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How to Make a Virtual Thanksgiving Gift Basket

In my post about how to create your best virtual Thanksgiving, I suggested you bring your video celebration into the real world by creating a gift you either sent before or after. In this post, I’m going to give you specific ideas for creating your Virtual Thanksgiving gift basket!

How to Make a Virtual Thanksgiving Gift Basket

Gift baskets in general make excellent gifts. But this one will be extra-special because it will be used to bring your family together over the annual Thanksgiving feast. It is not hard to do, but it will mean so much. So let’s get started unleashing our Kitchen Creativity!

Step 1: Choose Your Virtual Thanksgiving Gift Basket Theme

Yes, the overarching theme is Thanksgiving, but you need to drill down a little further. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the intent of the gift basket?
    Do you want it to be used to help the receiver prepare for the virtual Thanksgiving?
    Or will it be something to help preserve the memories?

What you’ll include in a prepare-for-the-event gift will be quite different than one that helps them remember the event for years to come.

Step 2: Select a Container

How will you package this gift? You have several options:

  • A basket. To make it easier to ship, I recommend a rectangular or square one that can fit into a box.
  • A box. You can get cool-looking boxes at places like Micheal’s or hobby stores. The box could be decorated with an autumnal theme, or simply be brown or orange.
  • A cooking container. If there is a particular type of pan your receiver will need, why not send it along? Are you sending a turkey recipe? Use a roasting pan (it can be an inexpensive one-use pan). What about a pie tin for that pumpkin pie recipe.

Sometimes, a better container than a traditional basket is one that doubles as a bonus gift for your virtual Thanksgiving gift basket. You can use anything from a basket to a bucket to a bag and even more types of items.

Generally, when choosing the container, you want to think about the types of items included in the gift basket, what the theme is, and what other gifts the recipient might like.

Step 3: Decide what will go int your Virtual Thanksgiving Gift Basket

This where you can really unleash your Kitchen Creativity. To get you started, here are some ideas:

Treasured Recipe Gift Basket

In this gift, you’ll include all the non-perishable items they’ll need to make a treasured Thanksgiving recipe. For example, let’s say you’re sending the recipe for Johnny Appleseed Pie. You could include any or all of these items:

  • A small jar with the sugar and cinnamon already mixed together
  • A bag of semisweet chocolate morsels
  • Another jar with the Bisquick and sugar mixed together
  • A recipe card with the regular recipe on one side, and instruction on how to make it with the pre-mixed items on the other
  • An apple-peeler/corer
  • A pie tin

I would package all of these things with cute labels and perhaps some ribbon.

Thanksgiving Table Decor Gift Basket

This gift helps your recipients all set their Thanksgiving table in a similar way. This can help everyone feel more like they are together around the table as in previous years. You could include any or all of these items:

  • Napkins
  • Placemats
  • Cups
  • Centerpiece
  • Plastic cuttlery
  • Paper dinner plates
  • Paper dessert plates
  • Fake autumn leaves

All of these would have the same decoration or color theme. You can find all this stuff at a dollar store, party store, or perhaps a hobby shop. The key is that you and your recipients all have the same items. So if you get plates decorated with a turkey, then make sure everyone has the same decorated plates.

Family Recipes Gift Box

Gather all the family recipes used for Thanksgiving and create a cook booklet. It can be several pages of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper stapled in the corner or something with a little more design. You can even use colored paper to give it pizzazz. Then add some or all of these items to make it extra special:

  • Wooden spoons
  • A pie tin
  • Measuring spoons
  • A printed out collage of pictures from Thanksgivings past
  • A thumbdrive or link to an unlisted YouTube video of you introducing them to the box or sharing special memories

Thanksgiving for the Memories Gift Box

This virtual Thanksgiving gift basket is sent after the event has taken place and can make a great Christmas present.

  1. Buy enough thumbdrives for each household participating in the virtual Thanksgiving
  2. Then, record the event and, periodically, take screen shots during your virtual Thanksgiving.
  3. Pull the pictures together into a folder and download the video
  4. Save the folder and the video onto the thumbdrives
  5. Package the thumbdrives up nicely with a note and mail them out to the participants

You can make this gift extra special by throwing in a few add-ons like:

  • Things related to the conversation. Was a recipe mentioned? Include it. Did you stroll down movie memory lane? Include the DVD.
  • Frames, either empty or with pictures from the virtual Thanksgiving already in them
  • Earbud for everyone in the household
  • An engraved ornament or paperweight saying, “Our First Virtual Thanksgiving 2020”

Step 4: Purchase Everything You’ll Need

Now that you have your ideas. Create your shopping list and start collecting what you need to pull this all together. In addition to the items you listed in Step 3, you’ll also need some filling material and perhaps some ribbon. Places you can find your items at a reasonable cost include:

  • Dollar stores
  • Wal-Mart or Target
  • Your grocery store
  • Party stores
  • Hobby and crafts stores
  • Amazon.com

Step 5: Arrange the Virtual Thanksgiving Gift Baskets

This can be one of the intimidating parts of the gift basket making process, but remember there is no right or wrong way to do it. If you are using a bag or anything that closes, then you really don’t need to do anything but put the items inside. Try to put the larger items on the bottom so that when opening it, the recipient sees all of the products easily.

When you are using a basket or an open container like a cooking pot or plastic bucket, these tips will help:

  • Start with the tallest items first.
    With a basket, you want to be able to see everything that is included, which means you don’t want to simply throw everything in and then wrap it up. Put the taller and bigger items in the back, so that when you add the rest of the items, those taller items can still be seen.
  • Do your best to make sure every item can be seen.
    Arranging a gift basket or box sometimes means trying a few times until you get it right. You can move things around as needed until everything can be seen when someone receives the gift.
  • Line the bottom of the basket with towels and other similar items.
    When you are giving something like a towel or small blanket as part of the gift, use that to line the bottom of the basket. This keeps it out of the way, but it can still be seen.

Step 6: Add Filler to the Basket

This is the easy part because all you are doing is choosing some type of material to act as filler in your basket. The filler is sometimes added to the bottom of the basket, but this is optional. What you are doing with the filler material is filing in any empty spaces so the basket looks full and the items remain in their intended position. Most people will use some type of shred, whether you get packaged shredded tissue paper or shred it yourself. You can even cut up shred with wrapping paper that matches the gift basket. Just fill the little holes around items with the filler.

Step 7: Decorate and Wrap the Virtual Thanksgiving Gift Basket

If you are going to wrap the basket, box, or whatever container you used in gift cellophane or wrapping paper, so so now. Then place your carefully crafted gift into a box big enough to hold it for shipping. Add packing material to protect it during shipping, tape it up, put the address on, and ship it out!

There, you’ve created something that will help bring your family together this Thanksgiving season.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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