Recharging: Health Benefits You Can’t Ignore

They say if you want to learn how to get things done, ask a busy person. 

There’s truth to that and to this: if you want to learn how to become a ball of stress, ask a busy person. Being busy is often worn as a badge of honor. It’s great to be productive, but it is also vital to practice the art of unwinding and rejuvenating.  

Let’s dive into the transformative health benefits of giving ourselves permission to hit the pause button and recharge.

Mental Clarity and Creativity

First up, mental rejuvenation. 

Ever notice how your best ideas come to you not when you’re hunched over your laptop at midnight but perhaps during a quiet walk or a leisurely shower? 

That’s no coincidence. 

Taking time to relax and do things we enjoy like reading a book, meditating, or simply daydreaming, can significantly boost our mental clarity and creativity. Take it from me and the science people who conduct sciency studies like the ones mentioned here

Stress Reduction

The bad: chronic stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to problems like hypertension, heart disease, and a weakened immune system. 

The good: stepping back and engaging in non-stressful activities like yoga, painting, or baking, allows us to downshift from the high alert state and reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol. 

Speaking of baking, did you know that stressed spelled backward is desserts? 

And racecar spelled backward is racecar, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Improved Physical Health

Recharging has tangible physical health benefits, too.

Adequate rest and relaxation can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, and improve sleep quality. When we’re well-rested, our body’s systems are in better balance, from our heart to our digestive system, enhancing overall health and vitality. 

Also, when we’re well-rested, we’re the non-jerk versions of ourselves. 

Enhanced Emotional Well-being

If scheduling me-time sounds selfish, then cool. 

When we carve out moments just for us, it’s like giving our emotional health a big, strong shield, keeping those tough anxiety and depression gremlins at bay. Diving into activities that fill our batteries—be it painting, dancing in our living room, or sipping a cup of tea—can really crank up the happiness volume. 

It’s all about lighting up our mood and seeing life with those rose-tinted glasses firmly on.

Strengthened Relationships

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: when we feel better, it helps our relationships. 

Just blew your mind, didn’t I? 

When we’re all juiced up and feeling top-notch, the people around us get to enjoy the best version of us, too. Suddenly, we’re there in the moment, way more chill and ready to really listen. By giving ourselves this dose of TLC, we’ve got so much more love and patience to spread around. 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it—and you should—is to carve out time in your calendar to take it easy. 

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

With all this talk about chillaxing, we just have to tell you about our Inner Zen Relaxation Gift Basket. Built in a faux leather storage box, this gift oozes calm with a mini Buddha Board drawing easel, color in ceramic mug, black raspberry vanilla soap, black raspberry vanilla hand cream, and more. 

Enjoy the Zen.

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

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5 Valentine’s Day Traditions Around The World

Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love, affection, and 10pm dinner reservations due to last minute planning is observed not just in the US of A, but across the globe. 

Indeed, some countries stick to the traditional chocolates and flowers, but others have unique customs that make February 14th a day to remember. I invite you to surf Cupid’s arrow for a 

love-filled journey around the world to explore five distinct Valentine’s Day traditions.

1. Wales: Love Spoons

I know, I had to do a double take, too, but I’m not here to judge. 

Yes, Welsh tradition holds a unique craft at its romantic core: the carving of love spoons. These wooden spoons are intricately carved and presented as symbols of love and affection. 

With designs featuring hearts, keys, and locks, they are meant to showcase a suitor’s skills and commitment.

That’s a low bar. Doh, I’m being judgy again!

2. Japan: Chocolate with a Twist

Japan’s got the egalitarian spirit down pat. 

Over there, Valentine’s Day takes an interesting turn, with women presenting men with chocolates—but it doesn’t end there. The following month, on White Day, men return the favor, often with more elaborate gifts. 

This unique exchange highlights the reciprocal nature of love and relationships in Japanese culture…and demonstrates how they’re much better at Valentine’s Day than we are. 

3. South Korea: A Love Marathon

South Korea takes home the gold medal in terms of Valentine’s Day thoughtfulness. 

Those who find themselves without romantic gifts on February 14th can look forward to Black Day on April 14th, where singles gather to enjoy Jajangmyeon (black bean noodles) and celebrate or commiserate their single status.

4. Denmark: Snowdrops and Joke Letters

Those Danes are some funny rascals. 

Valentine’s Day in Denmark is characterized by the exchange of lover’s cards and humorous joke letters known as “gaekkebrev.” 

I don’t know about you, but saying “gaekkebrev” out loud is funny enough that I wouldn’t need to read the actual letter. Also, I don’t know Danish. 

This playful tradition adds a lighthearted touch to the Danish expression of love, while the gifting of snowdrops (delicate white flowers) adds a layer of sappiness…I mean,  traditional beauty.

5. Philippines: Mass Weddings

The Philippines celebrates Valentine’s Day with grandeur and a sense of community through mass wedding ceremonies. These events, often sponsored by the government, allow couples to tie the knot in a shared, festive atmosphere, making the day truly memorable.

That sounds wonderful! Except for the part where you just want to celebrate Valentine’s Day without committing yourself to marriage. 

The global celebration of Valentine’s Day reminds us that, while the language of love may vary, its message is universal and that saying “gaekkebrev” five times will cause you to belly laugh. 

💘SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT💘

Want to give a Valentine’s Day gift to remember? 

Duh, of course you do. Check out our heart-shaped Eat Your Drink! gift box, featuring—hold on to your hat—alcoholic gummies from Smith & Sinclair. You heard that correctly. They are blended with the craftsmanship of a classic cocktail, boasting an array of premium flavors, including Amaretto Sour, Bourbon Old Fashioned, Cinnamon Whisky, Elderflower Gin Spritz, Gin & Tonic, Mandarin Spritz, Mocha Espresso Martini, Moscow mule, Passion Fruit Martini, and more! 

Bottoms up, Bon Appétit, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

Yum: 5 Attributes of Comfort Food

In the realm of culinary delights, there’s a special category that goes beyond mere sustenance: comfort food. 

It’s the kind of food that wraps its arms around you after a long day—a food hug, if you will. Hey, that’s got a nice ring to it. 

But what exactly makes a dish comfort food? Let’s dive taste buds first into the five quintessential attributes that give comfort food its soul-satisfying essence.

1. Rich and Fulfilling Flavors

First and foremost, comfort food is all about rich, fulfilling flavors. 

These are the dishes that are generously seasoned and full of heartwarming tastes. Nothing bland! Bland = blasphemy. 

Whether it’s the deep, savory flavors of a slow-cooked stew or the sweet, velvety taste of a chocolate pudding, hot cocoa or the satisfying crunch of your favorite cookie, comfort food tantalizes the taste buds and leaves you feeling content.

I don’t know about you, but I feel comforted just reading this. 

2. Simplicity and Accessibility

One of the hallmarks of comfort food is its simplicity. 

These are not dishes that require exotic ingredients or utilizing your oven, stovetop, microwave, air fryer, toaster, blender, immersion blender, and food processor all at the same time (though, we’re darn close to an all-in-one appliance). 

Comfort food is accessible; it’s made from common ingredients that many people have in their kitchens. Think of a classic grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of buttery mashed potatoes. 

These meals are straightforward to prepare, and they get the job done. 

3. Nostalgia and Sentimentality

Perhaps the most defining attribute of comfort food is its ability to evoke nostalgia. 

For many, comfort food is inextricably linked to childhood memories, family traditions, or specific moments in time. It could be your grandmother’s apple pie recipe, the tomato soup your mother made when you were sick, or that bowl of porridge from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

These foods transport you back to moments of happiness and security, providing an emotional connection that transcends the mere act of eating.

4. Serotonin Producers

The science people say that eating sweet, starchy foods coaxes serotonin, the chemical that the brain releases when it’s being nice that makes us feel calmer, and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. 

Studies from said science people show that folks feel less depressed, anxious and irritable after consuming carbohydrate-rich foods. 

But remember, everything in moderation. 

5. Indulgence and Treat

Lastly, comfort food often represents indulgence, or as the seven deadly sins go, gluttony. I, for one, think they need to add an eighth sin: judgment of indulgence and gluttony. 

Where was I? Oh yes, it’s the food you turn to for a treat, to pamper yourself after a stressful day, or to celebrate a special occasion. Kick your usual fare to the curb and replace it with decadent cheesecake, a plate of crispy fried chicken, or a serving of creamy pasta.

You deserve it. 

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Nothing says comfort food like our Cookies & Cocoa Gift Basket. Talk about warm and cozy. This winner features J&M Cookies, Cocoa Lover’s gift box, Dolcetto wafer cookie packs, 

Tate’s Tiny chocolate chip cookies, Magnolia Bakery banana pudding cookies, and more!

Time to get comfy. 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

Teeing Up Wellness: 5 Surprising Health Perks of Golf

Why are we writing about golf on a day like this when it’s half-snowing, gray, and drab out? 

To give you something to look forward to! 

Golf often conjures images of leisurely days spent on manicured greens under the sun. However, this beloved sport offers more than just a chance to show off your latest clubs and golf cart-handling abilities. 

It’s also a surprisingly effective way to enhance your physical and mental well-being. Here’s a look at five health benefits of playing golf.

1. Heart Health Booster

Golf is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. For real. 

Walking the course, carrying your bag, swinging, and even retrieving your ball can get your heart rate up, promoting better blood circulation (I’m out of breath just writing this). 

In addition, this physical activity can strengthen your heart muscle, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases and lowering harmful cholesterol levels. 

2. Brain Stimulator

Golf is good for the brain

Golfers often use strategic thinking, problem-solving, and concentration during their game. It’s like AP Calculus but fun and with a snack cart. 

This mental engagement stimulates brain function, which can help improve neural connections and delay cognitive decline. The concentration required on the course also increases mental alertness and can improve hand-eye coordination. 

Hello 36 holes! 

3. Stress Reliever

Spending time outside in nature (very man-made nature, but still…) can reduce stress levels, and the tranquil setting of a golf course can provide a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

The game also encourages social interaction, which is always healthy. Playing a round with friends can offer much-needed relaxation and a break from daily stressors—as long as you’re with the friends who don’t annoy you. 

4. Improved Sleep Quality

The physical activity involved in golfing tires you out, allowing for more restful sleep

I can make a joke here about how non-golfers can easily fall asleep by watching golf…and it looks like I did make a joke. Ha. Ha. 

Back to the health benefits. Walking in the fresh air and sunshine also helps regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, which can improve overall sleep patterns.

5. Low-Risk for Injury

Listen, you can get injured doing anything, like sneezing. But as sports go, golf is a low-impact activity, which means it’s gentle on the joints and muscles. 

This makes it an ideal sport for people of all ages, particularly older adults who might be unable to engage in high-impact sports. The risk of injury in golf is much lower compared to other sports, making it a safe option for regular physical activity.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the health benefits of golf are compelling reasons to hit the greens. 

🏌️‍♀️ SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🏌️‍♀️

Guess what? We have a gift basket for golfers! What a coincidence!!

Our 19th Hole is built in a wire golf range basket with these goodies: golf ball and tee set; pretzels; dipping mustard; nuts; cookies; and wasabi peas. 

Start the countdown now until golf season!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

Why It’s Important to Set Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

Ah, January—a time of fresh starts and ambitious goals. 

We get to flip or swipe to that new calendar page with hope and the promise of a new beginning. 

But let’s chat about New Year’s resolutions, shall we? We all make them with the best of intentions, yet somehow, by February, they often seem as forgotten as last year’s holiday decorations.

So, what’s the deal with setting realistic resolutions? Why is it important, and how can it change our approach to the new year?

Read on, friends. Read on. 

1. Setting the Stage for Success

Let’s talk about success. 

When we set achievable goals, we’re more likely to meet them. It’s not rocket science, but it is human nature. But wait, it’s also kind of sciencey, because there’s the chemistry of confidence that comes with success. There’s a dopamine release when we achieve things, and it feels good. 

But temper expectations. 

Setting a goal like “I’ll run a marathon by February” when you haven’t jogged around the block since high school might be stretching it a bit thin. Instead, how about “I’ll start with brisk walks, then gradually jog”? Sounds doable, right? 

These small victories create momentum, and before you know it, you’re actually running that marathon, more likely by the following February. 

2. The Motivation Factor

Nothing saps motivation like unattainable goals (and the TV remote). 

If you’re constantly facing uphill battles, it’s natural to feel defeated. But when your resolutions are within reach, each step forward is a little victory, keeping that motivational fire burning. 

Remember, motivation loves company, and achievable goals are its best friends.

3. Avoiding the Burnout

Ever jumped into a resolution full force, only to burn out quicker than a cheap candle? 

Burnout happens when we start with intense enthusiasm for ambitious goals, but this intensity is often unsustainable, leading to exhaustion and a loss of motivation. 

Maybe your goal is to be more active on social media for your business. You go gangbusters in January, rattling off 15 posts per week and then…you crash and get totally sick of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, SnapChat, what have you. 

Instad, go slow and steady, cliche and all, but it will be a more manageable journey, allowing you to pursue your resolutions without running out of steam.

4. Flexibility is Key

Life is unpredictable, said everyone ever. 

That’s why flexible, realistic goals are crucial. They allow for life’s curveballs without making you feel like you’ve derailed your entire year. Miss a week at the gym because the flu hit you like a freight train? No problem, you’ve set a realistic schedule that allows for hiccups. 

Maybe you want to learn a new language but find a particular interest in its culture instead. With realistic and adaptable goals, you can shift focus without feeling guilty. This flexibility makes your resolutions more attainable and enjoyable.

No one said they have to be punishing, right? 

5. Building Confidence, Not Regret

When you prove yourself to yourself, you build self-confidence and an excuse to use “self” four times in a relatively short sentence. 

For real, and not to sound too trite, but when you actually carry out one resolution, it makes the others easier. 

If you don’t believe me, then I guess I’ll have to get more sciencey on you. Self-confidence is deeply rooted in our psychology and neuroscience. Neurologically, it’s associated with a network of brain areas, including the prefrontal cortex, which influences decision-making and social interactions. Psychologically, confidence is bolstered by positive experiences and reinforcement, which stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, enhancing our mood and our belief in our own abilities. 

Hey, you made me go there, but see what I mean? This biochemical response not only lifts up our sense of well-being, but also reinforces our capacity to tackle challenges and succeed in various tasks, further nurturing our self-confidence.

It’s like a hamster wheel that’s actually beneficial. 

One of my resolutions is to establish more work/life balance and focus on self-care. To that end, we’re taking a break until January 2. We’ll be checking and replying to email, but not shipping anything out. 

🎉 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🎉

Over here at BasketWorks, we believe in rewards for fulfilling New Year’s resolutions. Enter our Martini Gift Basket, built in an oh so elegant bento tray, serving up two Martini glasses, cocktail shaker, Grey Goose Vodka, Patron XO Cafe coffee liqueur, and organic simple syrup.

Happy New Year!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

5 Reasons Why Gift Baskets Rule, Especially During the Holidays

I know, shocking that we’d sing the praises of gift baskets, but hey, it’s our blog. 

There’s a reason why gift baskets are ubiquitous during the holiday season: they bundle a variety of treats and treasures in one beautifully presented package. Also, it’s really fun to pick one up and place it on the kitchen table or counter and see how it doubles as a display (kind of like flowers) and a tower of yummy stuff to tear into. 

Here are five reasons why gift baskets are an unbeatable choice, especially during the holidays.

1. V for Variety

Gift baskets are the epitome of variety (nice rhyme). 

Whether it’s a mix of sweet and savory snacks, a selection of gourmet chocolates, or an assortment of beauty products, a single basket can cater to different tastes and preferences. This variety isn’t just practical; it also adds an element of surprise and discovery as the recipient delves into the basket’s depths, uncovering the goodies layer by layer.

What’s there not to like?

2. Personalization with a Touch of Class

Off-the-shelf gifts are just so…Off-the-shelf

Good gift basketeers (we know some) understand the nice touch of personalization. Tailored to the recipient’s likes, hobbies, or dietary preferences, each basket can be a reflection of thoughtfulness and care. From gluten-free products to wine connoisseur assortments, the ability to customize makes gift baskets a personal and considerate choice. 

Additionally, the elegant presentation of these baskets, adorned with ribbons and festive decorations, adds a touch of class and sophistication to your gift.

3. Convenience at Your Fingertips

In the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, convenience is key. 

Enter gift baskets. They save you the time and hassle of assembling multiple individual items. They come beautifully packaged and ready to gift, eliminating the need for wrapping or boxing. 

There’s a saying: “Convenience is a lifesaver during the busy holiday season.” Is that a saying, or did I just make up something brilliant? I’ll have to get back to you on that. Anyway, convenience is good and it allows you to focus on enjoying the festivities rather than worrying about gift preparation.

4. The Joy of Unboxing

If you’ve seen my unboxing videos on the socials, then you understand that this is one of my favorite things to do. If you haven’t then start watching! 

There’s something inherently exciting about unboxing a gift, especially gift baskets. The act of exploring a gift basket, with its layers of surprises, creates a memorable and interactive experience for the recipient. It’s not just about the items inside; it’s about the joy of discovery and the anticipation of uncovering each product hidden within.

And remember, you look like a holiday hero when the gift comes from you. 

5. Perfect for Any Occasion

We may be focusing on the holidays, but there’s always an occasion to give someone the gift of gift baskets. 

Anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, new home, new baby, new mortgage…you name it. 

Plus, who needs an excuse? Brighten a mundane Monday or celebrate surviving a dentist appointment with a gift basket! After all, life’s too short not to seize every chance to enjoy some good cheese, chocolate, or whatever tickles your fancy in wicker form.

🎅⛄SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🎅⛄

And speaking of baskets during the holiday season, nothing says Season’s Greetings like our Season’s Greetings Holiday Gift Basket, built in a round wood basket with a gold accented green edge and replete with dipping pretzels, honey mustard, sausage, cheese spread, crackers, peanut brittle, Joolies dates, and more! 

Happy Holidays! 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

Cranberries: The Holiday Superfruit with 5 Surprising Health Benefits

We may be done with Thanksgiving, but cranberries are not done with us. 

Sure, we had our fill of turkey and cranberry sauce, but lest you think cranberries are a one and done holiday accoutrement, oh you’ve got another think coming. We’re about to enter the thick of the holiday season, and cranberries are taking center stage in the form of sauces, decorations, and festive drinks. 

These tiny, tart berries are more than just a colorful addition to your holiday table. Packed with nutrients, they offer a sleigh-load of health benefits. 

Let’s unwrap the top five health benefits of cranberries and see how they can be a merry and bright part of your holiday diet.

1. Powerhouse of Antioxidants

Cranberries are the little elves of the fruit world, working hard to protect your body. 

They’re loaded with antioxidants, which combat free radicals, those pesky molecules that can lead to a variety of chronic diseases. During the holidays, when indulgence peaks, adding a handful of cranberries to your diet could be a simple way to keep your body’s defenses up.

2. Urinary Tract Health

A little TMI, but it’s still important to know that cranberries can maintain urinary tract health

They contain compounds that prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder walls. Including cranberry sauce or juice in your holiday meals isn’t just a tasty tradition; it’s also a boon for your urinary system.

3. Digestive Health

The holidays are notorious for delicious but sometimes heavy meals. 

Cranberries can be your tummy’s best friend during this season. They contain dietary fiber which aids digestion and can help prevent constipation, keeping your digestive system merry and light.

4. Heart Health

Cranberries are full of heart-healthy compounds, including flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and, in general, are a funny word to read and say out loud. 

Their anti-inflammatory properties are like a holiday gift to your arteries, helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A sprinkle of dried cranberries over a salad or a glass of cranberry juice could be a simple way to keep your heart beating with holiday joy.

5. Immune Support

Winter brings with it the gift nobody wants, colds and the flu. 

Cranberries, with their high vitamin C content, are great for bolstering your immune system. Integrating cranberries into your holiday diet might help keep you off Santa’s sick list.

But the magic of cranberries doesn’t stop at vitamin C. They also boast a suite of other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E and K, and antioxidants. These components work together to enhance your body’s ability to fight off infections, making them a natural and tasty way to boost your immunity.

🎄 🕎  🕯️ SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🎄 🕎  🕯️

In addition to cranberries, you know what else we love? Gnomes. 

As such, we present our Gnome for the Holidays Gift Basket, built in a hyacinth basket, featuring a plush gnome ornament, gnome cookie jar, gnome nog mix, gnome cocoa mix,

Walker’s shortbread, Magnolia Bakery banana pudding cookie, Dolcetto wafer cookie pack, and more!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

What is The Significance of These 5 Thanksgiving Dishes?

Thanksgiving is a day steeped in tradition, family, seriously good eating, and food comas.

As you are devouring the table’s offering, have you ever paused mid-bite and wondered, “Why am I eating this?” and had a real answer other than, “Because it tastes really good, and I’m rather enjoying the high levels of serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine showering from my brain?”

Well, wonder no more. Let’s dive into the history and significance behind five classic Thanksgiving dishes.

1. Turkey: The Centerpiece of the Feast

The turkey is the undisputed star of Thanksgiving.

While turkeys weren’t specifically mentioned in accounts of the first Thanksgiving, they were native to North America and a common food source for both Native Americans and settlers.

Before singing, “I am not throwing away my shot,” Alexander Hamilton quipped, “No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” 

Since then, turkey has become synonymous with the holiday, representing abundance and American tradition.

2. Cranberry Sauce: A Tart Tradition

Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America, making them a natural choice for early settlers’ meals. 

The Wampanoag, who shared the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims, were known to use cranberries. Cranberry sauce as we know it today (sweetened and cooked) likely became a Thanksgiving fixture in the 18th century when sugar became more widely available.

Now that’s a berry essential condiment. See what I did there? 

3. Stuffing: More Than Just Filler

The practice of stuffing birds for cooking is so ancient that there are recipes from Roman times. 

For real. 

However, the Thanksgiving tradition of stuffing (or dressing, depending on where you are in the country) likely has its roots in the early practices of English settlers. It’s a versatile dish, with each region and family boasting its unique recipe but all serve the purpose of soaking up delicious flavors and adding a hearty component to the meal.

Running out of stuffing at your dinner should be considered a sin. 

4. Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows: A Sugary Evolution

Sweet potatoes have been a part of the American diet since the colonial days, but the marshmallows? That’s a 20th-century addition. 

The combination can be traced back to a 1917 recipe book by the Angelus Marshmallows company, promoting the use of marshmallows in cooking. This dish exemplifies the innovation and adaptation of traditional foods, and it’s a perfect example of how a simple ingredient can transform a dish and create a new tradition. 

Missing from the Angelus Marshmallow recipe is the part where all the kids stick their fingers in the dish to get to the Marshmallows before anyone else. 

5. Pumpkin Pie: The Quintessential Dessert

Pumpkin, native to the land and a staple in Native American diets, was introduced to the Pilgrims by the indigenous people. 

The first Thanksgiving likely saw pumpkin in some form, but not as a pie. It wasn’t until the Pilgrims’ second Thanksgiving that the iconic pumpkin pie would have likely made its appearance, thanks to the settlers’ English traditions of making pies. 

By the 19th century, pumpkin pie had earned its place as the hallmark of Thanksgiving dessert, symbolizing the harvest and the ingenuity of the early settlers in adapting new foods into their culinary repertoire.

I doubt anyone back then could have predicted the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts pumpkin spice latte craze. 

🦃 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🦃

This holiday season, BasketWorks is thrilled to team up with Hunger Resource Network through our Gifting for Good initiative! For every Gifting for Good Pantry Gift Basket sold, we’re donating $25 to the pantry, making your gift even more meaningful. Plus, each basket includes a special card to let the recipient know about the donation made in their honor.

So what it’s in it? The real question is: what’s not in it! Check it out:

  • Everton butter toffee pretzels
  • English tea cookies
  • Dried fruit
  • Destrooper cookies
  • Butter toffee caramels
  • Toffee Break toffee
  • Peanut Brittle
  • Bali’s coffee candy
  • Cashews
  • Popcorn
  • Bahlsen cookies
  • Chocolate covered cherries

And that’s only three quarters of the items! Happy Thanksgiving. 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

8 Ways to Trick Or Treat In The Cold

You can always count on Chicagoland temps to drop into the 30s on Halloween, because of course it does. 

Today is no exception, and if you looked out the window this morning or were outside, you saw/felt a brief snow flurry. Once again Mother Nature is being difficult. Do we just toss out the trick or treating plans and mope? NO! We adapt and ensure our little ghouls and goblins are both warm and in high spirits.

So, let’s talk about some spooktacular ways to handle trick or treating when it’s freezing outside. 

1. Layer Up

Second only to your child’s disappointment at having to donate some of their candy, is having to wear a jacket over their costumes. We have good news for them and you: they can lose the jacket and wear thermal or cotton layers beneath their Elsa, Grogu, Super Mario, or Scream costume instead.

If they get itchy, well, that’s on them. 

2. Blend Coziness with Costume Design

You know what they say? When Halloween gives you a wintry mix, uh…make wintry mixade, or something like that. 

Why not make the cold part of the look? If your child is dressing up as a ghost, a white hoodie underneath can look seamless. A princess? Long-sleeved dresses or even velvet capes can add warmth. Pirates with scarves, zombies with torn flannel shirts—the cold-weather options are endless!

3. The Power of Accessories

Gloves, mittens, hats, and scarves can all be added to a costume without ruining the look. 

A funky colored scarf or hat might just add that extra flair. And don’t get me started on the adorable beanies out there that can easily be part of an animal costume.

The things we do for love, right?

4. Warm-Up Breaks

Instead of doing a marathon trick or treating session, consider breaking it up. 

Do a few houses, then hop into the car or head back home for a quick warm-up break. Maybe have a spooky warm drink ready—a hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick or hot chocolate. 

And of course an adult beverage or three…if you’re not the driver. 

5. The Shoe Matters

It’s not just about the outfit. 

Your child’s feet can get cold quickly, especially when walking from house to house. Opt for warm, comfy footwear and two pair of socks. If your little mermaid wears sneakers instead of flimsy sandals, I promise she’ll still look fantastic.

6. Hand Warmers

Those little packets you shake and stuff in your pockets? Gold. 

Pop a pair in your child’s pockets, or even in their treat bag. They last for hours and can be a game-changer in keeping fingers toasty. Drop them in their shoes, too. 

7. Opt for Indoor Activities

Some communities offer indoor trick or treating events. 

Malls, community centers, or schools might have activities where kids can gather treats without braving the cold. Keep an eye out for local events.

8. Remember the Real Fun

Is it about the candy? Well, partly (okay, mostly). 

But it’s also about the experience. Emphasize the fun of dressing up, the joy of spending time together, and the stories you’ll share. “Remember that Halloween when it was SO cold, and we did XYZ?!” I’m not guaranteeing that will work, but it’s worth a shot. 

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Speaking of Halloween, check out our Trick or Treat Gift Basket that causes people to shriek with joy with what’s inside: an assortment of chocolate candy, including Hershey’s kisses; sweet potato chips; Haribo gummies; Jelly Bellies; Vosges Marshies; and more!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

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How Snacking the Right Way Gets You Through the Day

Keto, paleo, intermittent fasting, hunger-striking—there are many ways to eat these days. 

Then there’s the traditional, good ‘ol fashion snacking. We’re all familiar with this scenario: three o’clock hits, your energy is plummeting faster than a cell phone battery running 30 apps, and you’re eyeing that vending machine in the corner, thinking of all the crispy, crunchy, sugary delights inside.

There’s a better way to snack, and done right, snacking can be your trusty sidekick, always there to give you the right energy push and keep you on track.

The Perks of Picking Proper Snacks

First off, let’s debunk a myth: snacking isn’t the villain some make it out to be. It’s not about eating less, but eating smarter. 

Strategically timed snacks can keep your blood sugar levels steady, preventing those roller coaster highs and lows that leave you feeling like a deflated balloon by mid-afternoon.

Moreover, smart snacking can rev up your metabolism. Think of your body like a car–if you never give it fuel or plug it into a charging station, it’s not going to run very smoothly. 

Consistent, small bits of nourishment can keep your engine purring along.

Quality Over Quantity

Not all snacks are created equal. 

While that triple-chocolate-mega-cookie from the office cafeteria might look tempting, it’s not going to do you any favors in the energy department.

Aim for snacks that have a mix of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. This combo is the Holy Trinity of snacking. It will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and provide sustained energy. 

You can’t go wrong (barring allergies) with almonds and fruit, Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of granola, or hummus and veggies.

Plan Ahead and Pack It Up

Alright, it’s storytime.

Imagine you’re stranded on a snack-less island. It’s desolate, with nothing but your rumbling stomach for company. Now, replace that island with a never-ending work meeting, and you’ll understand why planning is key.

Having a stash of wholesome, tasty snacks at your disposal can be a lifesaver. Whether you’re storing them in your desk drawer, handbag, car glove compartment, or socks, being prepared means you won’t be caught off guard when hunger strikes.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Okay, technically not a “snack,” but did you know sometimes our bodies confuse thirst with hunger? 

Before reaching for a snack, take a sip of water. If your tummy stops grumbling, it might’ve just been a bit parched.

Know Yourself

Lastly, listen to your body. 

Everyone’s different. Some folks might thrive on three square meals, while others (like me) need a nibble every couple of hours to keep the grumpiness at bay. Find what works best for you, and don’t let snacking be a source of stress.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Did you know that we create snack baskets? What a coincidence!

Our Fall Snacker Gift Basket is brimming with sweet and savory treats, including Magnolia Bakery banana pudding cookies, Unbound seasoned walnuts, peanut butter bites, smoked cashews, Gary Poppins popcorn, almonds, and more!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.