Sunshine baskets are cheerful baskets filled with bright, usually yellow flowers and often an assortment of fun and tasty treats. They make great get-well presents and thank-you gifts. A sunshine basket is also a great birthday gift for a special friend or a housewarming present for a new neighbor. But you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to send one.
Tropical fruits are perfect for a sunshine basket since the fruits seem filled with bright tropical sunshine. As Lorraine Bodger suggests in “1,500 Great Gift Ideas,” fill a sunshine basket with fruits like oranges, tangerines, limes, dried pineapple, kumquats and any other fruits your friend likes.
No sunshine basket would be complete without an array of beautiful, bright flowers. Add a lush bouquet of yellow roses, daisies, lilies, sunflowers or your friend’s favorite flowers. Choose a variety so it looks like you just picked them from a meadow or garden. If your friend likes herbs, mix in some favorite sprigs with the flowers.
Most people appreciate gifts of sweets, or you can choose to make healthier versions if your friend would prefer. Buy or make “lollipop cookies,” which are cookies baked onto wooden sticks to look like lollipops, to add a fun flair. Hide chocolates or other candies beneath the flowers.
Choose an assortment of teas to tuck beneath the flowers if your friend enjoys tea. Include a small, pretty teapot and a variety of loose-leaf teas, labeling them clearly. And include small extras, like honey and jam.
Tuck a CD into the basket, choosing something your friend probably hasn’t heard but would enjoy—possibly something cheerful and upbeat or peaceful and relaxing.
Scented soaps are a great addition to a sunshine basket as well, especially if they’re made with natural ingredients. If you’re not sure what scents to choose, pick scents that remind you of the season, like lavender if it’s summertime.
Stuffed animals have the ability to make anyone smile. Tuck a few into the flowers and your friend will enjoy the surprise.
Creating a theme based on a friend's interests gives the basket a personal touch, as the Make Stuff website says. If a friend just adopted a new puppy, for instance, create a basket with a leash, doggy treats, toys and other goodies your friend and the puppy will enjoy. If your friend likes to do a certain kind of craft, like needlepoint or crocheting, include materials for a new project, like her favorite kind of yarn in a nice color.
- "1,500 Great Gift Ideas"; Lorraine Bodger; 2003
- Make Stuff: Customized Gift Baskets
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.