50 Ideas for a DIY Self-Care Gift Basket

A few years ago, when my sister’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer I felt completely helpless. I wanted to take the pain away from my sister, but of course, I couldn’t. I decided to send her a self-care gift basket to try to ease her pain in any way that I could, and to let her know that I was there for here. More recently, I sent a self-care gift basket to a friend of mine who is suffering from postpartum depression.

When I was looking for ideas to include in the baskets, I found it really frustrating. I felt like every website I visited was just trying to sell me a bunch of stuff! I’ve compiled a list of items that I’ve sent or received over the years, and some other ideas that you may was surprised at how hard it was to find gift ideas for this type of gift, so I’ve compiled a list of ideas, which I hope that will you find helpful.

What are good ideas for Self-Care gift baskets? The ideas fall into the following categories:

  • Items that Help with Relaxation/Calm
  • Something from the Heart
  • Ways to Pass the Time (Good for people who are in the hospital)
  • Food and Beverage
  • The Essentials (Tylenol etc.)
  • Something for Someone that they Care About
  • Pampering Products
  • Gift Certificates

Items that Help with Relaxation/Calm


One of the items that I sent my sister in her care package was L-theanine. I have used L-theanine for years because it has really helped me manage my anxiety. When my sister called me to thank me for sending the basket, she mentioned that the L-theanine had helped her get to sleep. I felt better knowing that I had helped a bit to ease her burden.

L-Thenaine is one of the main components founds in green tea. It has a calming effect, without actually being a sedative. That said, it can help people fall asleep. It is beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety.

L-Thenanine comes in chewable tablets and non-chewable tablets. I personally prefer the chewable ones, as they seem to work faster. L-theanine can be purchased at most health stores (If they sell vitamins or supplements, they usually have it). It is also available on Amazon.

If you want more information about L-theanine, you can read up on it at examine.com (Examine.com is a website that aims to explain scientific research in an understable and unbiased way).


Another product that I use to help me relax is lavender essential oil. I have found it very useful. It is a bit more complicated in terms of knowing how to use it. I have a post on ways to           use lavender essential oils here.

Something from the Heart

Bible or Other Spiritual Passages

If your loved on is religious, you may wish to include a passage that is meaningful to you or to them.

A Handwritten Note or Card

It is important to include a a note or card to let them know that you are thinking of them and wishing them well. If they are depressed, you may want to remind them that they have overcome other obstacles in the past or offer other words of hope or encouragement. 

A Photo or other Memorable Item

A reminder of happier times may help lift their spirits.

A Recipe

Depending on the situation, a few recipes could be a nice idea. Maybe they just had surgery, and you want to send some healthy recipes or perhaps some comfort food ideas might be more appropriate? Recipes can be challenging, as many people have specific diet restrictions. This ideas is best if you know the person’s eating habits/preferences/allergies well.

Ways to pass the time

If your loved one (or someone that they care about) is in the hospital, they may want something to help them kill time as they wait for test results etc. Here are some suggestions:

  • Adult colouring book (can also be relaxing)
  • Word searches or other puzzles
  • Magazines
  • A book
  • A Bible or other religious text (especially if they haven’t been able to get home yet)

Food and beverage

Again, if you are aware of dietary restrictions/preferences, than food can be a great way to show you care:

  • Chocolate
  • Other sweets
  • Homemade cookies or other baked goods
  • A homemade meal. (Meals that keep for a long time, or can be frozen are ideal.)
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Teas
  • A bottle of wine
  • Quick healthy snacks: granola bars
    • protein bars.
    • A veggie platter,

The Essentials

Again, these can be particularly helpful if your loved one is in a hospital, but may also be useful in other situations (especially the water bottle)

  • Water Bottle
  • Tylenol
  • Kleenex
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Basic hygienic tems: fresh clothes, tooth brush, tooth paste (if they haven’t been able to get home yet)

Pampering Products

These are the hallmark of what people think of when they think “self-care”. These ideas are all about relaxing, putting you feet up, and getting a little rest and relaxation.

  • Scented candles
  • Facemask
  • Nail Polish
  • Lotion
  • Self-massage tools
  • Lip balm
  • Bath salts and/or essential oil (Avoid bubble baths, and body washes as many contain perfumes and other ingredients that can irritate the skin)
  • Body Spray
  • Lip Gloss

Something for Someone that They Care About 

This category really depends on the reason that you are sending the gift basket. Here are a few examples of when this might be helpful:

If the self-care gift basket is for a new mom, you may want to consider adding in something for the baby. You could get something practical, like diapers. Another option is to include something more sentimental, like a stuffed animal or a kit that can bed use to take handprints of their newborn as a keepsake.

 If you have a pet, you know how much joy you can experience when you bring home a new toy  or treat for your little furry friend. They got so excited, and we get so excited! We laugh, smile, and play. We feel joy, and we relax. Pets are a wonderful stress reliever, and a pet toy or treat can serve as a reminder of the benefits of taking a minute to just enjoy the good things  that are all around us.

If a loved one of theirs is ill, such as a child, you may want to include something for them; for example, as stuffed animal for a sick child may be appropriate.

Gift certificates

Gift certificates can be a great way to give your loved one something else to focus on, and to experience some of the joys that life has to offer.  Giving a gift certificates is a great way for your loved one to take care of themselves, without worrying about the money it would normally cost to do the activities. Guilt-free self-care! 

Gym Passes or other Exercise Classes 

Exercise is one of the most (if not the most) beneficial things that we can do for our mental or physical health. Your loved may need a push to get their body moving, especially if they are suffering from depression. A local gym pass, or exercise class could be just what they need.

Spa Certificate

  • If your budget allows, a gift certificate at a local spa is a great idea. A relaxing massage may be just what they need! 

A gift card (Starbucks)

  • A good idea if they are feeling down. It could help just to get them out of the house.

A Grocery Store Gift Certificate

In my sister’s situation, both her and her husband had to leave their jobs to care for their daughter. This put a huge financial strain on them, so I sent a grocery store gift certificate to make it easier for her to purchase food. It could be helpful in other situations as well. Fresh food from the grocery store, and a home-cooked meal can do wonders for one’s mood! 

Other Gift Certificate Ideas

  • Stores that they like (clothing stores, beauty stores, craft stores etc.)
  • Movie passes
  • Passes to local attractions that they like (mini golf, local fair etc.)

How to Assemble a Gift Basket 

Choosing a Container

Once you have got everything, it is time to put it all together.  For the base, you can use anything that works. You may want to use something creative as your basket; for example, using a foot bath to put everything into. Another option is to use either a decorative box or basket. You can typically buy these items at stores like Michael’s. You can also try your local Dollar store. They often have some great material for these types of projects.

You’ll also want make sure that you have the following materials: scissors, wide ribbon, tissue paper, tape, and cellophane.

Next follow these steps to wrap your item:

  1. Add tissue to the bottom of your basket. (You may need to add quite a bit, depending on the size)
  2. Select the sturdiest item, and place it in the centre.
  3. Place larger items behind your central item, and smaller items in front of it.
  4. Add tissue into any gaps.
  5. Review the overall look of the basket. Make sure you hide price tags, face items forward, add more tissue etc.
  6. Rearrange, until you are satisfied.
  7. When you are happy with how the basket looks, place it into a cellophane bag. (It is easier if you can enlist someone to help you with this.)
  8. Once the basket is in the bag, twist the top of the cellophane bag, and tie a bow around the cellophane.
  9. Viola! You’re done!


If possible, deliver it in person. The best gift you can give might just be a hug, a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.

Last, but not least: Something for Yourself

If someone you care about is having a hard time, it can take a toll on you as well. Try to show the same care and generosity to yourself as you do to your loved one. Even if that is as simple as taking a few minutes to take some deep breathes, to go for a short walk, or to do whatever you need to do to feel well. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself too. 

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