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Making Your Own Gift Baskets

by Cheryl Hughes

When you have a large family creating gift baskets are a wonderful way to give everyone a gift without breaking the bank. Making your own gift baskets is easy and economical. Each one you create can be individualized in any way you want. If you are really on a tight budget and want to present an impressive gift to someone, a homemade gift basket is the way to go. Something that is hand selected and put together by you often means more to the recipient.

Buy numerous items on clearance racks, dollar sales, etc. Keep them stored where you can easily get to them when a gift is needed. After the holidays is a great time to find deals for items for the following years gifts. There are several different things you can use as your "basket" to hold all the goodies... wicker baskets, large plastic bowls, large decorator platters, decorated bags, etc. I have used large plastic containers in a red or green color. After the gifts are all removed it serves as a popcorn bowl, fruit bowl, mixing bowl, etc. I have used wicker baskets which can double as a small trash can or a planter. Plates or platters will have another use afterwards. The list can be endless.

Here are some ideas of items I have put in my Christmas baskets: Hot chocolate mix packets, candies, coffee mugs, embroidered fingertip towels, calendars (full size and pocket), decorative and scented candles, flavored coffees, flavored coffee creamers, ornaments for the tree, coloring books and crayons (when the family has smaller children), bubble bath, flavored crackers, mints, potpourri, decorative knic knacs, coasters, pot-holders, dishtowels, dishcloths, incense, decorative containers for cooking oil or dish-soap, decorative soaps, ink pens, pencils, gifts in a jar items, note pads, the list goes on and on. Useful everyday items can be great fillers.

Bags to put the gift basket in are another item that you can get a good deal on after the holidays. Christmas and Easter seem to be the best after holiday sales for this item. They can also be found at some of the dollar stores. There are decorated ones and plain ones, some that shrink to fit with a little heat from a blow dryer. Simply tie them closed with a pretty ribbon (which can be found on those holiday clearance racks, too).

Of course, gift baskets can be used for a number of events. Just adjust the items to the event. For example, you have a wedding shower to go to and the new bride is setting up housekeeping for the first time. What fun! A laundry basket filled with measuring cups, spoons, can opener, spatulas, wooden spoons, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic zipper bags, dishcloths, dishtowels, maybe a duplicate of a particular item you have found indispensable in your home, etc. And then there's the baby shower.... a diaper bag filled with powder, lotions, baby wipes, disposable diapers, rattles, bottles, etc, etc.

When you put a gift basket together, let your imagination be your guide. Have fun doing it!

You decide how much you want to spend on a basket. If you collect items all through the year, it is much easier on your wallet come time to make up the gift.

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