check out our free Yearly (annual income) to Hourly Wage Calculator to take a deep dive into your hourly pay.

What are good items for a gift basket?

The gift basket ideas in this post focus on a specific theme. This ensures you are getting something the recipient will really love.

Themed gift baskets contain gifts centered around one concept that fits the personality of the receiver.

For example, if your recipient loves coffee you might create a coffee lover’s basket filled with items that have to do with coffee.

Another example is if your recipient enjoys movie nights, a great idea for them would be a movie night gift basket that holds items to enjoy on movie night (popcorn, their favorite drink, etc.)

More ideas are a pancake gift basket, bbq gift basket, snow day survival kit, or gamer basket.

The ideas are endless, making creating your own gift baskets fun and rewarding and sure to be loved when you give them!

What can I use instead of a basket for a gift basket?

felt fabric made into bags for a gift basket

The gift baskets on our list offer ideas to make your gift basket fun and unique.

One of the most popular ways to put together a gift basket is to use a wicker basket as the container to hold the gifts.

They can be found at most craft stores, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

However, for the gift baskets on our list, you will get ideas to make your gift basket fun and unique. For the majority of each themed gift basket, the actual basket suggestions are outside of the traditional wicker basket.

You get to choose the size depending on the size of the items you want to include, or how many you want to put in it.

For fewer or smaller items such as fuzzy socks, get a small basket. For larger items such as a cozy blanket use a larger basket.

For example, if you are creating a gift basket for a person that loves to run, instead of using the traditional wicker basket to hold the gift items use a hip bag or small runner’s backpack as your basket. (Idea #8 in the eBook 99 Gift Basket Ideas for Everyone on Your List)

Another example is if you are creating a gift basket for a person that loves to spend their free time crafting, use a crafter’s storage bag for their basket. (Idea #37 in the eBook 99 Do It Yourself Gift Basket Ideas.) Jump to the bottom of the page to get more information on how to purchase and get the additional details for this unique basket!)

The most exciting part about building your gift basket this way, is you are spending your hard-earned money on an item the recipient will actually love and use, along with the items you choose to fill it up!

Once you have selected the container for your basket, it is time to start filling it with goodies!

What are good gift basket items?

When selecting items for your gift basket, think about the person you are giving it to and what they like.

This is another reason creating your own gift basket is such a great idea. You can choose personal items filled with things the recipient will love, and even add in a gift card if you know of something special they would like to pick out for themself.

For example, if you are creating a gift basket for a person you know who loves to bake pies in their spare time, find a beautiful ceramic pie dish, and for the filler (gift items) make a list of all the supplies used to make a pie.

You could use one or several of the following:

Other generic cooking items would also make great fillers for this gift basket, such as a measuring cup set, measuring spoon set, dish towels, or a fun potholder.

(Idea #67 in the eBook 99 Do It Yourself Gift Basket Ideas)

35 Unique Gift Basket Ideas [Each with a Unique Theme]

What is usually in a gift basket?

For the themed baskets, once you know which theme fits the personality of the recipient, it is simple to make a quick list of ideas on items to include.

In the following list, I give you numerous ideas. Use them as a foundation and add them to the list! The options are endless!

Each is a DIY gift basket the recipient is sure to fall in love with.

They will also appreciate the extra effort you put into creating the gift basket rather than walking inside a store and picking up a random gift basket on the shelf.

1. Cross-Country Traveler

For the person who travels frequently, fill a fun and practical tote bag with several of the following:

Travel mug, maps, hotel coupons, sunglasses, tire gauge, vehicle seat covers, a gift subscription to Amazon Prime Music, travel games, car air freshener, USB car aromatherapy diffuser, keyring, purse key finder

2. Woodworker Addict

This is the perfect gift for a woodshop hobbyist or business owner with a woodworking shop, cabinet shop, etc. Use a shop apron for your gift basket.

Fill the apron with:

Tape measure, safety glasses, wood glue, various grades of sandpaper, set of paintbrushes, woodshop publications or journals, woodworking books with patterns, a gift card to a local warehouse for supplies

3. Garden Enthusiast

Create a basket using a large terra cotta planter.

Decorate the pot with acrylic paint. After the paint has dried, spray the pot with a light layer of polyurethane to give it a gloss. Ideas that make great fillers for this basket:

Hand rake, gardening gloves, variety of colorful vegetable or flower seeds, a hand trowel, bottle of liquid fertilizer, wind chime, a gardening book or magazine subscription, a gift certificate to a local nursery

4. Music Lover or Musician

Use a decorative can and glue on a music note or music symbol with some ribbon using hot glue.

Ideas for the can:

Strings/reeds/drum sticks/mouthpiece to match their personal instrument, sheet music, instrument strap, recorded music of a favorite artist, valve oils if brass instrument player, metronome, electronic tuner, Amazon Music subscription

5. Relaxation Bundle

For the mom or workaholic that struggles to slow down, select a wire basket (the size to fit the gift/gifts you select), and fill it with items such as:

Lavender Epsom salt, a gel eye-pack, relaxing bubble bath, essential oils, portable aromatherapy diffuser, scented candles, a hand-held body massager, bath pillow

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6. New Homeowners

Have a friend or family member that recently moved into a new home? The basket is a toolbox, using one of the following ideas to fill it:

DIY Book with fun and simple decorative home projects suitable to match the personality, tools such as screwdrivers, a wrench, hammer, pliers, assorted nails for pictures, Command picture hanging strips, Command hooks in a variety pack, gift certificate to a local hardware store, duct tape, decorative ceiling fan cord

7. Ski Fanatic

Do you have friends or family that love to hit the slopes?

Select a fun tote bag to fit their personality, preferably one that is useful to take along, and fill it with:

Sunscreen, lip balm, gift card to a local coffee shop at the base of their favorite ski resort, goggles, ski or board wax (if they do their own) gloves, scarf, protective sunglasses case, ski pass, colorful ski pass-holder, (I love this smartphone lanyard for athletes)

8. Avid Walker or Jogger

For the person who likes to walk or is a runner, select a hip bag or small runner’s backpack.

Ideas to fill it:

Sweat wristbands or headbands, pedometer, sports socks, shoelaces, water bottle with waist holder, Amazon Music subscription, waterproof rain jacket (fold-up or in a bag)

9. Outdoor Camping Fanatic

For the outdoor camper use a backpack for your basket, and fill it with one or several of the following items:

Compass, headlamp, tent pegs, sharpening stone, mosquito repellant bracelets, tent patch kit, swiss army knife (this limited edition Swiss Army Knife would make a perfect gift,) camper’s cooking set, localized maps of favorite camping areas, camper’s sleeping pad or mat

10. Movie Buff

For the movie buff, select a tote with a film director quote on it, and fill it with:

Theatre gift card for movie or snacks, microwave popcorn, popcorn popper and bag of popcorn kernels, a variety pack of popcorn seasoning, camera lens coffee mug, director’s sign to hang on the back of the chair

movie buff bag

[This one is small but adorable! Click the image to check it out!]

11. New Year’s Party Goer

Create a New Year’s Eve party kit. Select a party cooler, beverage tub, or wine bucket for the basket.

Ideas to fill it:

Party hats, noisemakers, balloons, plasticware champagne glasses, confetti, sparklers, party invitations, wine cork, beer can opener

12. Vegetarian Lifestyle

For the vegetarian, select a wok, rice steamer, large mixing bowl (this one is super functional), or pan for your basket.

Ideas for filling:

Nesting measuring spoons, wooden spoon set, spices such as thyme, oregano, garlic powder, basil, or parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, pack of fun recipe cards and recipe box, assorted dried beans, box or bag of brown rice, pot holders, heat-resistant oven mitt, grilling mesh bags, flavored olive oil

13. Long-Distance Grandparent

Do the littles’ grandparents live far away? Select a wicker basket or decorative can and include:

Picture frame with family pictures, a coffee mug with a grandparent quote, children’s artwork or crafts they have made, a coffee mug set with flavored coffee samples, a year-dated Christmas tree ornament, completed scrapbook with photos throughout the past year

14. Rainy Day Saver

Everyone has a rainy day at some point!

Choose a colorful and cheerful basket (or make your own with a wicker basket and ribbon), and fill it with:

Crossword puzzle, word search, or sodoku book, deck of cards, a game of UNO or other card or board game, herbal tea, coffee mug, root beer mug, adult coloring book, and colored pencil set, sketchbook

15. Devoted Golfer

Have a golf lover on your gift list?

Use a golf bag for your basket, and fill it with one or several of the following:

Sunscreen, golf tees, small cooler (size that holds 6 packs of soda), insulated lunch bag, golf balls, scorecards, small towel set (personalized if possible to add a special touch), baseball cap

16. Knitting or Crochet Enthusiast

Use a portable or travel yarn storage bag for your basket if you have a knitting or crochet enthusiast on your list and fill it with

Personalized ‘made by’ labels, assorted crochet hooks or needles, patterns, a gift card to a local craft store, a box of buttons, accessories kit, knitting needle pointer protectors [Click image to view buttons]

Colorful Buttons

17. Comedian of the Group

Every family or group of friends has a person that makes everyone laugh, and they need a special thank you for the fun giggles!

Select a decorative can or wicker basket and fill it with:

Whoopi cushion, a deck of trick cards, a coffee mug with a fun quote, a joke book, tickets to a local comedy club, movie theatre tickets, or gift card

18. Simple Chef

All families or even singles need something quick for dinner on occasion. Select a slow cooker for your basket, and select one or two 5-ingredient (or less) recipes, then purchase the ingredients and set them in the cooker with the recipe card to make the dish.

Other options to fill the cooker:

Soup ladle, slotted serving spoon, oven mitts, pulled pork shredder (this is an awesome gift set that comes with gloves and a thermometer), kitchen timer (I used this one in my classroom and still have several of them), spoon rest

You might also like: How to Create a Realistic Budget

19. Dog Lover

If you have a dog lover in your house, get a large dog bowl, dog bed, or dogfood storage container to use as your basket and fill it with:

Dog biscuits, chew bone, squeaky toy, matching leash and collar set, harness, dog t-shirt or sweater, a gift card to their veterinarian

20. Soap Opera Fan

If you have soap opera lovers the perfect gift basket for them is to start with a wicker basket or decorative can.

Ideas for fillers:

Soap Opera magazines, fan club membership for their favorite show, a colorful box of tissues with decorative cover, a box of bonbons, a coffee mug with soap opera quote, a scented candle

21. Sundae Basket

Pick out a wicker basket or ice cream maker and fill it with:

Gourmet topping set, ice-cream scoop, set of small parfait cups, assorted nuts, individual cookie bags such as chocolate chip or Oreo, a jar of maraschino cherries, ice-cream spoons, a gift card to a local ice-cream shop, a box of sugar or regular cones, sprinkles [Click image to view cups]

ice cream parfait cups

Use a cookie sheet for a basket, and when filled wrap it in shrink wrap to hold everything together nicely.

Fill the sheet with:

Cookie cutters, favorite cookie recipes, blank recipe cards and matching recipe box, set of icing tubes, cookie scoop, sprinkles, cookie cookbook, chopped nuts, peanut butter chips, M and M’s, chocolate chips

23. Loves to Write

Select a wicker basket for the writer on your gift list and fill it with:

Engraved pen, lined note pads, a coffee mug with writer quote, scented candle, personal journal, a mousepad with a positive quote, a smartphone holder for desk, desk organizer [Click image to view mousepad]

quote mousepad

24. Avid Collector

For the collector on your gift list, select a wooden box to use as your basket and fill it with:

Items they collect, books, a coffee mug with collector’s quote, a cleaning supply kit to match their interest (oils, brushes, special polishes, etc.), tickets to a collectible’s show

25. Sun Goddess

For the person that loves to lounge in the sun, get a beach bag or sun hat for your basket, and fill it with:

Sunscreen, sunglasses, bug repellant, packets of lemonade, a novel by their favorite author, flip flop shoes, beach towel, small drink cooler (size to hold 6 packs of soda)

26. Home Workout Fanatic

Select a plastic tote with a lid to use as the basket so they can use it to store home workout equipment.

Ideas to fill it up:

Hand towel, sweat headbands, subscription to their favorite workout app, set of resistance bands, sports socks, hair clips or bands, shower gel, deodorant

You might also like: How Many Work Hours in a Year

27. Spa Lover

If you have friends or family members on your gift list that love to go on spa visits, this is the perfect gift basket for them!

Use a small overnight bag for your basket, and fill it with:

Scented candle, Lavender Epsom salt, small lamp with soft lighting light bulb, aromatherapy diffuser, set of essential oils, a gift certificate to the local spa

bath soak with lavendar essential oil

[This is a personal favorite – click the image to check it out!]

28. Gym-Goer

For the friend or family member that loves working out at the gym, get a gym bag for your basket, and fill it with:

Pack of headbands, no-slip short socks, face towel, water bottle, a gift card for a free month at the gym, body spray, hair ties or clips

29. Electronics Hobbyist

Get a clear plastic box with a lid for the basket if you have an electronics hobbyist on your gift list.

Fill it with:

Wire cutters, soldering iron, resistors, a roll of electric tape, batteries, light bulbs, LED lights, project books

30. Specialty Coffee Lover

Spice up the typical coffee gift basket you pull off the grocery store shelf with this personalized basket.

Fill a wicker or wire basket with:

Coffee mugs, a variety of gourmet coffees, a box of chocolates, decorative or chocolate-coated stir sticks, decorative bookmark, toffee sprinkles, gourmet flavors of coffee creamer singles

chocolate stirring spoons

[Anytime I’ve used these as a gift they were a big hit! Click the image to check them out!]

31. Chocolate Lover

For the chocolate lover, fill a wicker or wire basket or a large decorative mixing bowl with:

Variety of chocolate sauces, chocolate syrup, chocolate coffee, chocolate-dipped coffee spoons, chocolate chips, gourmet hot chocolate packets, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate covered pretzels

32. On Their Feet All Day

If you have someone on your list that stands up all day, use a foot spa or large dishpan as the basket and fill it with:

Scented Epsom salt, foot file, bubble bath, thick and fluffy towel, lavender foot scrub, pumice stone, comfortable slippers, nail clippers, foot powder

foot spa

[I own this foot spa and it is AMAZING! Click the image to check it out!]

33. ‘Great for All’ Christmas Food Basket

Fill a decorative Christmas tin or box with:

Christmas candy, Christmas cookies, assorted chocolates, Christmas ornaments, holiday coffee mugs, candy canes, chocolate-dipped pretzels with green, red, and white sprinkles (home-made versions of all edibles, if possible, make this basket more special and personalized!)

34. Health Food Buff

Select a bread basket to fill up for friends or family who eat a clean diet and fill it with:

Healthy to-go protein drinks in a variety of flavors, variety of layered rice or grains in a mason jar, such as brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, etc. all-natural protein bars, recipe cards with protein cookies, balls, etc. written on them, assorted spices, a coffee mug with a fun quote about health or fitness

coffee mug for fitness buff

[This is a personal favorite! Click the image to check it out!]

35. Chinese Food Lover

Use a wok for the basket if you have friends or family that love Chinese food.

Fill the wok with:

A gift card to a local Chinese restaurant, a box of green tea, tongs, a bottle of soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sweet n’ sour sauce, or plum sauce, a cookbook with Chinese dish recipes, cleaver, small cutting board

Looking for a simple budgeting system to track your finances? Check out our top 10 budget planners, updated for this year!

How to Make an Impressive Gift Basket

As soon as you’ve read through the list of 35 gift basket ideas, pick one that sounds just right for the person you’ve got in mind.

When making a DIY gift basket, it’s important to follow a few basic guidelines:

1. Decide how large you want your basket to be

When it comes to filling your basket, more items mean a larger gift basket. This isn’t a problem if it is what you want; however, keep in mind larger baskets tend to be heavier and more cumbersome to transport so think about how you will deliver them.

2. Get an idea of the filler gift items before you choose the basket

In order to make a DIY gift basket, you can use any container you like. However, make sure that whatever container you choose has sides strong enough to withstand the weight of your items.

3. Stay away from perishable items

It is best to choose non-perishable items so you don’t run the risk of anything going bad if plans change for when you deliver the gift basket.

Perishable items also create a problem if they need to be kept cold and you have limited space in your refrigerator until it’s time to deliver the basket.

This is also a better choice for the receiver so they don’t have a limited amount of time to enjoy the gift items.

Food items such as baked goodies and fruit would not be considered perishable (unless they have to be refrigerated.)

How do you arrange items in a gift box?

  1. Place the items on top of the filler, tucking them around each other so they are comfortably nestled together.
  2. Finish filling the basket by tucking small random items inany empty space.
  3. Wrap in cellophane or shrinkwrap (if this works for your type of container holding the gifts.)
  4. Decorate with curly ribbon.

Get details of how to follow each step, plus additional ideas, in the eBook 99 Do It Yourself Gift Basket Ideas (for the special person in your life.)

What do you stuff the bottom of a gift basket with?

The best and easiest stuffing is Easter basket grass. I recommend you stock up when it goes on sale after Easter so you have it to use year-round. However, it can typically be ordered online throughout the year, like this three-pack of pastel colors for less than $10.

Other fillers that are good for gift baskets are shredded paper, Spanish moss, crumpled tissue paper, or even crumpled newspaper, to give you several ideas.

How do you make things stand up in a gift basket?

The easiest way is to sit the items on top of your basket, if this will work with this basket you have selected, then tape them on before wrapping.

This demonstration video shows you the exact steps, just keep in mind it is with a wicker basket so you will need to adjust accordingly.

How to make items stand up in a gift basket

More Gift Basket Ideas

Gift baskets make the receiver feel special because of the special touch they add, making them an ideal choice for all occasions throughout the year.

Use the great ideas for a birthday gift, a thoughtful gift for a close friend going through a tough time, a hostess gift, for a special mom on Mother’s Day or grandpa on Grandparent’s Day, a housewarming gift, a Father’s Day Gift, or any other special occasion where you want to recognize friends or family members with the perfect present, great inspiration, and a special touch.

You can get more gift ideas in the eBook, 99 Do It Yourself Gift Basket Ideas!

sample pages and ebook mockup of 99 do it yourself gift basket ideas

Available now for immediate download!

Learn More

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Sources used in this post

Last update on 2023-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API