I love gift baskets.
I love receiving them, because the gift goes on for so long as I pick my way through, examining each of the items. But I love giving them as well.
I enjoy deciding on the theme months in advance and picking up items throughout the year that will make the basket special. I enjoy finding the last minute perishable items to add just a little sweetness, and I enjoy watching the recipient as they go through the layers of gifts.
One of the best parts about giving a themed gift basket is that you can’t possibly go completely wrong. With several items to choose from, at least one will hit the spot.
My favorite theme basket this year is for runners. Because of the number of hours I spend inside sports stores throughout the year and the fact that most of the things in the basket are either things I have or things I wish I had, this is probably the easiest basket for me to put together.
The big item for a running gift basket during the winter holiday season is a jacket. This year the choice was easy. After receiving the ViZiPro Epic Run Jacket as part of the kit for the Daily Mile Team, I was completely sold. This jacket is lightweight enough to wear running and the neon color makes me feel safer when running in the dark.
Because I started my basket early, I looked for items while on vacations that would make the basket stand out: a cap and chocolate covered blueberries from Maine, a T-shirt from my trip to North Carolina, a poster from the Boston Marathon, anything that lets the recipients know I have been thinking of them throughout the year.
After these bigger items, I turned to the smaller and less expensive items.
Because runners are becoming more informed about nutrition these days, one of the first trips I made was to REI, and went a little nuts with Clif Bars, GU, PowerBars and Honey Stingers, basically adding one of each flavor to the mix.
Remembering the importance of safety while running, and having heard from several friends how much they enjoyed their Knuckle Lights for night running, I ordered a pair of those. I added a 1BandID for identification, and a pair of Yak Trax for slippery terrain running.
The basket could stand on its own at this point, but no basket is complete without snacks. For this I headed to Trader Joes for trail mix, nuts and of course chocolate. Whether the basket is for runners, knitters, teachers or moms, it is hard to go wrong with chocolate.
I made this basket for my favorite runner, but it could easily be adapted for a triathlete by adding a pair of goggles or a bottle of Swim Spray to get rid of the chlorine smell that follows triathletes around. It can be adapted for cyclists by changing the Knuckle Lights to bicycle lights and trading the jacket for a jersey from a cycling store wherever you vacation. Cyclists love jerseys from far off places.
Though you can take hours creating the perfect basket visually, I have found it is almost more fun to put everything in a huge gift bag, wrapping some things in tissue paper, some in gift wrap and some in smaller gift bags. It really is not about the presentation but about the thought that goes into each and every item that makes this a wonderful gift. I guarantee your favorite runners will be thrilled with their gift basket.