You can buy ready made gift baskets all over the place – many retailers 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 $25 or under. These themed gift basket ideas have useful contents, as well as a note – nothing says it better than words! Read on for some of the best themed basket ideas anywhere:

Gift Basket Theme Ideas for Teachers


1. First Day of School:

Good gift basket theme ideas make a good impression. Get your child in the good graces of their teacher with these gift basket theme ideas. It’s a hard day for everyone, but, like they say, the first one’s always the hardest.

What to Include:

  • Use a reusable tote for the basket ($5)
  • An apple ($0.50)
  • Energy bars ($4)
  • Stress-relieving lotion ($8)
  • Total: $17.50

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

2. Last Day of School:

The school gift basket theme ideas can keep rolling throughout the year. Time to thank the teachers once again.

What to Include:

  • Sweet treats ($3)
  • Relaxing scented candle ($5)
  • A wellness / spa gift voucher ($10)
  • A personalized teacher stamp ($7)
  • Total: $25

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

House Warming Baskets


2. The Starting-From-Scratch-er:

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

What to Include:

  • Kitchen utensils (spatula, ladle, wooden spoons, food turners) ($10)
  • Salt, pepper, herbs and spices ($3)
  • Batteries, Scotch tape, WD40 ($5)
  • Light bulbs ($6)
  • A picture hanging kit ($3)
  • Total: $25

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

3. The DIY-er:

Thinking of gift basket theme ideas 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:

  • Basic tools (screwdrivers, spanners, hex keys) ($8)
  • Nails, screws, nuts and bolts ($4)
  • A hammer ($7)
  • Extension cords ($6)
  • Total: $25

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

4. 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 round basket which gives them a chance to take the stress off? An anti-stress basket is always a hit if you’re trying to think of themed gift basket ideas for someone in any type of situation. Remember, good gift basket theme ideas are about getting what the person wants. If they are downgrading, don’t buy them unnecessary stuff.

What to Include:

  • Interior decorating magazines ($3)
  • Specialty tea / coffee ($3)
  • A potted plant ($4)
  • This personalized home coordinates pillow (or similar!) ($14)
  • Total: $24

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

Get Well Soon Themed Basket Ideas


5. Up and at Them:

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. For these gift basket theme ideas, just think of what you would want if you were sick.

What to Include:

  • Lots of fresh fruit ($5)
  • Relaxing bath bubbles ($4)
  • A Netflix voucher ($10)
  • Paracetamol / Ibuprofen / other appropriate medicines ($2)
  • Total: $21

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

Themed Gift Basket Ideas for College Freshman


6. The Athlete:

Know someone heading off to college soon? Maybe they’re on a sports scholarship, or just looking forward to getting their exercise on? Help them settle in and enjoy their passion with this gift basket idea.

What to Include:

  • Energy / power bars ($5)
  • This personalized sports team water bottle ($10)
  • Massaging muscle rub serum ($5)
  • An iTunes voucher to download some motivational workout music with ($5)
  • Total: $25

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

7. 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 with these gift basket theme ideas.

What to Include:

  • A Barnes & Noble gift card ($5)
  • This initialed leather card holder for their library card (and gift card) ($12)
  • A bookmark. They might need a few of these! ($1)
  • Beautiful stationary for their own works of words ($7)
  • Total: $25

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.

8. The Homesick:

There’s nothing worse than feeling homesick. Going off to college is a big step. If you know someone worried about flying the nest, make them up a care package gift basket to remind them that they might be moving out, but they’ll never be far from home. For this gift basket theme idea, think about what they enjoy about home.

What to Include:

  • Recipe cards for your mom’s best dishes ($0)
  • This personalized home state print ($14)
  • Skype credit ($10)
  • Tonnes of photos and mementos ($0)
  • Total: $24

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

Holiday Gift Basket Ideas


9. 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. Themed 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 ($5)
  • These fun love coupons ($7)
  • Total: $23

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

10. Easter:

Ah, Easter. What a perfect time to talk about gift basket theme ideas. So many family members, so little time. Keep everyone happy with a family-based Easter gift basket, containing something for everyone. Easter is a great time for DIY projects, and making them can be just as fun as giving them!

What to Include:

  • Homemade hot cross buns ($2)
  • Painted eggs (carefully wrapped!) ($2)
  • Create some bunny ear bags filled with sweet treats ($2)
  • Funky egg cups ($8)
  • Total: $14

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

11. Christmas:

Tis season of giving, so spread the message of cheer and goodwill far and wide with a thoughtful gift box 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 festive gifts or baking some sweet treats with these Christmas themed gift basket ideas.

What to Include:

  • Home baked mince pies and hand brewed mulled wine ($2)
  • A unique Christmas tree topper – buy, or DIY your own ($8)
  • Homemade advent calendars with personalized doors ($5)
  • Consider a charitable donation in the name of your recipient ($10)
  • Total: $25

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

Family Baskets


12. 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? Themed gift basket ideas in this category including things beneficial to both the baby and the parents!

What to Include:

  • Baby wipes, lotions and formula / food ($8)
  • A photo album ($7)
  • A DIY milestone card for first smiles, steps and words ($0)
  • A personalized print with baby’s details ($9)
  • Total: $24

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

13. Engagement / Wedding Gift Basket Ideas:

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. Gift basket theme ideas in this category should feel like pre-wedding gifts.

What to Include:

  • Customized initials wax seal for thank you cards ($9)
  • A guest book ($10)
  • Disposable cameras ($5)
  • Lots of confetti ($1)
  • Total: $25

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

14. Retirement Themed Gift Basket:

Themed gift basket ideas are appropriate for all ages.

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:

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

15. 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

16. New Pet Gift Baskets:

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 new pet themed gift basket.

What to Include:

  • Treats! ($3)
  • A collar / leash ($6)
  • A K9 H2O bottle – specially designed for the way dogs drink ($14)
  • Total: $23

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

Congrats Baskets


17. New Job Themed Gift Baskets:

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

What to Include:

  • A super professional business card holder ($8)
  • Pens and notebooks ($3)
  • Their own office mug ($5)
  • An individual lanyard for ID badges ($4)
  • Total: $20

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

18. 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 themed gift basket idea, 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 keying to avoid lost keys ($3)
  • Local maps, a life saver 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)

19. Graduation:

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 to their college colors!

What to Include:

  • A fountain pen ($12)
  • A wise owl charm ($1.25)
  • Lots of photos of their friends and college life
  • The first page of their thesis, framed ($10)
  • Total: $24.25

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

20. 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 hand baked cupcakes – 21, if you’re feeling up to the challenge!
  • One 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’ Themed Gift Basket Ideas


21. The Gardener:

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. 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! Gift basket theme ideas for gardeners can also take into account them using the basket to collect their produce at harvest.

What to Include:

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

22. 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:

  • This dachshund cookie cutter ($2)
  • A cook book stand ($10)
  • Recipe cards ($5)
  • Cute patterned cupcake cases ($3)
  • Total: $20

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

23. Gift Basket Theme Ideas for: The Cyclist:

Thinking of gift basket theme ideas for a cyclist is easy! 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:

  • An “I love my bike” bell ($8)
  • A reusable water bottle ($6)
  • Energy bars ($4)
  • A mini hex key set ($5)
  • Total: $23

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

24. 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. Themed gift basket ideas can be really popular in the art crowd.

What to Include:

  • A color wheel ($5)
  • This watercolor set phone case ($10)
  • A pocket sketchbook ($6)
  • Encouraging handwritten notes / flashcards about overcoming creative block ($0)
  • Total: $21

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

25. Gift Basket Theme Ideas for 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 tonnes 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. Gift basket theme ideas for travelers should be full of practical things.

What to Include:

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

The trick to thinking of good gift basket theme ideas is to think of it from the perspective of the recipient. Think about their hobbies and interests. Themed gift basket ideas will then come naturally (that is, if you need more themed basket ideas than are on our list). Think about not only what would be useful to receive, but what would put a smile on their face. Enjoy the gift of giving.