Gift basket container options | Gift Basket Basics

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Flea market baskets and wooden boxes photograph

When we set up this blog, we planned on adding content straight away because our minds were bustling with ideas and we were passionate to start sharing all of it with others. However, WordPress decided on introducing a new version (with radical changes) right about when we installed it through our host.

Although we are quite familiar with how WordPress blog works, we haven’t done any blogging for at least 5 or 6 years and new version introduction meant we needed to learn a bit more. We decided to set up everything in an organized manner so that we can make our lives easier and to speed up writing new posts in the future.

So, without further ado, let’s dig into how gift baskets are done, from the bottom up.

Importance of gift basket containers

Gift baskets have become quite popular in recent years and can be a unique way of gifting others. You can buy a variety of gift baskets, prepared for pretty much any occasion or you can learn how to make your own. In this post, we will try and explain how to choose a container and in Gift Basket Basics series of posts we will try and cover all aspects of planning and building gift baskets. This series is intended for DIY enthusiasts and amateurs and not really for professionals who make gift baskets for a living but we would be more than happy to get some input from them in comments below or through our Join us page.

If you haven’t read our About the blog page, you probably don’t know that we are neither professional gift basket makers nor are we trying to come across as one. We merely love making gift baskets and have had great feedback from family and friends when gifting them for different occasions.

What to look for in a container

Wooden crate with a bottle of wine, box of chocolates and macarons

Selecting the right container is the second most important thing when making a gift basket, right after what items to include in it (which we consider the most fun). When planning a gift basket, you should probably start with the container as it is what is going to be holding all your gifts.

Keep heavy items in mind

If you know that you will be including some heavy items such as bottles, large cured meats like Prosciutto or large jars, make sure you pick a container that can handle it. Most containers that we list later on are more than adequate but cardboard and thin wire ones might not be your best bet.

A sturdy container will make gift item arranging as well as transport so much easier and it will guarantee that great intentions don’t result in disappointment.

Proper gift baskets are rich

By saying that they are rich, we do not mean that they have to be expensive. Not at all.  What we suggest is that gift baskets have to appear to be overflowing with gifts and they have to incite the recipient to check all of its goodies.

Make sure that the container is not too big as that will take away the image of abundance but don’t make it too small either since that will make it much harder (or sometimes impossible) to arrange everything inside and it might look cluttered. Select a container which is fitting for the number and size of items you are placing inside it.

If you are including large items such as serving boards, think if you can possibly make them your container instead of trying to cram them into a tiny basket which is likely to make it look awkward and out of place.

Stick with the theme

We do have ideas for a basics post about different gift basket themes, what to include and how to choose the right one but in this one we only have one advice in regards to choosing a container depending on the theme – just stick to it. Try and match the theme or play with contrasts. We will explain with the following examples.

Let’s say you are making a Christmas basket and have a nice snowy and white theme going. Obviously, you want a white container which will be a great base for the rest of your gift.

Or if you are doing a gardening theme, choosing a bucket or a planter seems like a straightforward choice. Putting gardening gloves, trowel and seeds in a jewelry box would be ridiculous. That’s just common sense.

Of course, there are exceptions such as using a dark or plain container with colorful gift items, but you’re the best judge of how the gift basket looks anyway so do whatever looks good.

Gift a container which you would want to keep

A lot of the times, gift basket container is a huge wicker basket filled with gifts and although it looks nice and recipient looks excited, it becomes a problem after all the gifts are used or eaten. With our homes becoming loaded with things, a huge useless basket is not a welcoming gift and will probably end up in recycling, or worse, in the trash.

We, therefore, urge you to choose your container carefully. Use something useful, use something a person needs and something that will be functional or at least convenient to store and not a hindrance.

It all starts with a basket… Or does it?

Now that you have an idea what container characteristics to look out for, we get to the good stuff – seeing and comparing all the container options, all the pros and the cons.

If I asked you to imagine a gift basket, most likely you would be thinking of a wide wicker basket with one big centered handle rising above it. But nowadays, this doesn’t have to be the case. Although proper baskets are still very common and are a go-to container for pretty much any theme, we suggest you check out all the ideas below or better yet, think of your own original ones.

When it comes to container function, shape and type, we prefer to categorize them in the following groups:


A bunch of different basket sizes

Pros: Traditional look, hundreds of styles and designs, usually quite sturdy, various material options, mostly made of eco-friendly materials

Cons: Quality dependant on price, sometimes seem dated, usually cumbersome and difficult to store

Notes: You can never go wrong with a basket for a gift basket!


Wooden crate with walnuts

Pros: Very sturdy, they can be a great and easy DIY project, they store a large number of items and are great for large items

Cons: Bulky and difficult to store, they give a box look instead of a gift basket look if they have a lid, usually made of wood only

Notes: Choose crates if you know that the receiver can use them or store them.


Coffee, book and a flower on a white tray with heart handle

Pros: Well suited for flat gift items, can be easily stored, usually useful for a recipient, usually wooden but can be made of other materials

Cons: Quality dependant on price, not well suited for large and tall gift items, positioning of items is usually horizontal instead of vertical so limits the presentation quality

Notes: This category would include serving and cutting boards as well

Alternative containers

Flower and garden text on a metal flower planter

Pros: Your imagination is the limit, they can be versatile, they can easily be incorporated into a theme

Cons: Can be more expensive if trying to match the theme, not a traditional look if you’re looking for that

Notes: These can be pretty much anything. Check below for alternative container suggestions and Pinterest gift basket photos.

Containers with all the bells and whistles

As you can see above, choosing just the type of container can be overwhelming but there’s more…

If you decide on a basket, you can also decide on what characteristics it has and that might make it easier for you to pack the items. Let’s start with the handle type.

No handles

Books in a white wicker basket with no handles

Pros: Easier to store afterward, gives a nice and simple look

Cons: Sometimes appears too simple, more difficult to carry than the ones with handles

Notes: Use decorations to combat the simplicity.

One large handle

Raspberries in a wicker basket with one large handle

Pros: Gives a classic gift basket look, easy to carry, handle can be used as a support for taller items, handle is a perfect location for decorations

Cons: Quite difficult to store due to being cumbersome and non-flexible

Side handles

Apples in a wicker basket with two small handles on each side

Pros: Simple to carry, handles frame your gift items

Cons: More difficult to store than containers without handles (some have handles as part of the container side instead of handles separate from it which makes it more convenient)

Notes: Tie tall items to handles to stabilize them.

On top of that, you can choose containers of any shape. However, this depends on the theme, the budget, type of gift items as well as your creativity. Here are just a couple of examples.


Books in a round black metal wire mesh basket

Pros: They have an organic shape and most items fit easily inside round containers

Cons: None

Notes: Most baskets, serving  boards and bowls are round.


Washing products in a wooden square basket

Pros: Great for rectangular items such as books or boxes

Cons: None

Notes: These include hampers, trays, chests and all are excellent container choices.

Custom shape

Christmas decorations in a heart shaped metal wire mesh basket

Pros: They can easily match your theme, available in any shape you wish

Cons: Some complex shapes are useless for storing things in the container

Notes: You should probably use simpler shapes to make it easier placing your items.

Lastly, containers can be open or closed. If you want to present your gift as a gift basket, you should probably opt for open containers or if you do choose the one with a lid, keep it open for the presentation and gift giving.

Open container

White metal wire mesh basket with a butterfly decoration on the handle

Pros: Easy presentation of your items, pretty and classic look, exactly what someone might expect from a gift basket

Cons: Risk of items getting out of the container (luckily wrapping prevents this), sometimes they look too plain

Notes: Our preferred type of container unless lidded container is needed.

Lidded container

Open picnic basket on grass

Pros: It can still be used for a nice presentation if the lid is kept open, if it is closed or partially closed, opening it adds to recipient’s excitement of getting to gift items

Cons: Usually more expensive unless it is a standard box, somewhat harder to achieve great presentation compared to the open one

Notes: These containers often have a purpose afterward if they match the theme.

You can go eco-friendly if desired

When it comes to container materials, this is likewise a very broad area. While most of the containers are wooden or plastic, you can now choose unconventional materials as well such as ceramics, cardboard or can even use edible containers.

Be traditional or be original

When it comes to gift basket container availability, you have two options, go for a commercially available one or be creative and either pick an unconventional one or just make a gift basket container from scratch.

Although alternative gift basket container options can easily be a blog post for itself (and it will be at some point), we decided to include at least some of them here as well. Hopefully, these might inspire you a bit and will lead to creating inspiration for your own innovative gift basket container ideas.

Multiple mixing bowls on Kitchen aid stand mixer
Mixing bowl
Modern home aquarium
Two red oriental jewelry boxes
Jewelry box
Old suitcase next to a bicycle
Vintage suitcase
Yellow toy truck
Toy truck
Blue plastic sand bucket on a beach
Sand bucket
Magician tophat and a wand
Women's boot with chocolate bar in it
Footwear such as boots
Tea caddy with different tea bags
Tea organizer
Popcorn in a oopcorn bucket
Popcorn bucket
Strawberries in small wooden crates
Fruit crates
Large glass jar with walnuts
Glass jars
Three juice dispensers with colorful juices
Drink dispenser
Ice buckets with beers
Ice bucket
Pickles in a colander
Blue portable drink cooler
Drink cooler
Small dark pirate chest
Pirate chest
Colorful metal flower pots and watering cans
Flower pots and watering cans
Pretty baby cradle with a mobile above it
Baby crib
Bicycle basket on a bicycle
Bicycle basket

Summary and notes

This was a photo heavy post to motivate you for making gift baskets and in it we tried to cover most of the options available for gift basket containers. Containers are your basis when preparing a gift basket and choosing the right one is vital. We learned that there are multiple options available and that gift basket containers vary in shape, material, type and design.

Now it’s on you to go out there and pick the right one!

What do you think makes a good gift basket container? Do you agree with what to look out for and what to avoid? As this blog is intended to be a gift basket maker community, we would love to hear your opinions and will update the post to reflect your comments so that this becomes the perfect repository and overview of gift basket containers.

What are your favorite containers? Which ones did we miss? Comment and share links to them below and we might add them to the post as well.

Let us know what you like and what you don’t like about this post as we are just starting this blog and are more than happy to cater to your wishes. What is the next topic you want us to cover?

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