Christmas presents hot cocoa cookie treePhoto by pinkcandy/

Personally selected gift sets are a great way to give a meaningful present without spending hours crafting. And they’re especially handy when the container is part of the gift. You’ll probably find ample baskets to choose from at your local thrift store. But even though the traditional gift basket is a solid choice, who says it has to be a basket? I’ve pictured many different containers to choose from, but don’t let me limit you. You can pack a gift set in anything—rubber rain boots, baseball helmet, paint can, etc. Click here for Part 4. On Monday: For children.

Part 5: Themed gift sets

Anthropologie Monogrammed Mugs

77. Fill a pretty mug, bowl, or dish with a friend’s favorite chocolates or other treats. Wrap in cellophane and tie with holiday ribbon.
Anthropologie monogrammed mugs

78. Fill a basket with bath items—soaps, oils, bubbles, lotions, natural sponge, hand towels, loofah, etc.
Crate and Barrel baskets

79. Create a winter car-safety kit. Fill a plastic crate with a first-aid kit, bottle of water, blanket, pocket knife, flashlight, canned food & can opener, socks, gloves & hat (try a thrift store), jumper cables, ice scraper to keep windows clear, and flares.
Hand-crank LED flashlight, cell phone charger, radio & alarm

Red clear tote bag

80. For someone who is on their feet a lot, gather foot salts, pumice or clay stone, peppermint foot lotion, sleep socks, pedicure toe separators, and a pair of spa slippers. Pack it all in an inexpensive tote bag.
Clear zippered tote bag

81. Give a hardy holiday breakfast. Place a package of specialty pancake mix (or make your own mix), fine maple syrup, and berry preserves in a mixing bowl.
Buttermilk pancake mix recipe

82. Someone taking a trip soon? Make his/her holiday gift a travel kit. Fill a zippered case with travel-size products you know he/she will need (toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, etc.). Clear travel cosmetic bag

Lace shopping totes

83. Give a food basket that will remind the receiver of a favorite place or vacation. Include travel brochures or maps. Pack it all in a shopping basket.
Lace shopping basket
Collapsible market tote

84. Create a custom manicure kit. Include hand cream, cuticle cream, nail clipper, cuticle nipper, emery boards, orange sticks, a pair of cotton nighttime gloves, nail buffer, etc. For a woman, include a bottle or two of nail polish. Pack it all in a dop kit, cosmetic bag, or see-through drawstring toiletries bag. Clear drawstring cosmetic bag

Pink Loves Brown paper suitcases

85. Put together a common cold first-aid kit. Don’t forget socks, mittens, chicken soup (and recipe), Echinacea, vitamin C, Airborne tablets, and lozenges. Pack it all in a pretty paper suitcase.
Paper Source suitcases
Pink Loves Brown suitcases

86. Give away a gourmet dinner kit to the budding chef. Fill a shiny colander with Christmas-tree pasta, herbs, cooking utensils, the recipe for your spaghetti sauce, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, napkins, and other delights to complete the meal. Calypso Basics powder-coated 3-quart colander
Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce

87. For someone under a lot of stress, select one or two aromatic oils or candles noted for their soothing effects and package them with a neck rest pillow and a CD of relaxing music.
CD suggestions: Pianoforte Opus 1: Popular Requests, Pianoforte Opus 2: Classical, Pianoforte Opus 3: Film Music, Pianoforte Opus 4: Love Songs, Pianoforte Opus 5: Broadway, Pianoforte Opus 6: Finale

Portable toolbox

88. Surprise a new apartment dweller with a tool chest filled with the basic necessities for hanging, assembly, measuring, hammering, and the like.

89. Inspired by the famous rock garden at Ryoanji in Kyoto, Japan, mini Zen stone gardens bring a taste of Japan into the home. Package together a shallow wooden box or ceramic tray, a bag of fine sand, a few rocks, and a rake.
Miniature Zen garden rakes

90. For a movie lover, put together a package including a classic Christmas DVD or other favorite movie, gourmet popcorn, box of candy, and bottles of cola. You could also include a gift subscription for an online movie service. A large bowl for popcorn would make a great container for the gift.
Netflix subscription
Blockbuster subscription

Bamboo steamer

91. Turn a bamboo steamer into a well-stocked sewing kit for that friend or relative who is just starting out. Fill it with needles, notions, thread, scissors, tape measure, pins, fabric marking pens, etc. Tie the gift with reusable ribbon.
10-Inch bamboo steamer set

92. Tie candles in bundles with holiday ribbon or stack them in a festive box. Include two coordinating candle holders (try a thrift store) and a lighter or matches. Zippo chrome lighter

93. For the bookworm on your list, buy a used book, and on the inside cover explain why you chose the book for that person. Include a set of bookmarks and a book light. Can’t find a specific book in your local bookstore? Look online. Compare book prices at

Lands' End Canvas Tote

94. For your favorite backyard chef, choose a new set of barbecue tools, an apron, and the crowning glory: a chef’s hat. Pack them in a canvas tote bag.
Land’s End open top canvas tote bag

95. Help fitness buffs add some variety to their workout. Pack a warm-up suit, exercise DVD, hand weights, yoga mat, or health club membership—or all the above—in a duffel bag.
Exercise DVDs at

96. Assemble your own first-aid kit. Gather band-aids, gauze bandages, polysporin ointment, first-aid tape, etc. and pack it all in a white lunch box. Paint a red cross on the outside, if you wish. Provo Craft metal lunch box

Ikea Bladet planting pots

97. Apartment dwellers who love gardening will love a small herb garden that comes with everything. Include mini pots, soil, seeds, mini garden tools, watering can, and garden gloves.
Small indoor watering can

98. Fill a flower pot with packets of flower seeds, gardening tools, and gloves. Include small pots of soil for children or indoor gardeners. Tie on a raffia bow.
Seeds from The Balcony Gardener

99. Give a gift from the East: a bonsai tree, complete with clippers, gloves, and care instructions. How to make an instant bonsai tree

The list continues on Monday with numbers 100 through 119.