Holiday Gift Ideas for Employees

It’s that time of year again when the lights are strung across the office cubicles and Christmas carols are the background music when customers call. Everyone is buzzing with excitement for the annual holiday party. After a year of hard work, there is no better way to show appreciation than by giving a gift during the holiday season. We understand how stressful it is trying to find great holiday gifts for employees so that is why we’ve created a simple Do’s and Don’ts guide for Christmas gift ideas for employees.

 

The Do’s

1. Capture the spirit of the season

Giving a gift of a gourmet food basket is always appropriate no matter what the occasion! But when it’s the holiday time, you’ll want to look for something that really captures the spirit of the season. At Manhattan Fruitier, we have designed several new gifts with the 2017 holidays in mind. A lovely holiday gift to your employees would be our “Buone Feste da Milano”, pictured below. The focus of this gift is a panettone — a traditional holiday cake in Italy. Our panettone is a moist, rich cake filled with whole Amarena cherries made fresh by Cova Pasticceria, a Milan bakery founded in 1817. We pair this gift with six pieces of seasonal fruit for color and health.

employee gifting dos and donts

Panettone: traditional Italian holiday cake in our Buone Feste da Milano holiday gift

Another great holiday gift idea for employees is cookies! Cookie baking this time of year is a time-honored custom in many kitchens across many cultures. Our set of 31 delicate tea cookies evoke that handmade feeling. With eight different varieties of cookies, it’s like a little tasting menu in a red and silver festive box!

employee gift ideas dos and donts

Tea Cookies in festive red box

We also offer a set of three handmade cookies with the words “Thank You”, “Grazie” and “Merci” hand-piped on the top. It’s a nice and simple way to express your gratitude to your employees, after a year of dedicated work for your company. In the month of December, we top our gifts with a sprig of evergreen — specifically juniper, noble fir and incense cedar — which make each and every gift look like a celebration of the holiday season!

2. Know your recipient

Alcohol is great Christmas gift idea for employees who like wine and spirits. It’s something special and different to accompany a holiday cocktail party or Christmas dinner. However, it behoves you to know whether your employees drink alcohol. If they don’t, then a gift of wine or spirits, no matter how expensive, will be inappropriate and make your employee feel less than acknowledged. This defeats the whole point of the holiday gift in the first place!

Similarly, you want to be careful when considering tickets to sporting events which are a popular gift to give to employees at the holiday time. While many employees might love to see their team play live, others may not follow sports and therefore have little interest. We recommend that if you want to give alcohol or tickets, be sure to choose for individual employees based on their preferences.

3. Cash gifts and gifts of time

While employers may think of a monetary gift as a “cop-out” due to it being impersonal in nature, we have found that it is often what employees want most. Research shows that many employees say that cash in the form of raise or a bonus is one of the best gifts their employer can give them. It is a very tangible way to recognize their work throughout the year. A gift of cash can be one of the best Christmas gift ideas for your employees because it gives them the freedom to purchase something they definitely want.

Aanother thoughtful holiday gift idea for employees is paid time off. Some companies close up shop for the week between Christmas and New Years and this is greatly appreciated by employees who don’t have to use up their vacation time. You might also consider a few extra paid days off during the year that your employees can use at their discretion. Time is as precious and appreciated as cash in hand!

 

The Don’ts 

1. Non-consumable gifts

The first thing to avoid when giving gifts this holiday season is items that can’t be consumed or otherwise used. While an item might be beautiful, if it serves no purpose other than to be admired, it’ll often be placed in a closet or on a shelf and forgotten. These days when people are focused on winnowing their non-consumable or non-functional possessions to things that one “loves to look at” or that “brings one joy”, it doesn’t make sense to give a gift that is just going to add more stuff to your employees home.

2. Company memorabilia

Don’t make the mistake of giving products with the company logo on them as a holiday gift for your employees. No matter how great the company, this often looks as though you’ve gone to the nearest supply closet and raided the items that would ordinarily be sent to customers! Who wants a gift that reminds them of work? It’s totally lame and last minute and that’s not going to make your staff feel appreciated. Take a little time and spend a little money to come up with a thoughtful Christmas gift idea for your employees.

3. Gift cards that miss the mark

Gift cards can be hit or miss as holiday gifts to employees. The first thing you want to avoid is giving a gift that requires the giftee to spend money in order to receive the gift. That’s no gift at all! Moreover, a $50 gift card to a fancy restaurant won’t cover the cost of the entire meal. While you don’t need to calculate in the cost of extras such as alcohol, be sure the amount of your gift card will cover a main course and either appetizer or dessert, at a minimum. Speak to the maitre d’ before you purchase a gift certificate. Another thing to look at when considering a gift card is whether the employee will actually use it. Many of us have a drawer full of gift cards to places we never go to, or to companies we do not shop with. We recommend gift cards to major online distributors such as Amazon. This allows them to pick their own gift and has the best chance of being used and then remembered.

In Conclusion

We hope this go-to guide will help you decide on some great holiday gift ideas for employees. Remember, if it’s thoughtful, even a small gesture can mean so much for the people who support you all the year through. Don’t forget to show them how much you appreciate their hard work for you and your company.

 

Health & Fitness Gift Ideas for Men and Women

Healthy gift giving has never been more popular! As more and more people are embracing healthy living themselves, we are finding more people looking for health and fitness gift baskets to give as presents. Similarly, the thoughtful gift-giver is also more aware of the dietary restrictions and eating choices of their friends and family, and so they search for gifts that include heart healthy foods; foods for special diets such a vegan, gluten free and Mediterranean; and gifts that promote physical fitness.

As the holiday gifting season approaches, we know that you may be starting to think about what health conscious gift options might be available. So we are looking ahead to the winter months (which are really not very far off!) and sharing some health and fitness gift ideas specific to the winter time and appropriate for both the men and women in your life.

Outdoor Winter Activities

We all know that one of the best ways to stay healthy and fit is to engage in physical exercise.  Most runners and bikers tend to head inside during the winter months, and understandably so! Not only is the cold weather a deterrent, but ice and snow can make it a dangerous surface for running shoes and bicycle tires. If you can’t exercise out of doors, it makes for a long, dark, cold winter while you wait for the better weather of spring.

  1. Snowshoeing

Introducing friends and family to some fun outdoor winter activities is a wonderful way to find a healthy gift for men and for women.  Snowshoeing doesn’t take any more skill than walking so it makes a great gift for promoting health and fitness in people who are new to exercise. Walking in the snow (even when wearing snowshoes) does exert more energy than walking on other surfaces and you can get a great work-out.  Giving a gift of snowshoes to already physically fit friends and family can prompt a whole new way to enjoy the out-of-doors in the wintertime and be a fun gift that is also suited to healthy men and healthy women alike.

health fitness gift ideas

We recently re-discovered the joys of snowshoeing and it has brought variety into our exercise routines and really helped us to find the joys of the winter season. Our first snowshoe experience was when we were 25 years old on some trails in the Sierra Nevada’s near Lake Tahoe. It was a glorious warm morning in early Spring with rays of sunshine glistening off the deep snow. After walking for a few hours, we lunched on a boulder that looked into a valley shaped like a bowl. From that vantage point, we made the fateful decision to walk back on the other side of the hill instead of re-tracing our footsteps. The problem was that we couldn’t find the trail and then found that it was getting too late to circle back. So we had to make our way down the steep side of the hill in order to get to the valley more quickly before the sun went down. Somehow we made it to the road in the dark and hitched a ride to our car. It was a hair-raising experience, especially afterward when we realized that we were walking in an avalanche zone!  We didn’t snowshoe again until about 4 years ago when we borrowed snowshoes and trekked around in the New Hampshire woods with friends. It was then that we decided that snowshoeing could be our new favorite winter outdoor activity.

During our first snow shoe excursion to Central Park in Manhattan after the East Coast blizzard of January 2016, we learned the hard way that we also needed to buy some good waterproof pants and jackets to keep us dry: the backs of the snow shoes were kicking up snow behind us as we walked hitting our thighs, butts and lower backs. We were rather soaked through on that first trip but came home happy and exhilarated! Our peak snowshoe experience was in the woods in Litchfield County, CT. We were alone and walking on snow that no one else had walked on. It was meditatively quiet and then it began to snow. Somehow the snow brought an even greater silence to the woods and we felt we were literally in a winter wonderland.

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding

We have lots of friends who look forward to downhill skiing every winter. If you have friends or family who like to ski or snowboard, there are a variety of options you have to promote their healthy lifestyle. Ski gear such as boots, poles, gators, gloves and ski pants can be just the right health and fitness gift idea. Gear for outdoor winter sports can get expensive, so a gift certificate to a ski shop in an amount you can afford can go a long way to help defray some of the cost while still giving a gift of fitness.

If you have a thicker wallet, you might want to consider springing for a weekend at a ski resort, with transportation, breakfast and ski lift tickets included. This gift is perfect for a group: plenty of opportunities to go off on your own and meet up later at the lodge for drinks in front of the fireplace. Ski resorts always offer lessons, to both kiddies and old folk, and can be a safe way to encourage someone to try a new winter sport, or to help hone the skiing skills of someone with experience.  Ski resorts also offer cross-country skiing trails for those of us who have never downhill skied and aren’t especially attracted to heights and speed. Like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing offers a superb aerobic work-out with all the pleasures of being outside in the snow.

  1. Ice Skating

If you live in the temperate zone, you are likely to have frozen bodies of water in the winter time or at least outdoor ice skating rinks. Skating is definitely an acquired skill and does require practice to minimize falls and feel confident moving across a slippery surface on pieces of skinny metal! But like snowshoeing and skiing, ice skating is another fun outdoor winter activity for health and fitness.

Most of us skated at least occasionally as kids: some of us quite seriously. In Canada and the most northern parts of North America, ice hockey is a serious sport and no longer just for boys: there are now many girls on school ice hockey teams.

health gift ideas: ice skating

Venturing onto a skating rink as an adult can be a little daunting. If you want to encourage friends or family to ice skate with you, give them the gift of a day at a rink including skate rental and some lessons. Try to find a rink that is not overcrowded. Sometimes small town rinks are the best. We have a tradition of skating on New Year’s Day in Newport, RI — no tourists, just locals. Even though we aren’t very skilled skaters, the smiles on our faces show that we feel like kids again! Perhaps the best part of ice skating is getting a hot chocolate at the concession stand and watching the other skaters as you warm up and rest your weary ankles.

Indoor Winter Activities

Nothing is nicer than coming in from the cold and warming yourself at a fireplace, or with food and drink. If you are looking for holiday gift basket ideas for healthy men and healthy women, think sustenance: cooking, eating, and drinking.

  1. Cooking and Eating the Mediterranean Way

We tend to want to eat more hearty food in the wintertime. We do expend more energy in the cold as our bodies work to keep us warm. But eating hearty doesn’t have to mean eating un-healthy. The Mediterranean Diet has received unprecedented press in recent years as the best guide for eating healthy. Our Mediterranean Diet gift collection offers a selection of gift basket ideas for health and fitness. You can give a gift of a healthy pantry and fill it with fine artisanal olive oils, vinegars, canned fish, olives and nuts. Or you can send a gift, such as our Santorini healthy gift basket, featuring all of the finest ingredients you need for making an exceptional Mediterranean meal.

healthy gift basket

Our Santorini gift basket is a generous and healthy gift for men or women.

  1. Drinking Natural, Organic, and Bio-Dynamic Wines

As we become more aware of the importance of making healthy life choices, more of us are looking to natural and organic ingredients in the foods we eat, and natural and organic processes in the way our wines are made. A very thoughtful gift for health- and fitness-minded men and women is a gift of natural, organic or bio-dynamic wines. These kinds of wines may be harder to find, but there are some specialty wine stores out there that focus on more natural wines. Natural wines are made with as few additives as possible, but generally have a small amount of sulfites as a preservative, especially the Old World wines. Organic wines may either be sulfite-free or may contain sulfites if they occur naturally, although in much smaller quantities than most wines. Bio-dynamic wines are made from grapes grown in organic soil supplemented with natural additives believed to improve the condition of the soil. These practices produce grapes that reflect the terroir, or the sense of place where the grapes are grown. Planting and reaping schedules can be very strict and may need to align with a particular phase of the moon, for example. Consider a wine gift club: having a new wine to try that arrives at your doorstep monthly or quarterly makes a memorable gift.

If you are a health conscious person, you can find a healthy gift that will make you feel good about supporting the health and fitness of your friends and family. Our healthy gift ideas for winter activities can be appropriate for children or teens (except the wine, of course!), young adults, senior citizens, or a man or a woman! We hope we have made it easy for you. Remember, healthy gifting is always in style!

 

Holiday Corporate Gift Giving Ideas

At Manhattan Fruitier, our customers tell us about the joy their recipients experience when they receive a beautiful and delicious gift basket on their doorsteps. Business people and corporate executives can follow that lead and offer that same joy to their clients – and their employees – as a show of goodwill and appreciation for their efforts and their positive contributions to the company. Knowing your clients and employees well can make building a beautiful gift basket an easy task. We have a few corporate gift ideas that might assist in creating that special joy.

Organic Fruit & Cheese Basket 

What would a beautiful gift basket be without the sweetest combination of organic fruits, savory cheeses, nuts and dried fruit?

Our Organic Cheese Basket is both healthy and delicious!

Our organic cheese basket makes a perfect corporate gift, especially when you are looking for a gift basket that’s more suited to the colder months. When the temperature drops, cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Healthy and elegant are simpatico in this delightful holiday gift basket.

Add Your Corporate Logo to Your Gift

It’s great to have a few small items representing your company on hand that can be added to a gift basket to promote your company. There are many companies online that will engrave your company logo on a small product, whether it be a baseball cap, t-shirt, thumb drive, mug, pen, frame, can koozie, wristband, or water bottle. Save this corporate gift idea for when you have a bunch of gifts you are sending to launch a new product.

For something a little different in that vein, a couple fun items that can be branded with a logo are cupcakes and cookies with photo transfers of your brand. Chocolate bars and wine bottles can also be engraved with your company insignia. Get your brand in your client’s hands in an unexpected way!

Gift Certificate to a Local Restaurant or Party Space

Nothing engenders more good spirit than a party or a good meal to show your appreciation for their business. A really fun gift to include in your corporate gift basket would be a gift certificate to a local restaurant or party space. This tells the recipients that you know it’s not just about work — quality of life is important, too. A nice dinner hosted by your company is an incredibly thoughtful and appreciative gift.

Break Room Treats

Elevate lunch hour options with lots of gourmet treats in a basket for the employees’ break room.  It’s a real treat to have some new and different artisanal treats on hand. Items like coffee, tea, k-cups and mugs with your company logo can combine with gourmet popcorn, chocolate bars, granola for their morning yogurt, etc. Here is our take on a great corporate gift basket perfect for the break room.

Our Healthy Pop Up Party gift basket has something for everyone!

 

Ice Cream!

It’s easy these days to ship ice cream anywhere, and ice cream is a favorite treat no matter the time of year. Imagine receiving a box of hard-packed ice cream pints in delectable flavors, perhaps from a local ice cream company in your client’s area or a new, interesting indie vendor in another state. Make sure to also send along some sugar cones, sprinkles, nuts, and chocolate or caramel sauce for a make-your-own sundae party.

A New Year’s Inspiration

Membership or free passes to gyms, yoga centers, and spin classes are very popular items and will inspire wellness. Those items in your gift basket might just spark a renewed interest in getting back on the track, no pun intended. A gift certificate for a FitBit or an Apple watch to help monitor progress and incentivize activity in this age of health, nutrition, and wellness could be just the thing to jumpstart a successful, healthful 2018.

Green Gift

If your company is looking for a “green” holiday gift, look for one that may include a plant for your client’s office. Peace Lilies and Ivy plants are very popular for offices as they require moderate watering and light, and are known for filtering toxins out of the air. Also, Tillandsias, or “air plants,” are great for the office since they don’t require any soil or pots. They are a no muss, no fuss way to add beauty to a business setting.

Fun and Games

If you are sending in December, Christmas Gift Baskets are always a hit when they include something fun for the group. How about including the fun word game Bananagrams or a jigsaw puzzle that can be shared with friends and coworkers in the break room?  Don’t make it too challenging, however, or you may have to add some cocktail mixers to sharpen those competitive types.  Speaking of which…

 

Wine and Spirits

Prosciutto, Parmegiano and Chianti Gift Basket

 Beverages of all kinds are welcome additions to gift baskets and wine and spirits are always appreciated. With so many types to choose from, it may seem like an overwhelming task to put and wine and food gift together. But Manhattan Fruitier has done the work for you. We have lots of Christmas gift baskets for your corporate clients that elegantly pair fresh fruit and fine food with wines and champagnes that please many different palates. If you aren’t sure about sending an alcoholic beverage, choose instead a bottle of our Italian Organic Blood Orange Juice that delightfully pairs with any gift basket in our collection.

Artisanal Sweets and Treats

Cookies, brownies, whoopie pies and always-popular cupcakes are a welcome addition to any gift basket. But during the holidays an office lunchroom tends to fill with gaudy, preservative-packed, run-of-the-mill chocolates, cookies and frightful fruit cakes. Make your holiday gift basket stand out from the crowd with real and natural ingredient goodies, like homemade craft foods from artisanal bakers who choose quality ingredients over a 2-year shelf life.

 

Our High Hat Cupcakes wear little cookie “hats” to protect them during shipping!

It’s always the right season to bring that smile and joy we all need to our closest and valued clients.

What are the Best Fall Fruits?

Although the Autumnal Equinox is not until September 22nd, you can sense the coming of Fall much earlier. On the drive north to visit my Dad in Connecticut shortly after Labor Day, I saw the first indisputable signs of Fall — changing leaves on some trees along the highway! Shortly after that, Jehv and I took out our air conditioners and opened our windows to the cooler night air. The next morning, I awoke to the sounds of the birds chirping (which I hadn’t heard all summer with the air conditioners roaring). It would have been an entirely lovely experience to hear the little birdies if only I could have gotten back to sleep!

Fall is truly upon us and while we may lament the loss of the long, lazy days of summer, Fall brings its own unique pleasures. For instance, what’s better than tasting an apple from the first crop of the season? We all look forward to the fruits that are harvested during the autumn months and here is what I think are some of the best Fall fruits!

Apples

Lady Apples, Fall FruitApples of all varieties are ripening in the orchards right now and some will be ready to pick before others. October is the peak month. Drew says “Apples are ready for picking when it’s cold enough for your nose to run!” Love the visual, Drew…..

Why are apples the number one best fall fruits when we can eat them year round? Because of their freshness! After picking, apples are placed in cold storage to retain their flavor and can last a long time. That’s why we can offer apples in our gift baskets year round. But there is nothing like biting into a crisp, juicy apple at the peak of its freshness!

At Manhattan Fruitier, we look forward to getting the first crop of freshly picked apples to put into our Fall gift baskets. We are always on the look-out for more unusual, antique apple varieties grown on smaller local farms. We also strive to select as many organic apple varieties as possible for our fruits for the Fall season. Below is an example of the kinds of apples we feature in our gifts for Fall.

September: Jonagold and MacIntosh apples.

October: Black Oxford, Blondees Champlain, Blue Pearmain, Esopus Spitzenbury, Hidden Rose, HoneyCrisp, Jazz, Mollies Delicious, Opal, Orlenas Reinette, Rambour Franc and Zester Champlain.

November: Northern Spy and Winesap

 

Pumpkins

What fruit better characterizes the Fall season then the pumpkin? Yes, pumpkins are technically fruit! (Fruits are the seed bearing part of the plant that grows from the ovaries of the flowering part. Vegetables are other parts of the plant: the stem, the leaf, the root and the bud). Pumpkins are one of the top fruits for Fall. We all associate the Fall with the pumpkin: in October, it’s the Halloween Jack-o-Lantern; in November it’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner. Those of us who frequent Starbucks’ stores know that the limited edition “pumpkin spice lattes” launch in early September! Many of us probably recall the tradition of going to pumpkin farms on school trips in October or with your family as a kid. You could pick-your-own pumpkins, have some hot apple cider, and grab a hay-ride too! Maybe you are planning a visit to a local farm with your own kids this year.

 

Pomegranates

Pomegranates, Fall FruitThe height of pomegranate season is in the Fall and that makes them another distinctive fruit for Fall season. The first pomegranates are harvested in California in October. Pomegranate season lasts until January. But we are able to offer pomegranates pretty much throughout the year for two reasons. First, as soon as you pick a pomegranate, the ripening process stops. If you can keep them in cold storage, pomegranates can retain their flavor for a long time, just like apples. Second, pomegranates are grown successfully around the world so that they can be available for import year round. For example, pomegranate season in the Southern Hemisphere is from March through May.

 

Cranberries

Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America and have a long tradition in New England culture. Most cranberries (which grow on vines) are farmed in Massachusetts in water-logged bogs. Cranberries are truly a Fall season fruit. The cranberry harvest is relatively short beginning in mid-September and ending sometime in early November before the frosts.  Cranberries have an especially strong connection to the Thanksgiving holiday: cranberry relishes are ubiquitous at the Thanksgiving table and probably have been since the time of the first settlers.  

 

Grapes

Bunch of Grapes, Fall FruitGrapes are readily available at the supermarket year round, but in the United States, the grape harvest begins in mid-summer in California and continues well into September. At Manhattan Fruitier, we especially look forward to muscat grapes. Muscat grapes are a bit more unusual than the familiar seedless red and green Thompson grapes, although we love them too! Muscat grapes have a distinctive perfume-y taste.  They look different too, tending to be larger than most grape varieties with slightly thicker skins which some people like to peel, a few big seeds, and a color that is a combination of green and red looking rather as if it is blushing! We think Muscat grapes are one of the best Fall fruits to look forward to.

 

 Figs

mission-figsGenerally, fresh figs have two crops. The first crop is picked sometime from May to July depending on the variety, and then again from September to November. At Manhattan Fruitier, we pair our Prosciutto and Parmigiano gift basket with fresh figs whenever they are in season.  Prosciutto and figs are a classic Italian combination, and nothing beats the synergy of those flavors. We get our fresh figs from California and typically use the rich and deep purple Black Mission figs. Sometimes we use the lighter tawny colored Kadota figs or the dark Brown Turkey figs.  If you’ve tasted a fresh, ripe fig, you’ll understand why we have highlighted them as one of the most eagerly anticipated fruits for Fall. And if you’ve never tasted a fresh fig, get to your local market — you are missing out on a real treat!

Want some inspiration for fall-themed gifts? Check out our 5 Fall Gift Basket Ideas post.

6 Halloween Gift Basket Ideas

halloween gift ideasbasketBoo! Don’t be surprised, but Halloween is just around the corner and we’ve got some spooky and fun gift Halloween gift basket ideas to share with you. Whether you’re hosting an adult Halloween costume party or helping your kids get ready for trick-or-treating, there are lots of entertaining ways to enjoy the holiday.

1. Carve a Pumpkin Party

Adults and children alike delight in the Halloween tradition of pumpkin carving. A classic Halloween gift basket idea is to find a nice sized pumpkin and then gather together all the tools you need for carving: knives, stencils or templates, markers, candles, etc. You can tie the bundle together with fabric such as a small tablecloth.

If you are looking for gift basket ideas for Halloween for children, specifically, you may want to make the pumpkin carving easier. Cut the top off and scoop out the seeds thoroughly.  You can even wrap the utensils you’ll need later in a Halloween-themed dish towel and put it inside the pumpkin so that in essence, the pumpkin becomes its own basket!

I have a friend who really loves Halloween – it’s her favorite holiday above all others! She hosts an annual pumpkin carving party for her friends in her backyard (she lives in LA). Everyone comes in elaborate costume and by the end of the evening’s festivities, everyone votes on the best carved pumpkin. She is already planning for this year’s event.

Tip: Don’t waste the pumpkin seeds! They are a delicious and healthy snack. Be sure to get the pulp completely off first. You can boil the seeds in salted water for 5-10 minutes or so, lay them out to dry on a dish towel, then toss on a cookie sheet with butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper, and roast at a high temperature until golden brown.

 

2. Halloween Boo Box

Halloween Boo-Box-2017-610x530This gift basket idea for Halloween will please revelers of any age! Perfect to send to a family if you can’t be with them for the holiday. In our autumnal colored keepsake box, we nestle five spooky but adorable hand-iced cookies: two ghosts, two black cats, and one BOO, with an eerie chocolate haunted house beside them.  Charming and delicious all at once!

Tip: If you like to bake, consider making your own cookies to pass out to trick-or-treaters! There are many cookie cutters available in Halloween-themed shapes and it’s easy to make colored frostings with food dye. You can make them a day or two in advance and keep them fresh and sanitary in little plastic bags tied with orange and black ribbon.

 

3. Candied and Caramel Apples

Applecaramelicious-in-Bambo-610x530So many apple varieties are harvested in the Fall that apples have come to be emblematic of the season. A sweet Halloween gift basket idea is to bring or send the ingredients to make candied apples. Generally, tart apples are the best to use when you want to candy them: the tartness helps balance the sweet of the candy. You’ll need plenty of sugar, corn syrup and red food dye. Be prepared for the process to take time and to be a little messy.

If you want to send a Halloween gift basket for adults, we recommend our grown up Applecaramelious! The caramel sauce is flavored with vanilla bean and made from goat’s milk for the most luscious and scrumptious Halloween treat ever. Because you can dip apple slices into the caramel sauce, this gift takes no time to prepare so it can be immediately enjoyed. We even include an apple corer!

Tip: When you send a gift that needs to be put together, it’s thoughtful to include everything you’ll need to make it. It will be appreciated, and so will you!

 

4. Create a Costume

These days there are plenty of stores that sell complete Halloween costumes for kids and adults: you can find some that are really well made if you look hard enough. Masks, wigs, vampire teeth, and fake blood are all readily available this time of year. A fun Halloween gift basket idea is to buy an outfit and gather together all the accessories into a container for presentation. Instant Halloween costume!

If you are so inclined, think about making a costume yourself. When I was little, my Mom used to create our Halloween outfits every year. Sometimes they were extremely elaborate and they were never ordinary. I decided to carry on this tradition with our own daughter, and also let her come up with what she wanted to be. Being not nearly as creative as my artist mother, I’m afraid to say we had mixed results over the years!

Probably our finest moment was the year that our daughter decided she wanted to be a question mark. We were impressed with her originality, especially in the context of her age mates who were going to be fairies or princesses, pirates or monsters. We wanted to rise to this challenge! We bought some foam and cut out a huge question mark (with dot), covered it in fabric that our daughter chose herself, sewed in all together (which took many evenings) and then strapped it on her front (over her shoulders and around her waist). It was truly adorable and completely unique. But unfortunately, everyone kept asking her “What are you?” so that by the end of the evening she wasn’t very happy about her costume choice.

Tip: If you want to make your own costumes, there are two roads you can take. The first is to plan it out in advance, shop for what you need and sew it together. This takes time. The second is to look around the house and create a costume from what you already have. This takes less time, although both approaches require a bit of inspiration and imagination!

 

5. Apple Cider

Cider is another way to take advantage of one of the best Fall fruits we have: apples! Ciders are making their way from farm stands to the markets and enjoying a hot apple cider is such an iconic Fall treat. To make the container look more like a gift, tie on a package of hot mulling spices with Halloween ribbon. Hard ciders are becoming more popular and the selections ever more interesting. Nothing makes a nicer gift basket idea for the Halloween season then a first press apple cider, hard or not!

Tip: When you are home, keep some mulling spices in water on your stovetop under low heat. It will make your house smell delicious!

 

6. Halloween Decorations

Whether you can join in the celebration or not, a fun Halloween gift basket idea is a box of cool or creepy decorations for the front door, the house or the party room. You can send a simple Fall wreath, a selection of colorful gourds, cobwebs, black and orange streamers, a colony of flying bats, a fright of ghosts, or a family of spiders to sit on the fireplace or decorate the porch! The options are endless.

Tip: Don’t go overboard when sending a gift with Halloween decorations. Sometimes less is more.

 

Halloween is the only holiday where it’s de rigueur to take on another persona and transform yourself for an evening!  Have fun with it.