As a young girl I had dreams of running a bed & breakfast. I dreamed up cozy little guest rooms stocked with every imaginable comfort for visitors. I decorated them in my mind with fluffy comforters, fine linens and piles of books on bedside tables. I am a detail girl so no effort was too small.
As the likelihood of running a B&B became less of a reality, I still was intrigued with ways of showing care and friendship in the details of hospitality. Sometimes hospitality is hosting overnight guests or having neighbors over for dinner, sometimes it is having a friend over for coffee. But one fun way to show love or meet needs any time is to create a friendship basket. A gift in a basket is a simple but creative gesture that overflows with thoughtfulness.
As with most things in life, hospitality means more when you put care into the process. While these baskets are easy to put together, they show that you took time to consider your recipient and what would bring a smile to their face.
To get started, keep your eye out for baskets at garage sales. Find nice sturdy ones with handles. If you pick up some mismatched cloth napkins, old linens and tablecloths you’ll have a great assortment of coverings for your baskets. Whether you shop garage sales or discount stores, look for china teacups, plates, candleholders, paperback books, stationery items, vases and other fun things that could become part of your friendship baskets. While you can find generic items that would work for most people, you can also gather up gifts with specific friends in mind. Vintage aprons for a cook, favorite childhood toys for your sister, books your neighbor would love… In time, you’ll have a stash of things on hand ready and waiting to bless someone else at a moments notice.
Here are some ideas I’ve gathered to inspire different types of friendship baskets and a few suggestions to get you started on filling them:
- Teatime basket (tea bags, cup and saucer, pretty napkins, scone mix, apron)
- Rainy day basket for kids (clay, paints, assorted craft items, craft book)
- New mom basket: (bubble bath, hand lotion, fluffy slippers, magazine)
- Out of town guest basket (maps, postcards with stamps, travel mugs and coupons)
- New neighbor basket (neighborhood directory, coupon to local coffee shop or bakery, flowers)
- Birthday basket (fill with recipients favorite things, coffee, books, music, scents)
- Teacher basket (art supplies, stickers, markers, craft paper)
- Romance basket (candles, chocolate, vase, flowers, music CD of special songs)
- Family fun night basket (popcorn, board games, favorite candy)
- Gardening basket (garden gloves, seed packets, shovel, watering can)
- Get well soon basket (paper back books, herbal tea, classic movies)
- Fun in the sun basket (Frisbee, beach towel, sunscreen, flip flops, sunglasses)
The ideas are endless! These are really fun to give and special to receive. If you like to bake, you can add a plate of homemade goodies to any of these baskets. All baskets can be personalized for each individual’s tastes and needs. Attach a homemade card with a ribbon and drop your friendship basket off to someone special. You’ll brighten their day!
“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17
©2008, Melissa Michaels
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