When I was coordinator for several women’s retreats and writer’s conferences, I was asked for ideas of how to put together a gift basket for a visiting speaker. I considered what we’d done in the past for a gift basket, what worked in the past, what didn’t work as far as what went into that special thank you gift basket for our speaker, and what we could have done better.
Since most speakers now fly in, consider items for the gift basket that will be easy to take back on the plane. As you gather items for the gift basket, keep the following suggestions in mind.
1. Consumable: Speakers often deal with exhaustion, bad breath from not being in a handy place to brush teeth and odd meal schedules that leave them hungry. The speaker will appreciate a gift basket that contains high-energy snacks, mint, breath fresheners, and/or munchies.
2. Disposable: Most speakers do not want to deal with breakable items, especially those who fly in and out. Do not add anything to the gift basket that will break, crash, melt or explode. Bath salts in disposable pouches are good, as are other disposable items. Keep in mind (better yet, check) the latest in forbidden items for airplane passengers.
3. Packable: When choosing items for the gift basket, keep the KISS principle in mind: keep it small and simple. Don’t present the speaker with a huge item unless you also offer to ship it home for them. It is better to choose items that can be tucked into a suitcase.
4. Carryable: On their way home, a speaker often just wants to relax. A speaker will enjoy a gift basket that contains things they can enjoy along the way. This could include a book or magazine. Great for layovers.
5. Personal, but not intimate; Gift baskets shouldn’t contain items so intimate as to cause embarrassment. Small simple items from the area make memorable gifts for a gift basket. Ideas include, shooting a photo of those who are presenting the gift with a note of appreciation on the back. Or, each person can write a short note to tuck into the gift basket. Include an autographed book by a local author or single use camera. Let the speaker know you will pay to have the pictures developed.
Instead of stuffing everything into a fancy gift basket, use a fancy gift bag instead. Gift bags, unlike actual baskets, can be flattened and put in a suitcase or discarded without guilt. When considering gifts to put in your gift “basket” bag, do a little detective work and include something the speaker really likes such as a favorite inexpensive perfume or snack item.
That’s it. When putting together a gift basket for your speaker, think in terms of consumable, disposable, packable, carryable, and personal, but not intimate.
If your gift basket items meet these criteria you will not only have a very nice presentation, but your speaker will also thank you for being so thoughtful.
And, of course, these gift basket ideas aren’t confined to speakers, but are good suggestions for putting together gift baskets for other special people or events.