7 Homemade Holiday Gift Basket Themes And Ideas

Thoughtful presents for every recipient and occasion this season.

social crop shortbread sampler
Photo: Iain Bagwell

As the holiday season kicks off and party invites begin to arrive in the mail, the need for creative and meaningful gifting is strong. For many Southerners, nothing welcomes the gathering season like a holiday gift basket.

"Holiday gifting is the perfect time to show your friends and family your love and how much they mean to you," says Theresa Dickinson, owner of A Box of Dallas, a custom gifting company in Texas.

Below, she shares seven curated holiday gift basket ideas and tips to inspire your own gifting.

Why Do Southerners Love a Holiday Gift Basket?

A holiday gift basket is a favorite for many reasons, the first being that it's a token that comes across as thoughtful and intentional no how much time, effort, and money was put into it. The gift tag might as well say, "I picked out each of these items thinking of you!" While you can always do just that, Dickinson says another fun idea is to "focus on thoughtfully curated times," meaning you can tailor your basket theme to a time of day (i.e. brunch!) or an occasion like movie night. Another tip? "Personalized touches, such as monogrammed items or a handwritten notecard with a personal message are always very meaningful and special for the recipients," she advises.

How Much Should You Spend On A Holiday Gift Basket?

This answer very much depends on the recipient and occasion. Are you attending a seasonal gathering at a friend's home, dropping off a little happy at a neighbor's doorstep, or are you putting together a custom gift for your best friend? As a general rule, think about what you would spend if you were giving a gift card, and go from there. The good news is that, while you have to spend some money on wrapping materials, you can get a lot of look for your buck inside a gift basket with smaller, often inexpensive items adding up to a bigger, special surprise when put together.

Do You Have To Use A Basket?

Traditionally, many opt for a classic basket whether you want something traditional like wicker or more modern such as an acrylic basket, it all depends on your recipient and gift basket theme. But don't feel limited to a basket. You can use whatever vessel you please, even if it's a pot you found at a thrift store or something you have on hand that fits the basket theme!

Holiday Gift Basket Ideas To Make Your Own

Once your price point is established, what should you put your gifts inside?

01 of 07

Home For The Holidays

holiday gift basket
A Box of Dallas

During the holidays, there is no place like home—which is why a curating a "home for the holidays"-themed basket is a gift all will love. It's a classic theme that's easy to replicate.

"When curating our holiday gifting, we love to include items such as candles, hot chocolate, match cloches, cookies, and scarves," shares Dickinson.

02 of 07

Game Night

Liven up the dark winter evenings with game night! Create a party in a basket by first selecting a board game (maybe Monopoly?) as your "main item" then add in supporting elements from there. A few ideas: yummy kettle corn, a cozy candle, old-fashion candies, and cozy socks for the whole crew.

03 of 07

Cup Of Cheer

holiday gift basket
A Box of Dallas

Incorporating a hot chocolate theme into your next seasonal gift basket will not only warm someone else's hands but will be cherished all season long.

Pro-tip? Add locally sourced and grown goodies to make the basket more meaningful. "At A Box of Dallas, we love to curate our gifting using locally sourced items," Dickinson explains. "We carefully select (and taste) every product we include."

04 of 07

Bagels And Brunch

Curating a brunch gift basket is not only delicious, but something for the receiver to enjoy once the seasonal duties have passed. When building a brunch basket, it's all about presentation, so base yours on what the recipient likes. A few ideas? Their favorite roast of freshly ground coffee and a filling item like fresh bagels or yummy granola paired with a citrus marmalade or berry jam.

05 of 07


holiday gift basket
A Box of Dallas

We have all met the tired hostess who runs in circles once the holidays approach. Encourage a pampered evening for the hardworking friend with a self-care basket. Including elements such as bath salts, a jade facial roller, a clay mask, and a scented candle will certainly encourage a night of relaxation.

06 of 07

Movie Night

Treat your recipient to their favorite movie snacks all nestled into a beautifully wrapped basket. Popcorn and movie candy aside, a plush throw or cozy socks is the final touch for a cozy night-in. You can even throw in a "gift certificate" for a digital download.

07 of 07


holiday gift basket
A Box of Dallas

The hallmarks of Southern small towns are a combination of the people, businesses, and creative creations that reside in them. When thinking outside of the gift basket, think inside the borders of the recipient's hometown by including all locally sourced products.

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