Homemade Gift Baskets on A Budget


Homemade Gift Baskets on A Budget

This post is from last year, but I have received the same question this year. You can see a similar idea for teachers here.

Last year a reader emailed –

” Hi Shannon. We are in a very tight financial situation this holiday season. I am wondering if you think it would be inappropriate to use my stockpile to give gifts to a few people, just as a token of our love?”

First,  I believe that gifts are secondary to spending the holidays with your family and loved ones. So first and foremost, your time is a precious gift. However, I do understand you feel the need to give them some sort of gift.

I think using your stockpile is an awesome idea! I am by no means crafty or artsy, so you will need to “pretty them up”.

Anyway here are a few ideas for you…..

1. Make a “pampering basket”. I used a dollar store basket and filled it with things from my stockpile – many were free or cheap. Add some cellophane and a bow to make it pretty. Some items I included:

  • Nivea Body Wash
  • Hand Lotion
  • Bath & Bodyworks Lotion & Hand Soap
  • Ghiradelli Chocolates
  • Glade Candle
  • Loofah

2. Use items like coffee, teas, creamer to create a “Coffee/Tea Lovers Basket” Just find out what they like and add it to the basket.

  • Coffee
  • Tea Bags
  • Instant Coffee
  • Coffee Scoop
  • Sweetner
  • Creamer
  • Coffee Filters

3. Movie Night basket – I used cheap candy and popcorn. I bought a few items to add from the dollar store.  Add a cheap movie, like the ones on Amazon and you’ve got yourself a movie night basket.

  • Skittles
  • Nerds
  • Boxes of Orville and Smart Pop
  • Cheap DVD
  • Pop Corn Seasoning

Have fun with your holiday gifts and don’t let the lack of financial means get you stressed out. We can only give what we have and that is the end of it. Remember – your time and love is much more valuable than anything you could ever buy!


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  • Amy

    I love gift baskets. Make them as personal or generic as you want. I am doing one for a family member for a coffee lover and am including a personalized mug as well.

    Here are a few more gift basket ideas.


  • Linda buchanan

    I love these ideas. Very creative and can be economical for our “couponers”. Thanks for sharing all the ideas.

  • Sarah

    I did this earlier this year for a charity silent auction. I made a “girls night” basket (kind of a combo of the pamper and movie baskets above), and a “family fun night” basket (candy, snacks, and a few games I had gotten cheap). They were really well received and went for far more than I had paid in the silent auction!

  • Courtney

    Another inexpensive gift idea is homemade popcorn tins – I got plastic paint cans on clearance at JoAnns for $1 and filled with homemade caramel and cheese popcorn. Cheese popcorn is super simple, just toss freshly popped popcorn with the cheese packet from macncheese and save the noodles to add to soups.

  • Becca

    I made pasta baskets last year for a few families on my list. A cheap collander full of different pastas, pasta sauce, small cans of parm. cheese, and a pasta spoon. They were well received and fairly cheap.

    • Shannon

      LOVE that Idea!

  • Becky Giles Rhoudes via Facebook

    Awesome ideas!

  • Rachel holmes

    We did date night themed baskets. A Guy/girl move flick, homemade cookies and caramels, and popcorn wrapped in celephain bags-cheaper then a basket itself :)

  • Suzanne

    I appreciate gifts like this more than an extravagant item.

  • Wow; I had not even seen this post, but I actually did something very similar a few days ago. I created themed gift baskets, all with items from my stockpile. I had a gift basket for her (or for him); a household items basket, and I used an empty jumbo size dishwasher detergent canister to hold the items; and a food items basket; just as a few examples. Shannon, your baskets look GREAT; love that movie nite basket!

  • Sheila

    Love the baskets! And I think the best gifts to both get and give are ones that are useful. I couponed and bargain shopped pretty much all of my Christmas gifts this year and I was able to get some really nice gifts without breaking the bank.

  • Great baskets!!

  • Very nice gift baskets :)

  • Karla Tiburcio via Facebook

    Love these baskets

  • Allyson Easley

    I have done similar movie night baskets but instead of giving a movie I gave a month of Netflix.

    • Reina Rodriguez

      I did the movie one and everyone loved it and for the movie i did the vow.
      #Keep The Fingers Croossing (: