Rapid Gift-Basketry

Gift baskets! They’re great, except that the pre-made ones you order online are overpriced, and you get approximately one chocolate chip per five pounds of packaging. Plus why are they always themed around one flavor? I mean, yes, we all can and will eat an entire basket of chocolate, but wouldn’t you rather give someone a variety of goodies precisely calibrated to their personal tastes?

What you may not have realized is that you can make your own gift basket at any grocery store at any time, including an hour before that holiday party at your neighbor’s house when you’re not sure what to get her because it seems like she already has enough cats and Bibles.

Here’s the secret formula for the perfect gift basket: 1 bottle of alcohol (plus mixer if needed), 1 salty snack, 1 sweet snack, 1 healthy snack, and either chips/dip or crackers/cheese. (Paranoid protip: the cheese will be fine outside the refrigerator.) If your gift recipient doesn’t drink, you can swap the booze for coffee or tea. Finish by sprinkling in a few individually wrapped candies.

That’s the gift part — now for the basket part. Some upscale supermarkets will do a gift basket up real nice with cellophane and curly ribbons for a small fee. You could also try to wrap it yourself; see here and here for instructions. And if you’re the kind of person who would end up somehow choking to death on the cellophane, you can always put it in a bag, box, or other non-basket container.

So now you know the ancient magic of an affordable, personalized, homemade gift basket. Please: use it for good, not evil.

Lauren O’Neal is from the Internet and lives in Austin, Texas.