how to assemble a thoughtful & beautiful gift basket

how to assemble a gift basket

I recently celebrated a friend’s birthday where she planned a girls’ getaway weekend. She rented a house through AirBnB and eight of us spent a fun filled weekend together to celebrate her and our friendships. Here’s the itinerary she put together for us and we just had to show up and have fun. Well, I could not show up empty handed so I came armed with a gift basket to contribute to the fun.

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set a theme

At first I was planning on going with the apple theme, spring boarding from the itinerary graphic and my friend’s excitement to go apple picking. But as I started assembling pieces and thinking of the purpose of the gift basket, I ended up with a sunflower theme which is also timely and brought everything together nicely.

sunflower theme gifts

I wanted to bring something to contribute to our home for the weekend, but my girlfriend had refused all my inquiries and offers. She really wanted to treat it as she was hosting us in her own home. So I looked at the menu she had planned and brainstormed what I could add, but not compete with her plans. Since all the meals were more than covered I decided to bring port and cookies we could share late at night, while we talked and laughed and enjoyed time with each other.

port and cookies

It’s the bottle of port that started the color scheme, which inspired the sunflower theme. I love sunflowers this time of year. I just featured two fabulous sunflower posts at this week’s Home Imagined link party. Once the sunflower theme was set everything just dominoed from there. I paired the port with my go to cookies, toffee and chocolate chip cookies.

I could not find any disposable port glasses anywhere, prompting me to bring these champagne glasses I had on hand from this project {disposable, faux tablescape}. Since I was bringing champagne glasses I opted to bring a bottle of bubbly as well from our Domaine Carneros club shipments. I chose the blonde variety to keep with the color scheme. I added a monogrammed charm to each glass for a touch of personalization and so the glasses wouldn’t get mixed-up throughout the weekend.

find and prep the proper basket

Once all the gift items have been identified and assembled, it dictates the type and size of gift basket you will need. I opted for a wicker basket, which had to be tall enough to hold the bottles and sunflowers plus large enough to hold everything else together. Think of the basket as part of the gift, so choose something that’s pretty and practical.

how to assemble a gift basket

I always like to add a layer of tissue at the bottom, whether it’s a basket, bag, box, etc. The tissue forms a bed for everything to rest on, which nestles all the pieces in place, providing protection. I found my basket at Target, but thrift stores and local craft stores are also great sources.

how to assemble a gift basket

Once the tissue is in place, start layering all the items, paying attention to weight, size and shape of everything to achieve a pretty composition, but also balanced so the basket can be easily carried.

how to assemble a gift basket

pick gifts with intention

Fresh sunflower blooms liven up the basket and it was a great centerpiece during the weekend. I purchased sunflowers, green dragon aster, and snowberries at Trader Joe’s to create an arrangement.

sunflower bouquet

I also bought a container to put them in at the Dollar Tree. Since the flowers would be in the basket for quite a few hours before arriving at the house, I wanted them to be in water during this time so I couldn’t simply wrap the bouquet. Also my friend was able to take the whole arrangement home intact, which wouldn’t be the case if we used a vase from the rental property.

sunflower bouquet

Her “official” gift was a pair of earrings, which she took home and opened on the actual day of her birthday. We FaceTimed the experience since we couldn’t be together.

how to assemble a gift basket

I brought a candle and sunflower matches to use at the house while we were there. This is my habit. Whether we are renting or staying at a hotel room I like to bring a scented travel candle. I know many places request no open flames and I am usually a rule follower, but there are always exceptions to every rule 🙂. I also included sunflower napkins, which were just pretty and went with the theme. They turned out to be great for the photos we took.

assemble basket as a beautiful arrangement

I usually start by layered the bigger and heavier items in the back. Then I keep adding items by size and shape towards the front of the basket until everything fits.

how to assemble a gift basket

You will have to play around with it a bit, moving things around until everything just falls into place. When you have a beautiful composition add decorative details to finish off the gift basket. I used sunflower tissue paper to fill out the display and round out the theme. Ribbon, twine, plus other decorative embellishments are other options to finish off the gift beautifully.

how to assemble a gift basket

Included in the basket:

  • Bottle of sparkling wine
  • 8 champagne flutes with personalized drink charms
  • Bottle of port
  • Homemade toffee | chocolate chip cookies
  • Scented candle
  • Sunflower matches
  • Sunflower cocktail napkins
  • Birthday card
  • Gift wrapped earrings
how to assemble a gift basket

The intention behind the basket was to include items for all of us to share and enjoy at the house. Other items we shared during the weekend, but then my friend took them home to enjoy further. And ultimately, her personal gift, specifically chosen with her in mind. I am pretty sure she felt the love and thoughtfulness of all of it, which is the ultimate goal when you assemble a gift basket.

sharing pieces of the weekend

get the sunflower themed gift basket look

We’re all golden sunflowers inside.

Allen Ginsberg

sharing @ between naps on the porch


  1. CoCo says:

    What a great way to shower someone with something special. I love this idea and the theme definitely makes shopping a lot easier too. You guys look so good in your lightup crowns! Girls getaways are the best. Love this and hope you have had an amazing time celebrating! Hugs, CoCo

    1. Thanks so much CoCo. The light up crowns were fun. XO- MJ

  2. I love this! And the specificity of the guidelines should make it easy to replicate that beautiful basket. I see one in my near future!

    1. Thanks so much Kim. I’m glad you enjoyed it. XO- MJ

  3. Barbara at Mantel and Table says:

    It’s a gorgeous basket MaryJo! And what a sweet gift – I’m sure the birthday girl was thrilled, and it was such a nice idea to share with everyone. Thanks for the detailed instructions!

    1. Thanks so much Barbara! XO- MJ

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