Learn how to make the perfect gift basket for anyone. Easy tips to make you look like a pro!
I have a confession to make. I am a professional gift basket creator. At least I was many years ago. While in college I needed a holiday job that was flexible with my exam schedule and would be finished before Christmas so I could go home and spend time with my family for the holidays. A local store was hiring people to make gift baskets. The hours were really flexible and everything was finished by Dec 22. Bingo!
I had so much fun shopping the store and creating perfectly themed packages. I always got excited when mine would fly off the shelves and I’d have to recreate the most popular ones again and again. Gift baskets are great this time of year for hostesses, coworkers, neighbors, teachers….pretty much anyone!
Putting together a gift basket is really simple. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you pull together something special that looks fabulous.
1 | Pick a Theme
When filling a basket, you want to get items that all work together. You could do a coffee lovers basket, family game night basket, date night basket, cheese lovers basket…the possibilities are endless!
My Secret Santa this year loves Italian food. So, I put together a pasta lovers basket featuring some of the new Signature RESERVE™ pasta sauces and pastas found at my local Randalls store. I love that these are affordable, premium products with globally sourced ingredients and unique flavors.
I chose three different Signature RESERVE pasta sauces: Tomato Basil, Tomato & Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and Tomato, Porcini & Black Truffle. The sauces are made in Torino, Italy by layering ingredients using a traditional slow stirring technique, which brings out complex flavors.
I paired the sauces with Signature RESERVE pastas which are cut using traditional bronze dies to create a porous surface that perfectly absorbs sauce and slow dried for optimal flavor and texture. I used bucatini, orecchiette and penne rigate.
2 | Pick a Container
Do not just pick a boring brown basket from your local craft store. Find something that coordinates with your items. You can even think outside the box! You could put a movie lovers basket in a cute popcorn bowl with all the fixings for the perfect family movie night. Look for an inexpensive garden tote to fill with seeds, gloves and other gardening tools for that special neighbor with a green thumb.
Pasta containers can be really tall so I wanted something fun that worked well with all the height in the basket. I found this gold wire basket that balanced the tall items and it color coordinated, which brings me to my next tip!
3 | Stick to Coordinating Colors
When packaging your basket, you want to make sure all your colors work together. This may mean rethinking items that fit with you theme but whose packaging doesn’t work with the others.
I love how the gold of my basket ties in with the gold in the Signature RESERVE label. I also decided to use gold ribbon instead of red. The red didn’t look quite right with the tomato red of the pasta sauce.
I originally grabbed some of the Signature RESERVE Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels and Milk Chocolate Covered Caramels to put in my basket. Don’t they sound amazing?! But, I didn’t like how they looked in it. The red and blue of the boxes just didn’t tie in as well. And the square shape didn’t work with the tall narrow shape of the sauces and pastas. So, I wrapped them up to give as little hostess thank yous later this holiday season. Or maybe I’ll put them under the tree for myself.
4 | Layer your Items
When adding everything to your basket, make sure you put the tall things in the back and the shorter things in the front so everything can be seen. I like to use the crinkle paper to help with layering. You can also use double stick tape or glue dots to stick items together to prevent them from slipping out of place.
The Bucatini pasta is very tall so I removed almost all the crinkle paper below it. I piled more on the sides to help raise the Penne Rigate and Orecchiette to a similar height. Then I used very little in the front with the pasta sauces. This creates a stacked look that allows the recipient to see everything in the basket.
5 | Don’t Wrap it in Cellophane
When I was a professional gift basket maker, we wrapped all of the finished baskets in cellophane. This helped keep the items in place while they were jostled by customers getting them home. It also prevented product loss while they were sitting out waiting to be purchased. Cellophane wrapped baskets have a distinctly store-bought look.
To give your basket that special personal touch, don’t wrap it! Then your recipient knows you didn’t just grab something from a store shelf. You put time and effort into making something perfect for them.
This post features products from the extraordinary Signature RESERVE line, exclusively at Albertsons, Randalls and Tom Thumb stores. In addition to the products in this post, the Signature RESERVE line also includes loose leaf teas, coffee varieties and ice creams with globally sourced ingredients and unique flavors. Look for them next time you are at your local Albertsons, Randalls or Tom Thumb store. Product availability may vary by location.
Make your holiday gift basket special with ultra-premium Signature RESERVE products. I buy my Signature RESERVE products at my local Albertsons, Randalls and Tom Thumb, and you can also find them exclusively at all of the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Shaw’s, Star Market, and Carrs/Safeway. Visit www.albertsons.com, www.tomthumb.com/, or www.randalls.com/ to find a store near you.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons CompaniesAlbertsons, Randalls and Tom Thumb. The opinions and text are all mine.