There’s No Cellophane in the Best Gift Baskets, Just Fancy Candles and Chic Barware
Go on, gift yourself one.
Updated Oct 6, 2021 5:23 PM
Selecting a gift basket is like putting together the perfect meal: Lots of smaller, distinct items blend to create a balanced, thoughtful whole that’s more exciting than the sum of its parts. In fact we see it as a kind of two-for-one. There are, of course, the goodies that come in the box or basket, but often the container itself can provide stylish storage after the original contents are long gone. If you’re on the prowl for the perfect present—whether it’s a cocktail kit to celebrate a housewarming or a postpartum bundle that contains seriously useful essentials—look no further than our curated picks for the best gift baskets.
- Best for well-deserved R&R: Simone LeBlanc Relax and Renew Gift Basket
- Best pantry goods: Foxtrot Nilou’s Must Haves Gift Box
- Best ready-to-eat meal: Bella Cucina Italian Antipasti Gift Set
- Best housewarming: Rare Assembly A Rare Libation Cocktail Kit
- Best for coffee lovers: Palisades Canyon The Coffee Break Gift Set
- Best for baby’s arrival: Box Fox New Family Box
- Best for new parents: Postpartum Recovery Bundle
- Best for families: Knack Gaming the System Gift Box
- Best for hosts: Twilight of the Dawn Gift Box
- Best build-your-own: Peach Box Co. Personalized Peachbox
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Delivery and presentation: “The packaging of the gift is the first impression showing your thoughtfulness,” explains Katherine Moffett, a New York–based artist and packaging designer. “It’s so important!” That can range from disposable containers like an efficient kraft-tab lock box with an elegant shipping label to reusable packaging such as a wood box or traditional woven basket. Keep one thing in mind, however: “No matter how pretty the basket is, if it’s full of items that won’t spark joy in the receiver, it’s almost pointless,” says Noemie Sérieux, lifestyle guru and founder of Cottagecore Black Folks. Bottom line: While presentation is definitely a key concern, it shouldn’t overshadow the items themselves.
Occasion: The beauty of gift baskets is their flexibility. You can curate them to be appropriate for a range of occasions and people. From colleagues to extended family, everyone can appreciate a nice gift, says Moffett. Think beyond just the typical holidays or life events. You can also see them as a way to say thank you to a client after a project to express gratitude for their trust and business, says wellness design consultant and author Jamie Gold.
Pricing: As with many gifts, pricing can range widely. Expect to pay somewhere between $50 to $200 for most gift baskets, depending on the contents, packaging, and size, which can impact shipping costs as well. But as Los Angeles–based interior designer Mark Cutler says, “Price should not necessarily be a driver; it is about the appropriateness of the message.” In other words, it’s the thought that counts—not the cost!
Our Top Picks
Best Well-Deserved R&R: Simone LeBlanc Relax and Renew Gift Basket
Self-care can come in many forms, and the range of gift boxes and baskets from women-founded gifting studio Simone LeBlanc addresses this with options that cater to all the senses, from taste to smell to touch. You’ll find boxes for tea lovers, massage enthusiasts, plant parents, and candle collectors, all in a range of muted tones that are just as easy and relaxing on the eyes as they are on the mind and body. We love this Relax and Renew option, which includes everything you need for some cozy me time.
Best Pantry Goods: Foxtrot Nilou’s Must Haves Gift Box
Snacking is basically a national pastime, so you can never really go wrong with a gift basket full of tasty treats. Foxtrot makes it easy to find the ideal savory or sweet gift with several city-based baskets (perfect for someone who recently moved or is missing their hometown), products featuring female-run businesses, and flavor-specific boxes (think: chocolate, gummy candies, or coffee). The contents of its boxes are sourced from small businesses, local makers, and culinary experts for a personalized touch. Thanks to this box, you can pack your (or your friend’s) pantry with food and travel influencer Nilou Motamed’s good-looking picks.
Best Ready-to-Eat Meal: Bella Cucina Italian Antipasti Basket Gift Set
Tucked into this farmers’ market basket is everything you need for the perfect antipasti spread, quite literally: three spreads (artichoke-lemon pesto, olive, and lemon cream citrus), three types of crackers, and a knife with an olive-wood handle for easy serving. A jar of roasted sweet peppers rounds out the bounty.
Best Cocktail Kits: Rare Assembly A Rare Libation Cocktail Kit
There are times when substituting ingredients in a recipe can result in a masterpiece, and there are times when it’s really best to not veer off course. Rare Assembly’s cocktail kits make drink making a (stylish) cinch with its high-end ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, and several of the kits come with serving utensils and items like champagne flutes. Each also adds a tasty little nibble to go with your new concoctions.
Best for Coffee Lovers: Palisades Canyon The Coffee Break Gift Set
Coffee lovers will delight in the great design (and taste) of the coffee-centered gift sets from Palisades, which come with certified organic coffee by Canyon Coffee, a mug (or two), and a host of other treats. Depending on the set, accompanying snacks and condiments range from small-batch jams and specialty maple syrups to lemon sugar cookies and cinnamon pecans. The Coffee Break set is Palisades’s best-selling box, perfect for the java enthusiast in your life.
Best for Baby’s Arrival: Box Fox New Family Box
It’s the thoughtful touches that caught our eye in this baby gift box, which incorporates pieces like a kimono-style onesie (super-easy to put on a wiggling baby) and a swaddle in a cute gender-neutral striped pattern. But it’s the little things for mom, like the soothing lavender-scented candle, that really make this something that everyone in the family will appreciate.
Best for New Parents: Postpartum Recovery Bundle
The arrival of a new baby often means the arrival of new parents, and this kit is a thoughtful way to help speed up postpartum recovery. Five pairs of mesh underwear, an ergonomically designed peri bottle, organic pads, and an organic herbal sitz bath are tucked into a reusable zippered bag to provide relief and care for those early days of motherhood.
Best for Families: Knack Gaming the System Gift Box
A little healthy competition never hurt anyone, and this gift set from Knack is perfectly designed for a bit of family fun. Inside you’ll find a jigsaw puzzle, boldly colored playing cards, a robot puzzle, a charades game, and a music trivia game. Caramel-themed snacks encourage a sugar rush for some game-night energy.
Best for Hosts: Twilight of the Dawn Gift Box
It’s not easy being a host, and it’s not easy picking out the perfect gift for one either. This box solves that problem, providing the goods for post-party needs, including items to address dirty dishes (a solid handmade dish soap and pot scrubber), to cover any leftovers (a handy bowl wrap), and to help the host decompress after a long night (a flaxseed-and-dried-lavender–stuffed eye pillow). Rounding out the reusable box is a xerographica air plant for a touch of greenery.
Best Build-Your-Own: Peach Box Co. Personalized Peachbox
Making your own gift basket can seem intimidating, but the curated selection for personalized gift boxes from Peach Box makes it easy—without sacrificing on looks. You choose the size and color of your box; the items (which have a wellness focus, ranging from vegan snacks to face masks) are organized by color on the company’s website so that you can ensure a visually appealing and coordinated gift. While the boxes aren’t reusable, they are biodegradable, and most of the products come from small or women-owned businesses.
Pro Tips for Buying Gift Baskets
- Don’t forget about the card! Just about all gift boxes and baskets come with the option to personalize a card, and that’s the next thing that a recipient looks at after the packaging. It’s an opportunity to express gratitude, send congratulations, and commemorate events—and to let your recipient know who the gift is from (duh).
- Choose quality over quantity. A few beautifully crafted, lovingly packaged items will feel more precious (and will be more appreciated) than a basket chock-full of random items that are haphazardly put together.
- Consider attaching a theme or message to your gift that shows a personal touch. “That sort of attention to detail will make the receiving of your basket feel more personal and thoughtful,” explains Cutler. A basket full of Italian goodies for a friend celebrating the anniversary of their destination wedding in Italy, for example, is attentive and considerate—but not in a creepy way.
The Last Word
Whether you’re looking for a way to say thank you, congratulations, or happy holidays, a gift basket is the way to go. “Think of the gift basket as an experience, not an object,” says Cutler, and that experience begins with the packaging and extends to its contents, their use, and then finally the reuse of the basket or box once the items are gone. Our recommended choices are full of curated items that have been designed to spark joy at different price points—and they don’t scrimp on design and aesthetics either.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews to know that they pass the test IRL.
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