Make Your Own Holiday Gift Baskets - For Less

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Who doesn't like getting a gift basket filled to the brim with goodies and presents? As soon as the holiday season rolls around (every year it seems to arrive earlier and earlier), retailers bring out gift baskets aimed at friends, families, and colleagues. I love giving spa and chocolate gift baskets to my girlfriends, but I don't so much like paying such a premium for store-bought baskets. Fortunately, with a little bit of time and creativity, I can put together great gift basket for a fraction of the cost.

Here are three types of gift baskets that I like to make:

Before you start:

What to get: basket, boxes, cellophane, wrapping paper, fake flowers, ribbons.

Where to get it: For baskets and boxes, I head to my local thrift store -- Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. There I can find quality woven goods for just a few dollars each. Cellophane, wrapping paper and ribbons can be found for less than a dollar at 99-cent stores. Fake flowers from the discount bin at Michael's work beautifully as decoration or in lieu of bows on gift baskets.

How to Make a Spa Basket:

What to get: Scented candles, bubble bath or shower gel, aromatherapy oils, soft face towels.

Where to get it: I like to visit off-price retailers such as Nordstrom Rack, Loehmann's or TJ Maxx and check out their beauty and home goods aisle. I have purchased $40 soy fragrance candles for $10 and have scored bottles of unopened Philosophy or Lancome lotions for 60% off the regular price. Also, check out Bath and Bodyworks for their frequent 2-for-1 sales.

How to Make a Chocolate Basket

What to get: assortment of dark, milk, and white chocolate bars, hot cocoa mix, miniature marshmellows, sample bottle of Godiva's chocolate liquor.

Where to get it: Trader Joe's, Target or BevMo (for the liquor). Trader Joe's offers premium chocolate bars for $2 to $3 per bar. Add in a few cans of chai tea mix or hot cocoa mix ($3 to $5 each), and maybe a box of chocolate caramels ($4), and the entire basket still comes in under $15. A small bottle of liquor costs $3-$5, and will add just the right amount of zing to an (adult) hot chocolate beverage.

How to Make a Movie Basket

What to get: 1-2 pair of movie tickets, package of microwavable popcorn, box of Twizzlers or candy

Where to get it: Costco for the movie tickets, Costco or Target for everything else. At Costco, you can find a pair of unrestricted tickets to two of the country's largest movie chains: Regal Entertainment theaters or AMC theaters for just $16. At $8 per ticket, Costco's price is $2 to $5 cheaper than buying your tickets at the movie theater.

For more gift basket and homemade gift ideas, please check out the links below:

 

Savvy Living Through Personal Finance | @WellHeeledBlog

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