137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas. Part 5: themed gift sets

Presents under a Christmas tree, photo

Personally selected gift sets are a great way to give a meaningful present without spending hours crafting. And they’re especially handy when the container is part of the gift. You’ll probably find ample baskets to choose from at your local thrift store. The traditional gift basket is a solid choice, but who says it has to be a basket? For me, the container is as important as the gift. I’ve suggested many different containers, but don’t let me limit you. You can pack a gift set in anything — rubber rain boots, baseball helmet, paint can, etc. (This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a small commission. You can read my full disclosure here.)

Originally published September 3, 2010. Updated November 30, 2020.

Part 1: Home & garden
Part 2: Christmas-themed
Part 3: From the kitchen
Part 4: Jewelry & accessories
Part 5: Themed gift sets
Part 6: For children
Part 7: Media, service, cards & wrapping

Part 5: Themed gift sets

72. Mug or bowl of sweets

Fill a pretty bowl or mug with a friend’s favorite chocolates, candies, or homemade treats. Wrap it in cellophane or a holiday hand towel and tie with a ribbon. Buy a set and give one each to several friends.
Rae Dunn inspired candy cane mug
Anthropologie monogrammed mugs
16 oz. blue Japanese rice bowls
Multicolored hand-painted coffee mugs
18 oz. multicolored hand-painted bowls

73. Bath spa kit

Fill a basket or box with spa bath items — soaps, oils, bubbles, lotions, natural sponge, hand towels, loofah, candle, matches. And don’t forget the chocolate!
Charming bubble bath gift box
Ikea Risatorp white wire basket with wood handle
Ikea Lustigkurre black bamboo basket
Spa kit with recipes and printables

74. Winter car-safety kit

Fill a backpack or sturdy crate with a first-aid kit, bottles of water, blanket, pocket knife, flashlight, canned food & can opener, socks, gloves & hat, jumper cables, ice scraper, and flares.
Hand-crank solar LED flashlight/mobile phone charger/radio
Multi-function emergency tool
DIY emergency car kit
DIY emergency winter car kit

75. Breakfast in a bowl

Give a hardy holiday breakfast. Place a package of specialty pancake or waffle mix (or make your own), fine maple syrup, and fruit jam or preserves in a batter bowl. A French-toast breakfast works as well.
Pancake breakfast in a batter bowl
Mrs Darlington’s blackberry & apple jam
3-quart melamine batter bowl
2-quart batter bowl with non-skid base
DIY French toast breakfast gift basket

76. Pamper their feet

For someone who is on their feet a lot, gather foot salts, pumice stone, peppermint foot cream, sleep socks, pedicure toe separators, nail polish, and a pair of spa slippers. Pack it all in a clear tote bag.
Sweater-knit memory-foam slippers
Make slippers out of a bath towel and flip-flops
Slippers gift set
Perfect pedicure gift basket
Gift basket of spa essentials

77. Travel kit

Someone taking a trip soon? Make their holiday gift a travel kit. Fill a zippered case with travel-size products you know they will need (toothpaste, floss, shampoo, shaving cream, lotion, comb, disposable razor, lip balm, pill container, cotton swabs, sleep mask, mini first-aid kit, etc.) in a cosmetic case. Tie on a neck pillow.
Clear travel cosmetic bag organizer
Silk sleep mask

78. Tastes from a place

Give a food basket that will remind them of a favorite place or vacation. Perhaps a baguette and Brie de Meaux (France), tamales and Cojita (Mexico), naan and chutney (India), gnocchi and Parmigiano Reggiano (Italy), or churros and Manchego (Spain). Include a travel brochure or map. Pack it all in a market basket or insulated shopping bag.
Collapsible market tote
Insulated zippered grocery bags

79. Manicure set

Create a custom manicure kit. Include hand cream, cuticle cream, nail clipper, cuticle nipper, emery boards, orange sticks, a pair of cotton nighttime gloves, nail buffer, etc. For women, include a bottle of nail polish. Pack it all in a dopp kit or cosmetic bag.
Drawstring bucket cosmetic bag
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
Cotton sleep gloves
DIY manicure gift basket

80. Common cold first-aid kit

Most of us get a cold sooner or later. Don’t forget fuzzy socks, chicken soup (frozen or canned in a mason jar), facial tissue packets, echinacea, vitamin C, herbal tea, cough drops, honey, lemon — or any other cold remedy you swear by. Throw in a cute face mask and hand sanitizer just in case. Pack it all in a galvanized tub.
Winter cold survival kit
Roasted chicken soup by The Wooden Skillet
Chicken noodle soup by Tastemade (with video)

81. Just add ice cream

Make a DIY ice cream sundae box with ice cream cones, waffle bowls, or paper cups, disposable spoons, ice cream scoop, nuts, fudge, caramel, candies, and other toppings.
Ice cream sundae gift basket
Ice cream sundae in a box
Christmas sundaes
DIY ice cream sundae kit

82. Pasta night

A fun Italian dinner kit for a budding chef or a date night kit for a couple. Fill a shiny colander with pasta, herbs, cooking utensils, the recipe for your spaghetti sauce, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, and other ingredients to complete the meal.
Calypso Basics powder-coated colander
The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Christmas tree pasta
Quick and easy dinner kit

83. Stress reliever

For someone under a lot of stress, package an aromatherapy candle, a wooden massager, a lavender eye pillow, and a CD of relaxing music in a canvas storage bin. For the music, I suggest one of these Pianoforte compilations: Opus 1: Popular Requests or Opus 2: Classical or Opus 3: Film Music or Opus 4: Love Songs or Opus 5: Broadway or Opus 6: Finale.
Relaxation gift set for mom

84. Movie night

For a movie lover, put together a package including a classic Christmas movie, popcorn, boxed candy, and bottled soda. A large bowl for popcorn would make a great container for the gift.
Blue melamine garbage bowl
Ikea Blanda Matt bamboo serving bowl
Rachael Ray melamine garbage bowl
Movie night neighbor gift with Redbox promo code
DIY family movie night gift basket with printable movie tickets

85. Sewing or craft kit

Turn a tackle box into a well-stocked sewing kit for that friend or relative who is just starting out. Fill it with needles, notions, thread, scissors, tape measure, pins, fabric marking pens, etc.
30-color sewing thread kit
Top-rated sewing scissors
Three-tier fishing tackle box
DIY sewing box organizer
Tackle box craft kit

86. Add romance to the table

Tie taper candles in a bundle with ribbon and place them in a reusable box. Include two or three candlesticks, a lighter (or strike-anywhere matches inside a small glass jar), and a candle snuffer.
Rechargeable electric lighter
Candle snuffer, trimmer, and dipper set
Dripless, smokeless, hand-dipped taper candles
Unfinished wooden candlesticks

87. Cookie or cupcake kit

Make a holiday cookie decorating kit — complete with sugar cookies (or dry mix or pre-made dough), sprinkles, cookie cutters, and frosting bags. Or opt for a cupcake decorating kit with cupcake liners, cake mix, frosting bags, cupcake pan, and sprinkles.
Holiday cookie decorating box
Christmas cookie kit
Holiday cupcake baking kit

88. Hot chocolate kit

Fill a wooden crate with supplies to make hot cocoa — including hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, candy canes, ceramic mugs (try a thrift store) or paper cups with sleeves, chocolate syrup, and stir sticks.
Perfect hot cocoa gift basket
Peppermint stick cocoa in a jar (see #52)
Isabela’s DIY leather coffee sleeves

89. For the commuter or new car owner

Assemble a fun car kit for someone who spends a lot of time driving. Include things like snacks, insulated hot/cold bottle with a built-in straw that fits in a cup holder, and a gift card for tunes or audio books all packed in a garbage bin for your car. For a new car owner, include a sponge, car wax, drying shammies, a duster, and car air fresheners all packed in a car washing bucket.
Ultimate commuter gift basket
DIY car care gift basket

90. Gift wrap caddy

For someone who loves wrapping gifts for any occasion, assemble all the fun gift-wrapping supplies you can find. Include baker’s twine, ribbon, wrapping paper, tissue paper, small gift boxes, cellophane tape, gift tags, etc.
Gift wrap caddy
Big Lots gift wrap basket
Gift wrap cutter

91. For the tea lover

Assemble a gift basket of a tea lover’s dreams. Include a sampling of various herbal loose-leaf teas, plus a tea infuser, a jar of honey, honey spoons, and a mug or teacup.
Herbal tea sampler
Tea lover gift box
Honey spoons
Tea infuser

92. For the bookworm

Buy a used book, and on the inside cover explain why you chose the book for that person. Check DealOz for the best book prices. For those who prefer to read on a digital device, get them an Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble gift card instead. Include a set of bookmarks and a book light, and pack it all in a book bag.
DIY “My weekend is all booked” tote
Funny book-lover socks
Personal library kit

93. Grill gift set

For your favorite backyard chef, choose a new set of barbecue tools, an apron, barbecue sauce, spices, bamboo skewers — and the crowning glory: a chef’s hat. Pack it all in a grill basket.
Grilling gift caddy
Two Snooty Chefs gourmet spice blends
Cross-back denim bib apron

94. For the gardener

Apartment dwellers who love gardening will love a small herb or succulent garden that comes with everything. Include mini pots, soil, seed packets or small plants, mini garden tools, and plant mister or watering can. Or for a gardener with a plot of land to call their own, fill a large flower pot with packets of seeds, peat pots, gardening tools, and garden gloves.
DIY succulent gift box
Gardener’s gift basket

Crafty Nest 137 inexpensive handmade holiday gift ideas, part 5, Pinterest image

Share this story

Reader Gallery

Made this project? Email your photo(s) to monica (at) craftynest (dot) com, and I'll share your version here!