Still stumped? Try these ideas for gift buckets

Great Gift Bucket Ideas

by Shaunna Privratsky

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My family loves ice cream. We go through a few gallons of the sweet stuff every month. The most economical way to purchase it is in big gallon buckets for less than $5. Once a pail was emptied, I didn't have the heart to throw it away. So I washed the buckets and lids and stored them in the garage, knowing that eventually I would find a use for them.

With the holidays looming, I found the perfect use for my growing stack of empty pails. I decided to make gift buckets instead of gift baskets! The airtight lid assures freshness and protects the contents during shipping. Here are some sweet themes I created for my gift buckets this year.

  • A s'mores party - Who needs a campfire? Include a pack of graham crackers, a bag of large marshmallows and a bag of mini chocolate bars. No one can resist having some more!
  • Game day bucket - Provide an assortment of popcorn, chips, beef jerky and a can of mixed nuts for those sports nuts.
  • Sweet tooth - Put in an assortment of home-baked or store-bought cookies and candy.
  • Movie night - Popcorn and movie theater passes or video and DVD rental coupons are a sure-fire hit. Or tape your loved one's favorite sitcom or old classic.
  • Tea for two (Or three or four) - Pack in lots of varieties of the popular beverage and add some tea-riffic cookies or snacks.
  • Pamper me, please - Start with a soft sponge and add bubble bath, a scented candle, luxurious lotion, and perhaps a soothing tape.
  • Welcome to the world - Place baby gifts in abundance in your baby bucket. Bibs, onesies, soft toys, teething rings, bottles, picture frames and more will delight the baby and the parents.
  • Coffee shop - Stuff with lots of enticing samples like fancy or exotic brands, gourmet blends or tasty favorites. Add a jar of instant creamer and a fancy stir stick or antique spoon. You could even include a mug! I find tons in thrift stores and garage sales for a unique and inexpensive gift.

It is fun and easy to decorate your gift buckets as well. Simply measure and cut a wide strip of fabric, wallpaper or craft paper to fit the sides of the bucket. You can use pinking shears for a no-sew edge or trim with lace, beads, feathers or other fanciful trim. Hot glue works very well for attaching the pieces.

You can use a holiday theme or match the contents of your bucket. For example, the baby gift bucket could be decorated with pretty pastels or bright primary colors in a bold pattern. Sports fans will warm up to a bucket in faux-football leather or textured basketball orange. Use your imagination and decorating your gift buckets will be a blast.

Next time you enjoy the last scoop of ice cream, don't toss the bucket. You have the makings of great gift buckets.

Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Please sign up for the free newsletters at The Discount Diva. You can also visit Shaunna on Google+.

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