Tis the season to thank those who have gone above and beyond all year long. In my case, it is also time to create some gift baskets for a silent auction fundraiser for a women’s group I belong to. Each year, we meet for a festive holiday lunch and bid on items donated by the members, and the proceeds go to college scholarships for women. Items range from edibles like homemade fudge, peanut brittle, and cookies, to gift baskets full of books, puzzles, or items like those I am sharing with you today.

The first step in creating a gift basket is to land on a theme so that the basket items appear cohesive. This can be gourmet foods, baking items, cleaning, kitchen tools, etc. Once you have the theme, the second step is to find the vessel to display the items in. This can be anything from a real woven basket to a plastic storage bin, a wooden tool caddy, or any other container that will hold your items.

Such a coincidence that I found a container and dish towel that both said Baking Spirits Bright…

Next, it’s time to purchase the items and arrange them in the container. Fillers like tissue or shredded paper make things stay level in the bottom and add a festive element. When arranging the items, it is best to put the taller items in back and the shorter, smaller items in front. Once you have everything displayed the way you want, you can embellish with an ornament or ribbon, and cover the entire basket with plastic gift wrap, if desired. For my silent auction baskets, I am not covering them with cellophane, because it is easier for bidders to see what’s in the basket if it is unwrapped.

And now for the four baskets I created for this year’s auction. For the first one, I selected a baking theme, after finding this “Baking Spirits Bright” plastic container at the Dollar Tree. I filled it with a Dolly Parton caramel brownie baking mix (did you know she had her own baking line??), a Christmas wine glass also from the Dollar Tree, some cute holiday napkins, two dish towels and a cookie cutter. The final flourish was a gingerbread ornament from Target.

The second basket was more of a tropical theme. For the container, I used a planter I had on hand that reminded me of driftwood. For the contents, I added a package of seaside napkins, a reed diffuser, a candle, a Hawaiian notebook, and some tropical lotion. The final addition was a ceramic starfish found at, you guessed it, the Dollar Tree. I like the way this one came together with so many random items that still fit the theme.

This wooden container just reminds me of the colors of sand and driftwood…

The third basket really isn’t a basket at all, but rather a gift created using a round cutting board as the base. On top of the cutting board, I added two holiday spatulas and two dish towels, all from Target. I secured it all on top with ribbon, tied very tight, and embellished with a candy cane ornament. If I wasn’t taking this for the silent auction, this would make a wonderful gift to take to a hostess this Christmas season.

For the fourth and final basket, I’ve saved the best for last, in my opinion. First, I started with a green tool caddy that I already owned. Into that, I added three of the Mrs. Meyers holiday cleaning products: a dish soap and hand soap in Iowa Pine, and an all-purpose cleaner in Peppermint. To those I added two dish towels, one with pine trees to go with the pine:) and the other that says Merry Christmas. In front, I added a cute ornament found at Target. For a person who wants to add a seasonal fragrance to their cleaning routine, this gift has it all!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these gift basket ideas. They are so much fun to put together, and even more so this year with the help of my granddaughter Cassidy who ran to Target to grab more items when I needed them. Having grandkids who drive comes in so handy!

The baskets are all ready to take to the luncheon!

To recap, pick a theme, grab a vessel, fill with items that go together, embellish with shredded paper, ribbons or ornaments, and give to someone deserving. Once you get the hang of it, I think you’ll find that gift baskets like these are almost as much fun to make as they are to receive!

Good tidings,


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