It's that time of year when everyone starts thinking about the perfect Christmas present. You read articles and watch ads to find that one gift that lets that special friend or loved one know how much you care. But it's not the gift that tells them you care. It's the time and thought you put into the gift. One of my favorite gifts to give and to receive are themed gift baskets. But don't buy one pre-made. Customize it to fit the person it is intended for. They don't have to be expensive. Again, remember it is the thought you put into it. I line all my baskets with a cloth napkin placed in it so that the four corners hang out over the sides. Here are some ideas: For Chocolate Lovers: A new coffee cup or mug (pick one with something they like, ie cats, dogs, brown/pink dots, cartoon character, or simply a "I hate mornings" mug) - various flavors of hot chocolate (mint, caramel, regular) - a pretty container filled with miniature marshmallows for the chocolate - a recipe book of chocolate desserts, a large block Hershey bar, for filler use miniature candy bars of their favorite brand. For People who love to read: A rectangle basket that can hold their favorite books - an assortment of inspirational bookmarks - a couple of books by their favorite author or a gift card to their local bookstore - motivational or inspirational books for daily reading, a nice book light for those nights they want to read in bed. For People who are always cold: A soft shawl to drape around their shoulders, a pair of fuzzy socks with slip resistant soles, a pair of warm gloves with matching scarf and/or hat, a pair of fleece pants to lounge around in. These are just a few of the ideas I've used. You can customize baskets for those who love to cook or bake. (this one is good for men, too). Have someone who love costume jewelry? Buy a small basket with a lid and fill it with costume jewelry. You can do one with lotions, soaps and creams for those who like to pamper themselves. If you know someone who loves to do their nails, do one with nail polishes, hand creams, polish remover, manicure sets, emery boards, etc. A birdwatcher on your list? A small set of binoculars, a couple of books on birds, a journal and nice pen to keep a log of their sitings, a small bird feeder to hang outside their window. As you can see, the ideas are limitless. So think about those on your list who are tired of perfume and neckties. The key is to think outside the box, or in the case inside the basket! Happy shopping!