Gift Basket Theme Ideas: 25 Under $25!

You can buy ready-made gift baskets from many stores — some retailers even create and sell them as their specialty. But, they can be pricey, not to mention slightly impersonal. In this guide, we look at 25 gift basket theme ideas you can make for around $25 or less. These baskets have useful contents as well as a personalized note.

For Teachers

First Day of School

Help your child make a good first impression with their teacher by sending them off with a thoughtful gift basket on their first day! It’s a hard day for everyone, but, as they say, the first one’s always the hardest.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “If you are planning for a year, sow rice. If you are planning for a decade, plant trees. If you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” – Chinese proverb

Last Day of School

Thank your child’s teacher at the end of a long school year by offering a farewell gift.

What to Include:

  • Teacher’s favorite sweet treats ($3)
  • Relaxing scented candle (try to pick a scent your teacher likes!) (About $10 to $20)
  • A wellness/spa gift voucher ($15)
  • A sincere and personalized thank you note ($Priceless)
  • Total: Around $30

A quote for the note: “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” – B.F. Skinner

House Warming

The Starting-from-Scratch-er

First homes are daunting, and we always forget something when moving in. Try to eliminate groans from the new homeowners when they realize they don’t have something basic by providing it for them in their gift basket. And, why not help out one step further and make the basket itself a slow cooker or mixing bowl?

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.” – Charles Dickens

The DIY-er

Gift giving can be difficult for someone who likes to do things themselves. Help your friends get their renovation off to a good start and eliminate the cries of “I can’t believe we forgot that!” with this useful basket.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

The Up/Downgrade-er

Whether upgrading or downsizing homes, these are seasoned movers. They already know all the tips and tricks, so why not provide them with an all around basket that gives them a chance to take the stress off? Anti-stress baskets are always a hit no matter the person or situation. Keep in mind that good gifts are about getting what the person wants. If they are downgrading, don’t buy them unnecessary stuff.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “Where thou art, that is Home.” – Emily Dickinson

Get Well Soon

Up and at ’em

There’s nothing worse than being sick. Whether you’re struck down with the flu or battling a longer-term illness, it’s great to know someone cares and is thinking of you. Help someone get back on the go and fix their spirits with a caring gift basket. Just think of what you would want if you were sick.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” – Irish proverb

For College Freshmen

The Athlete

Know someone heading off to college soon on a sports scholarship or eager to join the team? Help them settle in and enjoy their passion with this fit basket.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “It isn’t the mountains ahead that wear your out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammed Ali

The Bookworm

Everyone’s different. Please the library fan in your life with this crafted basket full of literary treats and inspiration to get writing.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” – Abraham Lincoln

The Homesick

There’s nothing worse than feeling homesick. If you know someone worried about flying the nest, make them a care package to remind them that they might be moving out, but they’ll never be far from home. Think about what they enjoy about home.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “Home is where one starts from.” – T.S. Eliot


Valentine’s Day

Maybe you can’t spend Valentine’s with your S/O or perhaps you just can’t decide on one gift? Answer – gift basket! Crank up the romance with roses and cuddly bears, or keep it earnest and let your words do the talking. Romantic basket ideas are perfect for this holiday when you may not know exactly what to get a person.

What to Include:

  • A bottle of bubbly ($10)
  • Chocolates and sweet treats ($10)
  • Couples coupons ($7)
  • Total: $27

A quote for the note: “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.” – Alfred Tennyson


Easter is a great time for DIY projects and making baskets can be just as fun as giving them!

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’” – John 11:25-26


Tis the season of giving, so spread the message of cheer and goodwill far and wide with a festive gift basket that will please everyone. Christmas can be really pricey, but if you’ve got more spare time than spare cash, have a go at hand-creating some unique Christmas-y gifts or baking some sweet treats to fill your baskets.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” – Roy L. Smith


New Baby

As great as babies are, new additions to the family can be stressful. Why not ease the work of a new arrival by providing a handy gift basket? The contents should include things beneficial to both the baby and the parents!

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare

Engagement / Wedding

Also, very testing and tiring — weddings and engagements. So many family members to see, so much planning… Help the special couple get off to a good start in marital life by fixing them a gift basket full of sweet and stress relieving goodies. The contents should feel like pre-wedding gifts.

What to Include:

  • Personalized wax seal for thank you cards (Starting around $15)
  • A guest book ($10)
  • Disposable cameras ($5)
  • Lots of confetti ($1)
  • Total: $31

A quote for the note: “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” – Robert Quillen


It’s been a long road of ups and downs, but eventually we all get to retire. Everyone will have envisioned all sorts of ways to spend their golden years. Help kick off the celebration and ease the sadness of moving on with a retirement basket designed to highlight all the good in giving up work for good.

What to Include:

  • Bucket list book (Starting at $7)
  • Wine vouchers ($10)
  • An autograph book signed by colleagues ($5)
  • Total: $22

A quote for the note: “The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” – Abe Lemons

With Sympathy

Bad news is never easy to digest. We can often forget to take care of ourselves when we receive something unexpected. If you know someone going through a tough time, show them you care and help them out with a thoughtful basket. If the recipient has suffered a bereavement, try using a memory box instead of a basket.

What to Include:

  • Herbal teas ($5)
  • Lots of calming candles ($8)
  • De-stressing bath products ($6)
  • Contact details and a copy of your schedule ($0)
  • Total: $19

A quote for the note: “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” – Khalil Gibran

New Pet

Everyone loves a furry friend and the addition of one can really complete a family. But, they are hard work! They need constant food, exercise, and attention, but you can ease the pressure with a basket filled with essentials.

What to Include:

  • Treats! ($3)
  • A collar / leash ($6)
  • Pet water bottle — specially designed for the way dogs drink (Around $10)
  • Total: $19

A quote for the note: “Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” – George Eliot


New Job

Nothing says “good job” better than a gift basket. And, when will your friend need the words “good job” more than their first day at work? Help the newbie feel confident and appreciated with a basket to ease them in to the new grind.

What to Include:

  • Professional fountain pen ($15)
  • Pens and notebooks ($3)
  • Their own office mug ($5)
  • An individual lanyard for ID badges ($4)
  • Total: $27

A quote for the note: “The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Ghandi

New Driver

Passing your driving test is great. Freedom and exploring the open road await! But, why not make the day extra special for someone you love? For this gift basket, use the opportunity to stock them up with car necessities often overlooked.

What to Include:

  • A first aid kit (vital!) ($8)
  • Car air freshener ($3)
  • A really obvious keyring to avoid lost keys ($3)
  • Local maps, a lifesaver for when technology can’t be relied on ($8)
  • Total: $22

A quote for the note: “Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.” – Author Unknown (but smart)


It’s the start of something new and you’ve probably wished for it for years, but that doesn’t make it any less scary. Any graduate will be fearing the unknown. But, you can both congratulate and ease their fears with a gift basket stashed full of prospects. Don’t forget to coordinate with their college colors!

What to Include:

  • A fountain pen ($12)
  • Lots of photos of their friends and college life (Varies)
  • The first page of their thesis, framed ($10)
  • Total: Around $25

A quote for the note: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss

21st Birthday

There are many milestones in life but turning 21 is a pretty big deal. It’s a significant step in adult life. It can be hard to pick just one present that sums up the importance of the day. Put together a gift basket full of through-the-years DIYs of your loved one’s life so far.

What to Include:

  • Champagne – they are 21 after all ($15)
  • 21 photos of them, one for every year of their life
  • Some homemade cupcakes – 21, if you’re feeling up to the challenge!
  • Line-a-day memory book ($10)
  • Total: $25

A quote for the note: “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” – George Bernard Shaw

Just Because

Sometimes you just want to say “thanks for being you” to someone and show your appreciation of them. A gift basket filled with their favorite things is a great way to do this.

The Gardener

Try this basket for the green fingered gardener in your life. Add some fresh flowers for finishing touches — they’ll think you’re blooming lovely! And, remember, these recipients can also use the basket to collect their produce at harvest — an added perk!

What to Include:

  • An assortment of seed packets ($8)
  • Lots of plant sticks labels ($5)
  • Plant seeds (Starting around $6)
  • Some soothing hand cream ($5)
  • Total: $24

A quote for the note: “Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.” – Rudyard Kipling

The Baker

It’s good to appreciate the baker in your life. Not only will they feel great, but you’ll be top of their list next time they turn on the oven! Maybe you’ll get inspired to try some baking yourself?

What to Include:

  • A cookbook stand ($10)
  • Recipe cards ($5)
  • Cute patterned cupcake cases ($3)
  • Total: $18

A quote for the note: “Baking cookies is equal to Queen Victoria running an empire. There’s no difference in how seriously you take the job, how seriously you approach your whole life.” – Martha Stewart

The Cyclist

Cycling’s a great hobby — it’s amazing exercise and good fun to be out on the open road. Not to mention environmental! Give a push to a cyclist in need with this gift basket designed to keep their energy up and get them back on the road.

What to Include:

  • A reusable water bottle ($6)
  • Energy bars ($4)
  • A mini hex key set ($5)
  • Total: $15

A quote for the note: “It never gets easier, you just go faster.” – Greg LeMond

The Artist

Creativity blocks are horrible and sometimes you feel like you’ll never crawl out. Inspire some creative juices in your favorite artist and help them “Rembrandt” they’re the best! Encouragement is free, but this gift basket costs less than $25.

What to Include:

  • A color wheel ($5)
  • A pocket sketchbook ($6)
  • Encouraging handwritten notes/flashcards about overcoming creative block ($0)
  • Total: $11

A quote for the note: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso

The Traveler

For the free-spirited, fill their box with practical lightweight travel necessities (like the LifeStraw, which makes all drinking water safe) and memories for the journey. There are tons of cool travel aids and gadgets on the market — but, don’t forget the personal touches often mean much, much more. It’s a bigger investment, but instead of a basket, you could use a backpack.

What to Include:

A quote for the note: “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkein

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  • Money Ahoy says:

    That first day of school basket looks great. I am going to pass this onto my wife so we can make some for our kids’ teachers next year. This is a great way to start things off on the right foot!

    • William Lipovsky says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      My mom did this for me and whether anyone would admit it, it made the teachers like me more. There were control years where she didn’t do it and those were never as pleasant. I’m sure it had more to do than just gift baskets but they certainly gave me a boost in treatment. Your kids will benefit!