A personalized birthday gift

Birthday Gift Basket Ideas

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Birthday Gift Basket Ideas

I like to give gift baskets for birthdays. They're more personal and less expensive, but I'm starting to run out of ideas. Does anyone have some good ideas for birthday gift baskets?

Gift Basket for a Teenage Boy

One of my best ones I've put together was for a teenage boy. It was a car care kit. The basket included car wash solution, a tire pressure gage, microfiber dusting cloths, an air freshener, and a gas gift card.

Gift Should Fit the Recipient

The key to good gift basket ideas is to create one that you know the person would like. For example, I love ice cream. I have a great ice cream maker, and my friends know it. For one birthday, a friend gave me a gift basket with ice cream paraphernalia, including sprinkles, nuts, an ice cream dish, and a long spoon. I will always remember that gift even though it was about 30 years ago because it was so fitting for me.

Move Beyond Baskets

Don't limit the gifts just to baskets. You can buy an inexpensive coffee tumbler or an insulated water cup and put a $5 or $10 gift card to a coffee place into it with some chocolate covered espresso beans. Then wrap it with a nice ribbon. You can also pick themes like a favorite color or favorite item. Maybe pick a fruit that you know they like and start there. For example, you could put together all orange flavored items or all purple things. I also like to put together dinner baskets with a box of pasta, a quality jarred sauce, a bottle of wine, and an inexpensive DVD.

Age Matters

This depends on the age of the recipient. Adults can be finicky, but children are easier. For an adult, give a gift card to a movie and a favorite comfort food. For a child, give whatever is popular at the time, little trinkets, and candy!

Florist's Take on Birthday Gift Baskets

I work at a flower shop, and we constantly have to come up with unique gift basket ideas on not a lot of money. A third of a gift basket's cost comes from the container and packaging. Therefore, when I make gifts baskets to give on my own, I try to think outside the box, using mixing bowls, pails, etc. Just wander through the local dollar store for ideas. If you're set on using a basket, you should never pay full price. Go to the local thrift store where you'll find awesome like-new baskets for just a couple bucks.

There's no need to fill the entire container with expensive pre-shredded tissue (which is free if you have a paper shredder). Instead, crumple up newspaper or brown grocery bags to fill the basket and then cover this with a layer of shreds or crumpled tissue paper.

The cello wrap is very expensive by the roll, so if you're only doing one basket, check with your local florist. My shop will gladly sell a basket-sized piece for a buck as opposed to $5 or so a roll. Here's a florist trick. Gather up the cello until it looks the way you want and then secure with a length of pipe cleaner. By doing this, you're not arm wrestling the cello and the bow at the same time!

The bow is what makes the piece. Make it more festive by coordinating the colors to items in the basket or for the holiday. Use pieces of raffia or curling ribbon to drape down with a big showy wired bow up top. Again, you can buy lengths at the florist shop if you don't need a whole roll. If you don't know how to make a bow, it's the florist to the rescue again. Bring in your own roll (bought on clearance at the fabric store, of course) and we'll do it for you for a few bucks.

Shop for party supplies and decorations at The Oriental Trading Company!

What to put in a basket? I like to get one or two nice things and fill out with inexpensive items. Come up with a theme and then hit the dollar or discount stores.

Movie Lovers: Use a large plastic popcorn dish, adding movie candy like licorice, etc. Add a box of microwave popcorn, a box of tissues (for those sappy movies, of course!), and a pair of movie passes to the local theater.

Car Guy: In a large pail, put items from a dollar store like a large sponge, squeegee, chamois, and car air fresheners. Top it off with a free pass to the local car wash.

Pasta Lovers: In a large bowl, add a few different kinds of pasta, breadsticks, parmesan cheese, serving spoon or tongs, a garlic press, and a gourmet sauce. (Big Lots carry great imported things like this on the cheap.)

Health Nut: Most dollar stores have oodles of granola, dried fruit, and nut items. If the packaging isn't so pretty, use squares of cello and lengths of curling ribbon to repackage the goods and no one will be the wiser. (If you are doing this commercially, it may not be legal to repackage. Check the rules in your state if you are creating for resale.)

Wine Lovers: Use an ice bucket and add wineglasses, a corkscrew, a selection of cheese and crackers, faux grapes, and a nice bottle of wine.

Other themes include gardening, sewing, and celebrating a new baby. I've also given baskets with toddler toys, art supplies for kids (crayons, paints, coloring books, and clay), spa day supplies (loofah sponge, lotion, bath salts, and nail polish), pet supplies, etc. Part of the fun of making a gift basket is to match the recipient's likes with your finds and customize the packaging to make it all the more special. On personal gift baskets, I rarely spend more than $25, including packaging, and it always looks like the basket cost two or three times that amount!
Ali in Mesa, AZ

Related: Homemade Gift Baskets

11 Birthday Gift Basket Ideas

  1. Dinner in a Basket: Include a loaf of Italian bread, spaghetti, a jar of marinara sauce, a bottle of wine, fresh garlic, and even parmesan cheese, depending on what you can afford. If you will be taking to this someone's home, you could add a bag of frozen meat balls and even a hot pad or dish towel.
  2. Movie Night: Include a copy of a favorite move, a box of microwave popcorn, butter flavored sprinkles, and a bag of candy. You could also add a gift card for a pizza or popcorn bowls.
  3. Book Lovers: Include a book by a favorite author, a box of tea bags, a small candle, a book mark, a small box of chocolates, and a tea cup and saucer.
  4. Knitter's Delight: If your friend likes to knit, give a basket of lovely yarn and a new set of needles.
  5. Car Safety: Include flares, a canned tire inflator, paper toweling, window cleaner, a tire pressure gauge, a plastic poncho, a flashlight, batteries, a bottle of water, jumper cables, a snow brush, an ice scraper, a collapsible snow shovel, cat litter, etc.
  6. Cookie Time: Include a cookie mix, cookie cutters, a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, and sprinkles.
  7. Pot of Soup: Include a mix of dried beans, spices, bouillon cubes, dried veggies, crackers, bread, and/or a box of corn muffin mix.
  8. For the Love of Chili: Include cans of beans, spice mix, cornbread mix, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
  9. Get Well Soon: Include tea bags, magazines, VapoRub®, aspirin or acetaminophen, a rice bag (white rice in a cloth bag or sock sewn shut so it can be warmed in a microwave), cans of chicken noodle soup, and cough drops.
  10. Home Office: Include a spiral notebook, a three-ring binder, pencils, a pencil sharpener, stamps, a tape dispenser, a stapler, pens, sticky notes, and a coffee mug.
  11. Bath Time: Include a towel, a washcloth, bath soap or body wash, shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath or homemade bath salts, and body lotion.

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