If you are looking for the perfect Christmas present for a friend of the family or a relative visiting from out of town, consider creating a gift basket for them filled with local items. No matter where in the country you live, there are things about your local area that make it special. Filling a basket full of items your loved ones can only get when they visit you is a great way to remind them of how much you care. Not to mention if the basket contains something they love, it will encourage them to come back when the holidays roll around next year.
Gift baskets with a local flair can contain regional food and beverage favorites, sports memorabilia and team paraphernalia, bath and body products made with local ingredients, items from locally owned companies and items your recipient would normally only purchase if they were on vacation or visiting for a special occasion. This gives you plenty of options for filling the basket, so in order to not go overboard, you may want to narrow down your basket’s theme even more. Consider only filling it with local food favorites or items kids might like, instead of overflowing the basket with too much stuff.
Where you live plays a major role in how you will assemble your basket. Those living on the East Coast have plenty of options for creating an excellent holiday basket. Most of the areas along the coast are close to great seafood, and while fresh fish may not keep in a basket, you can certainly freeze a few items like crabcakes, conch fritters or New England clam chowder and include it in the basket. Seasonings like Old Bay for seafood are a great option to include with the frozen food items. You can also look for options like Key Lime Pie, Dutch apple dumplings, cheesecake, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler.
Midwesterners have their food favorites too, and a basket that features Midwest favorites might include Danish kringle, summer sausage or bratwurst, cheese curds, fresh cherries and deep dish pizza pie. Beer lovers would love a selection of microbrews from the Midwest in their gift basket or you can choose a bottle of wine from one of the numerous wineries throughout the area. If your loved one moved away from the Midwest and will be spending the majority of the winter in their new location, the hearty comfort foods of their hometown may be just the thing to cheer them up after the holidays.
While you are not going to want to mix food items with most other items, you could incorporate a few non-edible items in your basket. Consider team apparel featuring the logo of a local baseball or football team. Even if your recipient is not a huge fan of the team, it is still nice to wear the colors of a location you have visited. There may be an iconic business in your area that sells logo wear too, so think about what your gift recipient enjoys and determine if something is right for them. This is also a great way to include kids in the present and you can purchase a stuffed animal or other toy representing your local culture.
A final option for creating a holiday gift basket for a visiting loved one, especially if they are dieting or are picky eaters, is to use non-edible items to fill the basket. Many areas have products that are made regionally that may be hard to get elsewhere. Sometimes this is because the ingredients are only available locally. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you can fill a basket with huckleberry lotions and bath soaps, a real treat for those who would normally not have access to this ingredient. Take some time to shop at local boutiques or visit a store mean to celebrate your region for the best Christmas basket ideas with a local flair.