08 January 2019

All About Gift Baskets

All About Gift Baskets

When you’re giving a holiday present, you can never go wrong with a gift basket. After all, everyone eats and drinks! Meal gift baskets containing mixes, ingredients and cooking utensils are a particularly thoughtful remembrance for friends and family members who enjoy spending time in the kitchen. They also have the advantage that their contents won’t spoil if they’re not used after a few weeks.

Where Did the Idea of Gift Baskets Come From?

In Greek and Roman myths, the cornucopia was envisioned as a goat’s horn that was filled with the bounties of the harvest season. The cornucopia had magical properties for as soon as it was emptied, it was instantly filled again. In many ways, the cornucopia can be thought of as the first gift basket.

The Teutonic goddess Eostre—from whose name the word “Easter” is derived—was always pictured with a basket in hand. Eostre was the goddess of fertility, and she carried fruits and flowers in her basket, which she would give away to all who crossed her path. To this day, the holiday that’s named for her is celebrated with baskets filled with fruit- and flower-colored candies.

What Are Common Gift Basket Items?

These days, you can put anything into a gift basket from Bloody Mary mixes to gluten-free snacks. Your gift basket does not have to contain food items either, although most of them do. Here are some items that are commonly found in gift baskets:

• Fruits: Hardy fruits like apples, pears and oranges with a relatively long shelf life are the big favorites here, although increasingly, merchants are working with exotic fruits such as papayas, kiwis and passion fruit.

• Canned foods: Jams and marmalades are big favorites as are nuts, and tins of coffee and tea.

• Candy: Hard candies such as toffee, nut brittles and fruit drops are very popular in gift baskets. Chocolate can be a bit problematic because it melts so easily in transit.

• Alcohol: Practically every type of alcoholic beverage you can imagine from tequila to champagne can be found in a gift basket.

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