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5 warm, fuzzy and festive holiday gift basket ideas

With temperatures dropping and parties hopping this season, what better way to spread warmth and cheer than with a holiday gift basket? Here are five ideas to get your wheels turning and your recipients smiling: 1. Fall Harvest

  • Choose a basket that weaves in the colors of fall, then line it with a plaid dish towel.
  • Place a large, soy candle in the base of the gift basket to use as a platform for some of the other items and to help fill out the basket.
  • Toss in a variety of drinks and snacks, including local coffee, cinnamon tea, limited edition ale and pistachios or other nuts.
  • Top it all off with an added fall touch, like real fall leaves, hay, or a cute little scarecrow.

2. Pot o' Warmth

Use a set-it-and-forget-it slow cooker as the "basket" to help get delicious dinners on their table throughout the busy holiday season, then fill it with the goods like this:

  • A few of your family's favorite tried-and-true recipes, such as slow cooker chili with cornbread and mulled spiced cider
  • Starter ingredients from your recipes, such as dry or canned beans, crushed tomatoes, smoked Tabasco sauce, cornmeal, cinnamon sticks and cloves
  • A ladle
  • Festive pot holders
  • Fun holiday "Freakers" - stylish one size fits all bottle insulators

3. Pampered to Party

You may know someone who's the socialite of the town, hosting great parties all the time. During the holidays, she's probably busier than ever, so why not throw this gift basket together to give her some me-time:

4. Wine-o Wonderland

  • Cranberry Honeywine - a nod to the berry of the season, plus, no sulfites added
  • Corkcicle wine chiller
  • Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener - This neat gadget contains an easy-to-use corkscrew and foil cutter, plus holds a pour spout and wine stopper directly in the handle
  • Remake-It-Wine-Cork-Trivet - this can also be made into a snowflake ornament
  • Metallic Wine Glass Markers - Guests can write their names on their glasses to help keep track of which glass is theirs and help them remember each other's names, especially for different groups of friends who've never met
  • Stemless wine glasses - These are easier to pop into the dishwasher and use less storage space and of course, don't get knocked over as easily
  • Snacks, such as pita chips

5. Green Grinch-less Goodies

  • Shred old magazine pages or newspaper to stuff into the basket and hold items in place
  • Eco-friendly picture frames - Use an old picture frame or cardboard square, then glue on rolled up magazine ads to add colorful decor. Insert your desired picture (a black and white version contrasts well against the colorful border). This is one your kids can help with too.
  • Candy tube - Turn a used paper towel roll or toilet paper roll into a chic candy holder
  • Cookie jar - Decorate a clean pasta jar and add the dry ingredients of a cookie recipe along with the recipe card attached - voila! All the host will need to do is add the wet ingredients and bake - this offers the convenience of boxed cookie mix but with your personal touch.
  • Dog biscuit jar - If they have pets, consider going the extra mile and make homemade treats for them, or include a second mini version of the cookie jar from above that includes the dry ingredients to the dog biscuit recipe and attach a bone-shaped cookie cutter.
  • Make a CD or include an iTunes gift card and a festive, printed playlist with some of these suggestions:
    • "Baby, It's Cold Outside (Mulato Beat Remix)" - Louis Armstrong & Velma Middleton
    • "Frosty The Snowman" - The Ronettes
    • "Home" - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
    • "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (STUHR Remix)" - Kay Starr
    • "Little Bit of Love" - Jack Johnson & John Cruz
    • "Snow Globe" - Matt Wertz
    • "Celebrate" - MIKA & Pharrell Williams
    • "Party Rock Anthem" (originally by LMFAO) - Tyler Ward
    • "New Earth" - Zerbin
    • "Season's Greetings" - Robbers on High Street

Or, if you're stumped for ideas or strapped for time, you can always gain inspiration from gift baskets offered by professional services, such as this one or order a pre-assembled gift basket stuffed with decadent gourmet chocolate apples and treats.

What's your go-to list of items to stuff into a holiday gift basket?

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