I apologize for a lack of content last Saturday. After the Fall 2020 semester’s finals, I decided to take a break and play some World of Warcraft. It was very relaxing, and I’m glad I made time for myself. The holiday season can be stressful, so don’t forget to make time for yourself as well!

Anyway, back on track.

Every year, a Discord group I’m a part of does a secret Santa gift exchange. I end up buying a gift for someone I’ve never met in real life and do not know much about. In my frantic search to figure out a gift they might enjoy with the little information I have, I came across some websites where you can build a gift box to ship, adding various types of items to your box and even picking the package color. I love this idea, but it’s pricey. So, being the efficient penny-pincher I am, I thought, “Why not just build a gift box myself using the same types of gift items?”

I spent some time looking at gift boxes online and at all the products that come with them to create an amazing, convenient checklist you can use for your own gift box or basket creation for any occasion!

Enough background. Let’s get into it.

What is a gift box?

My idea of a gift box, for the purpose of this article, is a package of various smaller gifts. They might remind you of a gift basket, Easter basket, or a subscription box. In this case, you’re going to create this box to your liking and package it yourself. At the end of the day, this can save you money while creating a perfectly curated gift, but at the cost of time spent putting it together.

Building a box

To build a box, simply choose items from the categories in the table below. You can do one of each, choose certain categories, or mix in match in any way to make a well-curated gift. I know you’ve got some creative juices flowing in that mind of yours, so use this article as a general rule to help you get started. It doesn’t have to be followed exactly.

In the left column is the category. The items in the right column are simply examples to help you get ideas, so you may have another gift in mind that I do not have listed.

FoodCandy
Fruit (dried or fresh)
Sauces
Seasonings
Marinades
Nuts
Marmalade/jam (homemade for bonus points)
Sausage/cheese/crackers
Popcorn
Jarred recipe mixes (pancake mix, soup mix, etc)
Baked goods

Note: Keep in mind if you are shipping the package to decide what food to include. Consider whether you can have perishable items or not. Also consider food allergies and preferences.
DrinkTea (bags, leaves, etc.)
Coffee grounds/whole beans/machine pods
Water flavoring drops/powder
Hot cocoa packets
Apple cider packets
Bottled or canned drinks (sodas/carbonated water)
Wine or booze!

Note: This is another place to consider perishable v nonperishable. Also, if you are shipping the package, do not include a drink that can go flat on the trip or explode, like a carbonated drink.
Scented ItemCandle
Aroma plug-in
Oil diffuser
Incense
Potpourri

Note: There are some considerations here. Certain items like incense and oil diffusers are not good for pets with some essential oils being toxic. Some people may also be sensitive to strong smells.
Bath ItemSoap
Lotion
Bath bomb
Bubble bath
Hand sanitizer
Perfume/cologne

Note: Consider scents they might like and possible skin allergies
ClothingT-shirt
Tie
Gloves/mittens
Socks
Hat (beanie, cap, etc.)
Scarf
Undies/lingerie
Jewelry

Note: Consider skin allergies and preferences (i.e. vegan, allergy to polyester, etc.)
ToyStuffed animal
Action figure/doll
Jigsaw puzzle
Deck of cards
Board game
Collectibles (E.g. Funko Pop figure)
StationeryJournal
Pens
Stickers
Notepad
Stationery set
Home & KitchenDishes (wine glass, mug, water bottle/etc.)
Kitchen utensil
Cutting board
Towel (dish, hand, etc.)
Sponges/loofahs
Wine opener/bottle opener
MiscToys or treats for a pet
Framed photo of a good memory together
Recipe cards
Holiday-related items (stocking, dreidel, Easter eggs)
Gift cards (Restaurants, Theme parks, iTunes, etc.)
Flowers
Plant growing kits
Book (novel, puzzle, coloring, recipe)
CardSimple card
Poem
ContainerBox
Basket
Crate
Tote bag

Example boxes

Now that you have lots of great ideas to get you started, I want to build a few sample boxes to help you see how to make it work for you. I’ll start by building a box for myself (treat yo self). In this example, I just included things I really like. There is no theme. Just a simple list of good small gifts. I estimate that it costs about $30 (not including container) based on similar items I’ve purchased before.

FoodCajun seasoning mix
DrinkPeach turmeric herbal tea bags
Scented ItemStick incense
Bath ItemHandmade soap
ClothingCozy socks with cats on them
ToyGarfield Funko Pop
StationeryMini journal
MiscTuna fillet treat for cats

In this next sample, I’ve built a box for my boss. I know less about her than myself, of course, so I’ll show you how I’ve built a great gift with only a few tidbits of information about her. She loves Halloween, she has a black cat named Salem, and she loves to have tea parties with her daughter. I also noticed that she wears necklaces made of minerals and polished rocks and has a whole lot of photos at her desk. As you’ll see, I didn’t include something from every category. I chose categories where I knew I could get something she’d like.

FoodTea biscuits
DrinkPumpkin spice tea
Scented ItemPumpkin spice candle
ClothingRose quartz shard necklace
MiscFramed group photo from company Christmas party

In this last example, I’m building a back-to-school kit for my niece who will be going into 2nd grade. The gifts help her with packing her lunch, staying warm in the cold midwest seasons, and giving her a little stuffed friend to bring to school.

FoodHomemade blackberry jam
DrinkOrange water flavor drops
Bath itemClip-on hand sanitizer
ClothingCozy scarf
ToyBuild-A-Bear, stuffed and dressed in back-to-school theme
StationeryNotebook with a neat design and colorful pens
Home & KitchenWater bottle

As you can see, the combinations with gift boxes are endless and you can really let your creativity flow. They can be as cheap or expensive, small or large, or creative or lazy as you like. It does take a bit more work than purchasing a gift box online and having it shipped to the recipient, but the personal touch of a homemade gift box adds to the charm.

That’s all I have for you today. Now, go forth and make amazing gifts!

Sources

  1. Photo by Giftpundits.com from Pexels