FAQ About Gift Baskets

Gift baskets have been a popular choice for special occasions and celebrations for generations.  The pioneers would welcome newcomers with a basket of produce picked from their gardens and foods they had gathered, dried, or canned.  Whether you're looking for a gift to surprise a loved one, express gratitude, or commemorate an event, gift baskets are a delightful and versatile gift option. The ideal thing about gift baskets is they can be so variable and can easily be customized for the recipient.

However, with so many options to choose from, it's only natural to have questions.  I'm going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that I've heard during the 30+ years that I have been creating, delivering, and shipping gift baskets.

Just what is a Gift Basket and how is it different from a gift box?

  • Basically, it is any combination of products placed into a basket but it really doesn't have to be a traditional wicker basket.  A gift basket container can be anything from a basket to a wooden box to a birdhouse to a garden hose.  The container can be anything that will hold the products.  Preferably, it should be reusable.
  • Even a box (wooden, cardboard, metal, etc) can be used and the finished arrangement called a gift basket.
  • Products used in a gift basket are frequently foods but it can contain gift items, stuffed animals, spa products, books and just about anything else that will fit into the container.
  • Gift baskets containing foods and beverages are oftentimes called “gourmet gift baskets.”  They can be made up of many different combinations including meats and cheeses, cookies, and even wine and other beverages.
  • There really isn't much difference between a "gift basket" and a "gift box" other than the arrangement of gifts.  Gift baskets are traditionally arranged with the gifts standing up, wrapped in cello and topped with a bow while the gift box usually has the gifts laying down in the box.  The box may or may not include a bow.
  • The gift basket can be themed for a man, woman, family, office, or child.  Gifts and foods can be selected specifically for the occasion such as the birth of a new baby, a wedding or anniversary,

Who Should You Give a Gift Basket To?

  • The answer is easily anyone and everyone. There are personal gift occasions that are appropriate for a gift basket but there are also corporate occasions that also call for a gift basket as a gift.
  • Gift baskets can be themed for the occasion (birthday, sympathy, congratulations, etc), for the individual (men, women, kids, etc) or they can be generic (good for any person or group or any occasion).
  • A gift basket is also an appropriate and welcome gift  for any professional person or group including co-workers, administrative assistants, clients, customers and even bosses.  These can be themed personal gifts but most often are gourmet gift baskets.

Reasons for Giving a Gift Basket as a Gift

  • People have been giving gifts ever since Eve handed Adam that forbitten fruit.  To make it easier to gift several items at once, people began placing the items into a container which evolved into being called a gift basket.
  • There are as many reasons for giving a gift basket as you can think of -- ranging from thank you, I'm thinking of you, be my bridesmaid to the more more traditional gifting occasions like holidays, birthdays, housewarmings and anniversaries.  They can also be a great way to express condolences or get well soon wishes.
  • A gift basket is also a wonderful way to just let someone know you miss them or to welcome a new family to the neighborhood.  During the pandemic, they were used to show appreciation to medical professionals and front-line emergency workers.  Work-from-home and zoom meeting gifts were also popular uses for gift baskets.
  • Gift baskets make great corporate gifts as a way to show appreciation to clients, customers, and employees.  Many businesses use gift baskets to say thank you during the holidays while others will send them at other times and occasions.  Realtors use them as closing gifts for their customers or as thank yous for a listing.

Can I Customize a Gift Basket for a Recipient's Preferences?

Absolutely!  One of the biggest advantages of gift baskets is how easy they can be customized.  You can choose items that you know the recipient will love and create your own gift basket or many companies will customize one for you.  Customization makes the gift very personal and unique.

Can I Include a Bottle of Wine or Some Beer in a Gift Basket?

This is a question that can be answered with yes and no. Make sure that the recipient will welcome the wine or beer and is not a recovering alcoholic or non-drinker.   If you are making and delivering the gift basket, you can buy the beverage and include it.  But if you are ordering from a company, the federal government requires the company to have a liquor license which is neither easy nor cheap to obtain.  Most gift basket companies do not have a liquor license and would be fined if they included alcohol in your gift.

There are also state regulations if you are shipping a gift basket with alcohol in it.  You cannot ship alcohol to many states.

Some of us provide alcoholic gift baskets to our customers by using a dropship company that has met the regulations for a liquor license and can ship the baskets to some states.  But, unless we have a liquor license, we do not touch alcohol in baskets that we create, deliver or ship.

Does a Gift Basket Have to Be Opened and Consumed Immediately?

It all depends on the basket.  If the products are food, the gift basket should be opened upon receipt.  If there are perishable foods such as cheese or fruit, they should be refrigerated and eaten quickly.  A gift basket that includes fruit should never be left to open later as fruit ripens quickly when wrapped in cellophane.  Chocolates don't have to be eaten upon receipt but should never be left in sun or a heated area.

Other types of gift baskets -- such as baby gifts or spa gifts -- usually do not include perishable items and don't have to be opened immediately.  However, some gift basket companies will include a few food items even in these types of baskets.

Can I Send a Gift Basket to Someone Who Lives Far Away?

Gift baskets can be excellent gifts for long-distance recipients and are easily shipped if wrapped appropriately for shipping.  Most gift basket companies have the ability to package and ship a gift basket so that it is as beautiful when opened as when purchased.  Be aware, however, that gift baskets which include perishable foods or products that will melt in heat should be wrapped with ice packs and shipped via air rather than ground.

Can I Make My Own Gift Basket at Home?

Creating your own gift basket can be a fun project.  Creating a professional-looking gift basket requies certain techniques that most professionals use.  But even if you are a novice, you can create a gift basket that the recipient will appreciate and love.  Start by selecting a container.  It can be a basket, a box, or anything else that will hold the products.  Make sure that the container is not too large or too small to hold the products that you have chosen to include.  Fill the bottom of the container with some type of filler -- such as kraft paper -- so that the products will stand up above the top of the container.  This is not necessary if you are arranging gifts on a tray.

Arrange the products in the container putting the taller products in the back of the arrangement with the shorter ones in front.  Another option is to put the taller product in the middle of the container and arrange the shorter ones around it.  Then wrap the arrangement with cello or put into a cello bag.  Tie the top of the cello with curling ribbon or other type of tie.  Pull the cello or bag tightly so that the outer appearance is smooth.  Finish the gift with a beautiful bow that you have either made or bought.  We have an article with great instructions for making your own bow.  This is a method that many professionals use but is easy and quick.

How Much Do Gift Baskets Cost?

A gift basket can cost anywhere from around $25 at the lower end up to several hundred dollars.  The price of a gift basket depends on several different factors such as the size of the gift and the cost of the products included.  Some companies will create larger gift baskets with an assortment of inexpensive foods or gifts and one more expensive one as the centerpiece.  Sometimes, the basket will be smaller but the products may all be expensive.

The amount of profit (or mark-up) that the company includes in the price varies from company to company but will affect the total cost. If the company is advertising free or reduced shipping, that too is added into the cost of the gift.

How Can I Get Free Shipping When I Order a Gift Basket Online?

This is one of the biggest myths in the ecommerce industry.  Unfortunately, regardless of what the company tells you, there is no such thing as free shipping.  The company that gives you "FREE" shipping is actually including the shipping in the price of the gift.  Shipping charges as well as the box and packaging the gift basket for shipping is not cheap.  Someone has to pay for it.  If you believe that the company is going to absorb it and subtract the shipping charges from their profits, I would love to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

I don't like to fool my customers which is why I list shipping as a separate charge.  When you buy a gift basket from Creative Gifts, no extra charges for shipping are built into the price of the gift.

In Conclusion

These are some of the many questions that we get about gift baskets but you may have others.  If so, contact me (Joyce Reid) at orderscreativegifts@gmail.com and I will be happy to answer them for you.  I have been making, delivering, and shipping gift baskets across the country since 1992 and look forward to hearing from you.

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