How to stock a picnic basket

How to stock a picnic basket

A well-stocked picnic basket can make a fine gift for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or many holidays. All it takes is a little imagination and a dose of flair to assemble an attractive, purposeful present.

First, buy an attractive, moderately-sized basket with flexible handles. You want one that is large enough to hold a decent amount of supplies and food. Get one that is decorated with dried flowers, herbs, or ribbons, or make one yourself by using accents that will appeal to your intended recipient.

Next, add a plastic, vinyl, or cloth table covering. A checked gingham pattern adds an old fashioned touch. Or you can use a solid color, floral print, or any design to add creativity to the meals that will be served in your package. Fold the cloth small enough to fit at the bottom of the basket. Or slip it into a side pocket if the basket has one. A third option is simply to present the tablecloth as a separate gift.

Then on to the tableware. Melamine or plastic dishes in a soft summer design will make any meal more festive. Or, to lighten your basket’s load, find a pretty print in paper plates and add these to your burgeoning basket. Select cups and napkins to match, if desired, or wait for the new proud owners to choose their own, especially if space inside the basket is limited. Clear or colored plastic cutlery go in next. Bundle these in plastic packages or with rubber bands to keep them from spilling all over. Include an equal number of knives, forks, and spoons. You may want to consider a few serving spoons or tuning forks as well.

Condiments are a useful touch. Picnic-size salt and pepper shakers come sealed and ready for individual outings at many grocery stores or even the dollar stores. Look for commercial individual serving-size packets of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, and salad dressings that can be nestled into your basket, either in a compartment of their own, attached to the side by a strap, or banded in a packet or with a rubber band. Check out other individual serving-sizes of accent foods, spices, or goodies that the picnic basket users might enjoy. Surprise them!

Finally, decide if you want to lace your offering with pre-packaged foods, ready to prepare on a first outing or used at home in a pinch. Instant canned soups, packaged pudding that does not require refrigeration, non-perishable cheeses, and individually wrapped treats make helpful accessories that will widen the receiver’s eyes. Leave the main food items for fresh purchase and preparation, such as sandwiches, salads, or fruit and veggies.

Sort through your basket to see if anything has been left out. Or you may think of other things to add, such as a thoughtful card, a home-baked treat, or a bouquet of fresh or dried flowers.

Then wrap your lovely creation and present it to the lucky friends who are sure to enjoy it for years to come! Take joy in knowing that you have enhanced their pleasure in sunny days and restful outings, keeping you in mind as the author of their fun.

Then wrap your

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