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How to Choose the Right Gift Basket

A gift basket is among the most popular of gift-giving choices. And it's gaining in popularity, according to trade publication Supermarket News. Gift baskets can be appropriate not only for long-term friends and family but for newer friends, acquaintances and business associates.

Choosing the right gift basket requires thought and attention to a range of concerns. Your relationship to the recipient is chief among them and has an impact on every other factor to be considered.

Relationship / Degree of Intimacy
Think carefully about the nature of your relationship to the recipient. A close friend or family member may warrant or expect a higher-value gift. They might also expect that you know their personal tastes and will honor them in your choice of basket contents. On the other hand, a co-worker with whom you infrequently have lunch might feel uncomfortable with a lavish or expensive gift basket. Similarly, if the basket is for a dating partner, consider the length and intimacy level of the relationship before you purchase the gift-basket equivalent of diamonds. On the other hand, if you want to make a splash with a new romantic partner or express deep affection, an extravagant basket might be just the ticket. The recipient's comfort level with extravagance is also a factor.

Most gift baskets are centered around a theme. Certainly, a basket that's intended to celebrate a winter holiday, such as Christmas, should reflect the colors and spirit common to the season. Still, content and decoration are two different things entirely. Just because it's Christmas in the Northeast does not preclude sending a golf-related gift basket to be used when warmer weather rolls around. A basket intended for a wedding, however, should cleave to the occasion as to both content and design, preferably in accord with the bride's favorite colors and including items of interest to both soon-to-be spouses.

One of the most attractive aspects of the gift basket is its visual appeal. Thus, a thoughtlessly thrown together design will not speak highly of you or endear you to the recipient. The design - that is, the colors, the materials, the size and shape of the basket itself -- should suit not only the recipient's tastes, but the occasion as well. In fact, a gift basket does not have to include a basket. More reusable vessels, such as polycarbonate containers, earthen planters and hampers are also popular among gift purveyors.

Tastes and Interests
Certainly, you won't want to offer a wine or beer gift basket to someone who doesn't drink. If you do not know the recipient well, inquire of others about any health issues and personal tastes before you make the purchase. Nothing is more embarrassing or awkward than an inappropriate gift choice. If you are offering the gift to a new client, such a gaffe can end the would-be relationship before it starts. So, do adequate research before selecting a gift.

So how do you choose the right gift basket? As with any gift, choosing appropriately requires planning, research, and forethought.

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