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Gift Baskets and Silent Auctions Were Made For Each Other

Marie Lisewski

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Gift Baskets and Silent Auctions were made for each other. Not only are gift baskets colorful and make stunning presentations, they can pull together various smaller donated items to create one large gift. A gift basket is greater than the sum of its contents. A $25 gift certificate to a wine store and a gourmet food store's donation of a bag of pasta, bottle of olive oil and package of bread sticks are separately nice donations, but by combining them and creating a gift basket themed as a pasta dinner, you create a new item that increases the value of both donations.

Collecting items for a Silent Auction can be a challenging but rewarding experience, and the end results are worth the effort. Generally merchants, service businesses and individuals are solicited for donations. The value of the contributions will depend on the community and the event. A bookstore may donate several books, a book light, note cards and a book mark. A garden supply store may give gardening tools, a book on flowers and gardening gloves. A lawn care service may donate several hours of pruning or lawn care. With a little creativity, beautiful themed gift baskets can be made from the collected donations.

By using a unique container like a ceramic planter, combining the items donated by the garden supply store and the gift certificate from the lawn care service in an attractive way and attaching a stunning bow, the newly created item has greater eye appeal and the value of the new item exceeds the combined value of the individual items in it.

Designing can be a lot of fun and it just takes a little imagination to group items into themes. A gift basket featuring a large piggy bank and a book on finances would make a great donation from a banker or financial planner. A tool box filled with gourmet snacks from a contractor or real estate agent is also an attractive and fun Silent Auction item.

A well designed gift basket that will attract a high bid takes more than a good theme. It takes some technical skill and the right tools. Many craft stores offer classes and can supply all of the tools needed to create a gift basket.

Marie is the owner and chief designer at Laurel Mountain Basket Company, the New England gift basket service voted “Best In The Valley" by the Valley Advocate Readers Poll 5 years in a row and chosen among the Rave Reviews! Top 100 for 2007. Visit her at


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