gifts they might actually want

The Expensive-Looking Things I Put in the DIY Gourmet Gift Basket I Send to Friends

Less expensive than they look. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Gift baskets are always a solid choice for holiday giving, but all those premade versions can be pricey and uninspired — and the basket is usually the first thing to get tossed. I love the sentiment, but not the execution.

Recently, I’ve taken to buying beautifully packaged and unusual pantry items — all on Prime, so no shipping! — and creating my own gift baskets for cheaper. I’ll nestle them in a box zhuzhed up with some festive tissue for an easy gift box with extra personality. Each costs me 90-some dollars, but looks like I’ve spent twice as much. Below, everything I include in the custom gourmet gift baskets I make — I might switch it up a bit this year, but my recipients will just have to wait and see. Don’t miss all of the Strategist’s holiday gift coverage right here, too.

Pommery Mustard Meaux Moutarde in Pottery Crock

This savory French whole-grain mustard in a gorgeous vintage stoneware pot looks like the sort of thing that’s been served at the tables of French kings since 1632. Because it has.

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce: Red Habanero & Black Coffee

Addictive mouth-scorching hot sauce made with red habanero (and black coffee!) from a New York City-based, award-winning company.

Organic Ohia Lehua Blossom Raw Hawaiian Honey, Single Floral Variety by Big Island Bees

Rare, delicate white honey from a flower only found in Hawaii.

Brooklyn Whatever “Shnuts:” Curry Flavored Nuts

Twice-roasted, interestingly-flavored “shnuts” are a peanut-free combination of almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans, and, macadamia nuts. Mother-and-son business Brooklyn Whatever also calls their version of the pickle a “shpickle” and an olive a “shmolive.”

Taza Organic Chocolate Mexicano Super Dark Disc, 85% Dark

Who wouldn’t want a chunky round of stone-ground, 85 percent dark Mexican-style chocolate?

Tiptree Black Currant Preserves

Small-batch preserves from a legacy English company. Black currant is my favorite, in an appealingly inky color.

Bushwick Kitchen Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha

Bold, aptly named “Weak Knees” sriracha, bottled by hand. The addition of fermented gochujang gives it a more pungent, complex flavor — — not better, just different — than the rooster brand we’re all so familiar with.

Lark Ellen Farm Grain Free Granola Bites, Vanilla Cinnamon

Addictive small-batch vanilla-cinnamon flavored bites from an organic Ojai Valley farm. Nobody doesn’t like this.

La Española 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 24 fl. oz.

This light, flavorful olive oil from Spain comes in an 1840 replica tin.

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Everything in the DIY Gourmet Gift Basket I Make for Friends