If you’d like to celebrate someone with a special gift but have no idea what to do… I’ve got a creative and thoughtful gift option for you.


Think outside the box and give a truly thoughtful gift


Every Tuesday we get together with some other couples for spiritual discussion and prayer.  We enjoy the time so much, it’s the highlight of our week. The daughter of one of the couples graduated from high school this spring.  She didn’t want an open house, but we wanted to do something to celebrate her milestone.  Tim thought we should get some flowers.

Flowers are nice… but they don’t have any staying power much beyond a week.  But, when it comes to celebrating, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love flowers. So I knew that I needed to get a nice container for the flowers that would have staying power.

Over the years I’ve given different kinds of graduation gifts.  During one season, I gave what I considered to be a thoughtful gift to female grads… modern style crystal vases.  Perfect for a bouquet of flowers she might receive from her date or boyfriend.


Flowers make a thoughtful gift


Tim and I drove over to the mall area for a couple of necessities and while we were there, stopped in at Home Goods.  Just maybe they would have a container that would be appropriate to hold the flowers.

I started praying and asking God to show me the “right” container as we walked through the store.  We noticed some large African handmade baskets which were gorgeous AND were made by women who were supporting their families with their beautiful woven creations.  After admiring them we continued looking… and then we spied it!  An absolutely stunning smaller African basket in the most gorgeous shade of coral pink.

My prayer was answered… at ONE store… and it was the perfect gift.  You see, our friends lived in Africa for their daughter’s entire life… except for her last two years of high school, for which they returned to the states.  We later learned that the lid of the basket was an exact replica of a hat of a tribe in the area where they worked.


The flower arrangement from the back


I’m pretty sure you don’t have any friends who have been living in Africa for a number of years that you’ll want to celebrate with a special African handmade gift. But, what you can do is take away the concept.

This was a perfect gift for us to give.  After the flowers fade, the basket can keep on living a useful life, and hopefully be meaningful and memorable in several ways.

Giving a thoughtful gift can be challenging… but it doesn’t have to be if we keep in mind the life-experiences of the recipient.  And when paired with pretty flowers like I did here, it can be a celebration in itself.

If you think you don’t have the skills to arrange flowers in your container… that’s not a problem.  Take your container to your favorite florist and have them fill it for you.  Though I really don’t think that’s necessary unless you’re short on time and want the flowers to be delivered in your special container for you.  Why? Because if you can easily get bunches of a single variety of flowers, cut them all the same length, and they will look absolutely lovely.  It’s a very stylized look that is fabulous.  And EASY!  Though I must say I like having the florist make the delivery for me and have done that in the past using the container I supplied.


Let me walk you through the steps I took to fill my thoughtful gift aka African basket with flowers.


Preparing the Handmade African Basket for the Flowers - Thoughtful Gift Idea


First… Let’s talk about setting up the basket:

A. Because the basket had a lid I wanted to attach it to the main basket, for visual interest and also so the lid wasn’t just floating around.  An unattached lid might look great for something we do at home, but not so much for a gift. Mission accomplished with just two quilting pins pushed into both the lid and the top of the basket sides as you can see here.

B. A basket will not hold water, I wish it did because that would have been much easier, so with a little experimenting for size, I decided to place a mason jar inside the basket to serve as the vase or water holder. If you’re following my steps… be sure to fill the mason jar with water.

C. The mason jar did not fill up the entire space inside the basket.  As I did not want to risk it slipping around during transport, I stuffed filler shred between the jar and the basket which helped it stay upright.

Now it’s time to fill the jar/basket with flowers.

The flowers I used are grocery store flowers.  I was so happy to find flowers that were a lovely complement to the basket.  I love the soft peachy pink carnations and the rose hips blushed with a shade of coral that couldn’t be more perfect.  To top it off, the whites and greens in the bouquet also pulled out the white and green stripes in the basket.  It was a God thing for me and a reminder that God really does care about all the details in our lives.  From the nudge to stop at Home Goods, to popping over to my neighborhood grocery store for flowers, I really had a sense of his involvement in this gift.  In the end, I’m not sure who was more blessed… me or Sami.


Grocery store flowers become part of a thought gift


I LOVE fresh cut flowers at home.  But, I know that all my friends aren’t quite so confident in putting together arrangements. Sometimes I seem to have the touch and other times… not so much. But, what I have found is that it helps to have a plan.  Doesn’t everything go better with a plan?


A few of my tips or tricks…

When I prepare to create a flower arrangement I separate all the flowers and greenery in the bouquet into little groups… all the greenery in one group… all the mums in another group… and so on.  I usually have these all leaned up against the sides of my sink so that their flowers aren’t laying flat.

Usually, I create my arrangements on the front of my kitchen counter, right next to the sink where my flowers are leaning against the sides of the sink.  I hope you can visualize me holding my stem in front of the container and in front of the kitchen counter.  I’ll take a flower or leaf stem and hold it next to my container to see about the height I want for the flower or piece of greenery and then cut the bottom of the stem off at about the bottom of the vase or container. This technique works well for me.  If you have a question, let me know.


If there is greenery in a bouquet, I begin with that and fill the container with those pretty leaves first.


Start your floral arrangement by adding greenery first


You’ll see the arrangement take shape, one flower or color group at a time.


Next start adding flowers - one color at a time

This thoughtful gift is more special when you add a variety of texture for visual interest

This thoughtful gift is coming to life with the added color

This thoughtful gift is coming together with the addition of color to the floral arrangement


Please keep in mind that there is no ONE way to create your arrangement.


Peachy carnations add the perfect soft touch of color to this thoughtful gift of flowers

Flowers and a thoughtfully chosen container can make a truly thoughtful gift that will be remembered and cherished.

Peachy pink coral flowers and basket


If you like, arrange your flowers to be a soft mounded cushion.  Or you might want some to stand tall with other shorter flower stem surrounding the tall ones below.  Let your heart guide you and have fun with this.  Remember… this is a gift from the heart.  And though it isn’t exactly handmade… it is the work of your hands and it’s an incredibly thoughtful gift you are giving.

Once you’re finished… stand back and enjoy the results.

Pin It to remember for Later because it's so good - AnExtraordinaryDay.net


I had planned to get together with another friend from our group after church to deliver our gifts.  In the end, we all went to brunch with the whole family at a local restaurant.  It was so fun to be able to celebrate with a meal and share our gifts.

Sami starts college in just a few weeks. I hope this sweet basket will not only decorate her dorm room and serve as a place to stash treats or treasures, but also is a lovely reminder of her first home, many miles away.

  • Do you have a gift-giving opportunity around the corner?  I hope you’ve been inspired to think outside the “box.” 
  • I’m always looking for creative ideas for making thoughtful gifts and would love to hear your ideas, too.

Here are more thoughtful gift ideas…


Perfect Gift Basket Perfect Hostess Gift Basket


Chocolate Valentine Gift Idea - AnExtraordinaryDay.netHow to Bake & Package a Chocolate Valentine’s Day Gift


Whimsical Mason Jar Christmas Gift for Baby Girl - AnExtraordinaryDay.netWhimsical Mason Jar Christmas Gift for Baby Girl


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  1. Kim says

    Beautifully thoughtful, Diane. ?

  2. Kate says

    Wow! This looks lovely. I love how the Lord brought this into your hands & heart to bless her.

    • Awww… thanks, Kate!! Isn’t God so amazing? I love how he cares so much for us.

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