Writers' conferences and conventions often ask attendees to provide signed books or other donations for auctions where the recipient of the proceeds is a charity, a foundation to promote literacy, or some other good cause. Auctions and raffles also work for non-profits of all kinds. One of the things I like to do for my donation is pull together the ingredients for appropriately-themed gift baskets.
Since our Northern Colorado Writers is celebrating the holiday season with a gathering of members, and we're using a silent auction to help finance our studio rent for next year, I decided to create two gift baskets, one for cooks and one for writers.
When I was ready to assemble my baskets, I spread everything out on the table to see what I had:
Sometimes arranging and balancing the contents is the hardest part. It's helpful to use cellophane grass or shredded colorful paper in the bottom of the basket so certain items can be anchored at the bottom of the basket while others can be lifted higher.
Once I had the items arranged the way I wanted, I wrapped them up in cellophane with the ends bunched at the top. Because my baskets were large, I had to use two layers of cellophane, one east/west and one north/south. I had purchased green cellophane for the cook's basket. The double layer hid the basket's contents a bit too well. From now on I'll use only clear.
Here's the cook's basket, a combination of cookbook, a book of the best food writing from 2009, and assorted condiments, herbs, spices, meat rubs, etc. The cook's coach is a little stuffed flamingo:
And the basket for writers is a survival kit with plenty of chocolate and a few writing books for education and entertainment. The writer's coach is a ladybug.
Baskets can be as large or as small, as expensive or as inexpensive, as you choose. I've found the bigger hobby shops have the best selection of baskets of all sizes at a variety of prices. When you establish a theme, it makes it a lot easier to select the items you use to fill your gift basket.