Ideas for Filling a Gift Basket on a Budget

Ideas for Filling a Gift Basket


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Ideas for Filling a Gift Basket

A-Tisket, A-Tasket

Sure, it's easy to buy a holiday gift basket and give it to a friend or loved one, but it's so ... impersonal. And expensive. Instead of spending a small fortune on a gift basket at the store, you can create one yourself for half the price or less and rest assured that the items you include are tailor-made to your friend's tastes and loves. From sweet treats to creative hobbies, we've assembled a list of great DIY holiday gift basket ideas for everyone on your list.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

Related: 101 Christmas Gifts for $25 or Less

AnnaPustynnikova / istockphoto

Spice & Seasoning Gift Basket

Barbecue addicts get all the love when it comes to spices and seasonings and the giving of such gifts, but indoor cooks deserve some love, too. Show that chef you care with a gift basket full of spices, seasonings, and other favor enhancers.

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Gift Basket
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Coffee Gift Basket

Show that coffee snob (er, coffee enthusiast) some love this season with a bag or two of their favorite beans. That's a must. So is a clever coffee mug, one that could do double-duty as a pencil holder or a succulent planter. Nothing complements coffee quite like chocolate, so a sweet treat of the cocoa variety is a nice addition, as is a coffee warmer to keep their brew nice and hot.

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Related: Great Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Baking ingredients and kitchen utensils on white background
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Chocolate Lovers Gift Basket

The only thing better than chocolate is more chocolate, so any gift basket for a chocoholic should include lots of sweet options. Skip the full-size chocolate bars in favor of fun-sized options and assortments from a variety of manufacturers. For even more chocolate goodness, consider adding a small tin of hot cocoa or chocolate syrup.

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Tools Hand Care
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Nail Salon Gift Basket

Bring the spa experience home with a helping of self care wrapped up in a gift basket that will make them feel and look like a million bucks. Start with a few must-have tools and toss in a handful of their favorite shades.

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Maya Kruchankova / shutterstock

Candle Gift Basket

A gift set with a candle theme can be assembled in several ways. The basic candle garden calls for free-standing pillar candles and a flat, fire-resistant surface or "foundation" on which to burn them. A dinner plate or wall mirror from a secondhand store serves the purpose. For candles, check dollar stores and overstock outlets, or head to Ikea for an inexpensive selection of block candles and scented candles in glass.

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Related: Cool and Unique Gifts for People Who Really Love Candles

Car washing
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The Screaming Goat

Gag Gift Basket

Know someone who could use a good laugh or two this holiday? Then put a smile on their face with a basket of gag gifts that range from classics like a funny pair of socks to more cerebral silliness like a candle that smells like ineptitude. LOL!

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Related: Fun and Hilarious Gag Gifts for the Prankster in Your Life

Exercise Equipment
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Fitness Gift Basket

Whether they're a certified gym rat or just enjoy a daily run, they're sure to appreciate a gift basket that includes goodies they'll use every time they work out. 

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Grilled ribs
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Barbecue Gift Basket

Americans may not see eye to eye on what constitutes the best barbecue, but we can all agree that eating it calls for strong, study napkins. Cloth napkins are reusable and more festive (and durable) than paper, so splurge on those. Grillmasters will appreciate a digital meat thermometer; they can use it to check the meats that they've slathered with a favorite rub or sauce (or both).

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Gift Basket of Wine
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Wine Lovers Gift Basket

Leave choosing the wine to the expert, and give your wine-enthusiast friend a care package that will always come in handy. A good kitchen towel with a cute wine-themed design is a good way to start. And you can never, ever have too many corkscrews. If your friend enjoys throwing outdoor gatherings or has tile floors indoors, a set of sturdy plastic wine tumblers will be appreciated, too. Whatever bottle they choose to uncork, a bar of dark chocolate is a sweet complement to their drink.

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Related: Unique Gift Ideas For Women Who Love Wine

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Beer Drinkers Gift Basket

Beer lovers appreciate a good brew, but they know the value of useful beer tools, too. A set of proper pint glasses would make a welcome addition to any home bar, as would any device that maximizes fridge space. And while they sit and savor their favorite brew, a good read is always appreciated. For that special friend, consider adding a gift certificate to a favorite local brewery.

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Related: Raise a Glass to These Gifts for Beer Lovers

Notebook and Pen
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Writing Gift Basket

Even in today's electronic era there's room for old-fashioned writing supplies. Start with several attractive pens in a variety of ink types, including ballpoint, fiber tip, and gel. Add a couple of blank-book journals or standard notebooks with pretty covers to complete a basic diary-writing kit. For a stationery set, pick up a tablet of writing paper with matching envelopes and a few sheets of "Forever" postage stamps. Present the gift in a basket or large decorative folder.

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Related: The Best Gifts for Writers (and Not One Pen — We Promise)

Window Herb Garden
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Window Herb Garden Kit

A standard-size garden pail is the right size for a gift basket, large enough to hold a bag of potting soil, a few inexpensive planters, and packages of seeds. Not all plants are suitable for growing indoors, but herbs known to thrive include basil, chives, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and parsley.

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Related: Gardening Gifts for Anyone With a Green Thumb

Hot Sauce
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Hot Sauce Gift Basket

A collection of their favorite hot sauces is one way to go, bundled together with a fire-engine-red ribbbon and bow. At the very least, include one bottle of hot sauce — though the more, the merrier. A small DIY kit, plus seeds to grow their own hot peppers might be just the thing to encourage a new hobby, while some spicy socks will add just the right kick.

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Related: Best Hot Sauce Gift Sets for 2022

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Teatime Gift Basket

In Victorian days, tea was so valuable that people stored it in lockable tea caddies. Stroll the aisles of a grocery or specialty store today and you'll spot plenty of affordable choices, many sold in reusable decorative tins. Add a bit of whimsy with unusual cup-and-saucer combinations from the local thrift store; garage sales and flea markets are likewise worth checking. To tie everything together, choose tea tins that match the colors on the cups.

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Related: Cool Experiences Worth Giving This Holiday Season

Beard Comb

Men's Grooming Gift Basket

Bearded bros will appreciate grooming essentials like a pleasant-smelling beard wash and balm, plus a sandwood comb to keep everything neat. As a bonus, toss in a handful of sample-sized products like facial mositurizer, hair-styling products, or lip balm.

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Related: 25 Gift Ideas for Guys Under $25

Happy couple
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Movie Night Gift Basket

A quiet night at home with a favorite movie or two can be a memorable occasion. Assemble a couple of DVDs or an iTunes gift card for streamers, some popcorn, and large boxes of movie candy such as Milk Duds and Raisinets. A bottle of good, cheap wine would add to the atmosphere. You can also include a set of reusable plastic popcorn boxes and use them as containers for some of the other items.

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Related: Best Gifts for Movie Buffs

Candy and Coke Gift Basket

Candy and Coke Gift Basket

Filling a holiday gift box or basket with assorted candies and sweets is a classic route to take. Start by picking up a six-pack of Coca-Cola Classic in 8-ounce glass bottles, then add some gummy bears or chocolate bars and top it off with a festive bow.

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Ice Cream Sundae Kit
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Ice Cream Sundae Kit

Giving frozen ice cream as a gift is a non-starter (unless you can keep it cold somehow), but a good selection of toppings is another matter. Grocery store dessert aisles stock a wide selection of hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, and fruit-flavored toppings. Add to the basket a couple of decorative bowls and a jar of chocolate or rainbow sprinkles to sweeten the treat.

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Yellowj / shutterstock

Cheese Gift Basket

The great thing about this gift idea is that it can be assembled during your usual trip to the grocery store. For someone who loves cheese, assemble a basic basket with a cutting board, a cheese knife or slicer, a package of crackers, and, of course, cheese.

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Soft Pretzels
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Pretzel Lovers Gift Basket

There's nothing quite as satisfying as the hearty crunch of a thick, salty pretzel. Unless it's a chewy, fresh-baked pretzel. Soft or hard, good pretzels are even better with condiments like spicy German mustard or cheese spread. And don't forget how yummy chocolate-dipped pretzels can be, either. As a bonus, top it off with couple cans of their favorite soda or beer.

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Kodiak Cakes

Breakfast Gift Basket

The best part about breakfast is that you can have it at any time of the day or night. A breakfast-lover's gift basket could include a grab bag of mini boxes of their favorite cereals, a batch of homemade muffins or sweet rolls, or you could indulge their inner chef with a DIY kit for a weekend waffle party.

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Colored pencils
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Drawing and Coloring Gift Basket

An artfully displayed collection of art supplies will get the recipient's creative juices flowing. To assemble a drawing kit, start with blank sketch pads available at art and office supply stores. Add a box of pencils (the traditional No. 2 is fine, but look for the softer No. 1) or black sketching pencils, plus a box of colored pencils or markers. For additional inspiration, include a coloring book for grown-ups.

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Related: Creative Gifts for Artists That Are Sure to Inspire

Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce

Taste of Italy Gift Basket

Traveling to Rome may not be a reality, but anyone can afford to give the gift of culinary adventure with a carefully curated gift box of food favorites. It's hard to beat Rao's pasta sauce, which is a reviewer and consumer favorite, and nothing beats handmade pasta for making a simple meal something special. Cooking essentials, such as olive oil or seasonings, are also great for rounding out the treats.

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Hot Cocoa
Marysckin / shutterstock

Hot Cocoa Gift Basket

Who doesn't love a mug of steaming cocoa on a cold winter night? This gift set can be as simple as a couple of hot cocoa packets inside a decorative mug. For a more elaborate gift, put two mugs inside a larger container, along with multiple hot cocoa packets and a bag of marshmallows. A few individually wrapped peppermints or candy canes for stirring are a sweet flourish.

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Dionisvera / shutterstock

Fruit and Nut Gift Basket

This collection would make a great companion to a gift basket for a wine lover, cheese lover, beer lover, or anyone who enjoys snacking. A quality mixed-nut assortment is a must, of course, but any true nut fanatic will want some extra packs of their favorite nut, whether it's pistachio or peanut. Dried fruits provide a chewy, sweet complement to those salty, crunchy nuts. For an added something special, throw in a yummy nut butter, which you can find in the bulk section of your local market.

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Related: 25 Snack Box Subscriptions for Every Type of Eater

Ceramic Succulent Plants

Plant-Lover's Gift Basket

Houseplants make a home feel cozy and lived-in. Plus they're just nice to look at. Succulents are easy to propagate and don't require much space indoors, while seeds to attract pollinators are ideal for a larger, outdoor spaces. And any plant-lover will appreciate a good read about (what else?) houseplants.

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Related: The Best Gifts for Plant Lovers and Green Thumbs

College-themed blanket

College-Themed Gift Basket

Amping up your favorite student’s school spirit is easy with a basket built around campus life. T-shirts, collegiate blankets, snacks, and posters are good places to start. Consider putting the items in a small laundry basket, along with some detergent and other dorm-living essentials for when the recipient heads back to school after the holiday break. Maybe even a gift certificate to a local restaurant?

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Bath Spa Basket

Spa Gift Basket

A home bathroom can become a day spa with aromatherapy soaps and a few other luxury bath items. Every department store stocks such merchandise, but clearance bins at specialty stores often contain a wider array. Stick with the fancy stuff — bars of floral, glycerine, or milled-oat soap make a pleasing gift —  and include scented body lotions and an accessory such as a loofah or shower sponge.

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Related: Gifts For Women Who Are Serious About Self Care