Author Archives: Lise

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!

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

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.

BasketWorks Is All Over Social Media. Don’t Miss Out!

To clarify: we are not over social media in the sense that it’s beneath us, and nor we are done with it. 

Au contraire. BasketWorks is very active on social media, because we have a lot of cool products and creations to show and tell. Our emails containing our blog posts and newsletters are but one way of reaching you. 

Today’s blog post provides your guide to where you can find us on social media and the type of content we’re putting out there. 

Facebook or Meta. Whatever

Remember Facebook? The kids may not be active there, but 1) youth is wasted on the young and 2) Facebook remains the largest social media networking platform to the tune of 3 billion users, which, if you made a country out of them, would be the most populated country in the world. 

When you check out our Facebook page, you’ll mostly find videos of new inventory that I reveal. Some refer to these as “unboxing”, but at the end of the day, you’ll get a behind the scenes look at the latest and greatest products to be featured in our gift baskets. 

Instagram

You’ll find our videos on Instagram, as well, plus lots of pictures of our finished baskets and testimonials. 

The testimonials aren’t there to inflate my head–I’m not going to lie; they do feel good–but rather to demonstrate our credibility, quality of service, customer satisfaction, and value proposition so that you can feel confident that you’re doing business with the right folks. 

Threads

There’s a Russian nesting doll theme happening: Facebook owns Instagram, and Threads is the offspring of Instagram. 

Threads has Twitter vibes with a sprinkle of Instagram aesthetics. With a 500-character post cap, it lets you jazz up your feed with photos and videos. 

But compared to our posts on Facebook and Instagram, I pull back the curtain and share more candid messaging on Threads. I find that there are more similarities than differences with my business and “personal” branding. I like to get real, and I’m glad that people can relate. 

Also, Mark Zuckerberg has waited a long time to land a punch on Twitter, and so far this is his best shot. 

🚨SHAMELESS, NON SEQUITUR PLUG ALERT🚨

We’re attempting fall here in Chicagoland, given the warm temperatures and all. 

But it’s still fall, and if you want to make someone’s season extra special, surprise them with our 

Flavors of Fall Gift Basket, bursting with an abundance of flavors, like mulling spices, Anna’s ginger cookies, Nibbles chocolate chunks, RayZyns wine raisins, smoked cashews, 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, InstagramThreads and LinkedIn.

5 Remedies for the Pesky Cold & Flu Season

We’re two days away from the official start of autumn, which signals the changing of foliage colors, the start of hoodie season, another Chicago Bears disappointing start, and the cold and flu season. 

We’re not doctors over here, but we are parents, and we have years of experience tending to our household when they are under the weather. Before you resign yourself to a season full of sniffles and coughs, arm yourself with these five natural remedies to fend off those pesky viruses.

1. Echinacea: Nature’s Immune Booster

Originating from Native American traditional medicine, Echinacea has been used for centuries as a remedy for various ailments. 

When it comes to colds and flu, this plant may be your immune system’s best friend. Research suggests that Echinacea can boost immune function, helping to ward off those nasty viruses. 

While it’s available in various forms like teas and supplements, always consult with a healthcare provider before adding any new herbal remedy to your routine.

2. Honey and Lemon: The Dynamic Duo

Sonny and Cher. Abbot and Costello. Thelma and Louise. They got nothin’ on honey and lemon. 

Your grandmother might have sworn by this, and guess what? She was on to something. Honey is not only sweet, but it also contains natural antibacterial properties, which can soothe a sore throat and suppress coughs. Lemon, packed with vitamin C, aids the immune system and balances the body’s pH levels. It’s also an antibacterial.

Warm up some water, squeeze in fresh lemon juice, add a dollop of honey, and voila, your throat may start to feel better, and better is always good. 

3. Ginger: The Root of Relief

There’s a reason why ginger has been used in traditional medicine across various cultures for eons. 

This fiery root is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. A steaming cup of ginger tea can not only alleviate symptoms like sore throat and congestion but also combat nausea, which sometimes accompanies the flu. 

Grate fresh ginger into boiling water, let it steep for a few minutes, strain, and enjoy. For an extra kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. 

4. Feel the Steam

We’ve all been there—a head so congested it could pass for Thanksgiving stuffing. 

Breathing in some steam is a time-tested method to relieve this. Fill a bowl with hot water, drape a towel over your head, and inhale deeply. The steam helps moisten the nasal passages, allowing mucus to flow more freely. Add a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil for added benefits and to feel like you’ve brought the spa into your living room.

5. Stay Hydrated: Water to the Rescue

Water does more than just sit in a glass, creating condensation. 

Staying hydrated is crucial when battling the cold or flu. Fluids help flush out toxins from your system, keep mucus (eww) thin, and soothe a scratchy throat. Water is excellent, but herbal teas and broths are also beneficial. Just remember to avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can be dehydrating.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Speaking of remedies, a little care package goes a long way. 

We present our Get Well Wishes Gift Basket, a recuperating-themed gift box filled with cozy socks, playing cards, a crossword puzzle book, snack mix, Claey’s hard candy, and tea. 

It’s just what the BasketWorks “doctors” ordered. 

Feel better!

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 and LinkedIn.

Halloween Globetrotting: Ghosts with Different Postal Codes

Ah, Halloween! The only time of the year when it’s not just acceptable but encouraged to eat candy for breakfast and pretend you’re someone (or something) else. 

While many of us associate Halloween with pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, and perhaps a spooky movie marathon, it turns out that our ghostly friends and candy corn traditions aren’t universal. 

It’s time to pull out your global atlas (or, you know, just Google Maps) and let’s embark on a bewitching journey to see how the world gets its spook on.

Dia de los Muertos – Mexico

Mexico, ever the overachiever in the holiday department, doesn’t just celebrate Halloween for a day but turns it into a three-day fiesta known as Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. 

Far from a somber occasion, this festival is a vibrant affair. Think of it as a family reunion, only that some of the family members are, well, deceased. With sugar skulls, marigolds, and beautifully adorned altars, Mexicans honor their departed loved ones, remembering that death, just like life, is something to be celebrated.

Pangangaluluwa – Philippines

In the Philippines, the night before All Saints’ Day sees youngsters singing and dancing in a manner that’s vaguely reminiscent of caroling. 

But instead of jingle bells and Santa hats, we’re talking about ghostly tunes. Oh, and if you don’t reward these spooky serenaders with goodies? Prepare for some minor, harmless pranks. It’s all in good spirit (pun totally intended).

The Hungry Ghost Festival – China

Let’s hop over to China, where the Hungry Ghost Festival takes center stage. 

During the seventh month of the lunar calendar, it’s believed that restless spirits roam the Earth. To appease these wanderers, folks offer food, money, and even concerts. That’s right; in the afterlife, spirits apparently still have a penchant for good music. 

Dzień Zaduszny – Poland

Say it with me…actually, I can’t pronounce it. 

Still, Poland’s Dzień Zaduszny, or All Souls’ Day, is a tad more reflective. Candles and flowers adorn graves, illuminating cemeteries in a mesmerizing dance of flickering lights. This is a moment to honor the departed, and a candlelit Polish cemetery is said to be eerily breathtaking, without the need for any Hollywood special effects.

La Fête d’Halloween – France

Par le vous Halloween? 

Oh là là, do they know how to add a touch of chic in France! With costume parties and eerie soirées in the catacombs of Paris (because a haunted underground party is always a good idea), the French add their signature panache to the spooky season.

Samhain – Ireland & Scotland

Back to where it all began! 

Samhain, originating from ancient Celtic traditions, marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. With bonfires, traditional foods, and probably a leprechaun or two hidden somewhere, the Irish and Scots delve into an ancient celebration that’s the granddaddy of the Halloween we know.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Did you really think we’d conclude without shamelessly plugging one of our can’t-miss gift baskets? 

Unwrap a spellbinding array of delights with our Trick or Treat Halloween basket! From the aromatic mulling spices to the rich Vosges Marshies, and the classic Hershey’s kisses, this basket is bursting with treats that’ll make goblins and ghosts alike gleeful. 

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 and LinkedIn.

5 Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Today, we’re exploring the often-underrated gem of the natural world–the unassuming sunflower seed.

You know those little nibbles you enjoy at baseball games or casually toss onto your salads? They’re more than just tasty tidbits; they’re packed with health benefits that can keep you feeling vibrant and well. 

Curious? Here are 5 reasons why:

1. The Great Cholesterol Conquest

Let’s dive straight into the heart of the matter—cardiac health. 

Sunflower seeds, despite their modest size, are quite the overachievers in the nutrition world. They’re loaded with phytosterols—a term you might not drop at dinner parties, but perhaps you should. These are plant compounds adept at keeping cholesterol in check. 

Consider them the sophisticated secret agents of the seed domain. So, the next time you savor them, picture a discreet elite force safeguarding your arteries. Quite the imagery, isn’t it?

2. Magnesium Mania

Ever felt as if your energy levels might land you a lead role in “The Walking Dead”? Here’s a thought: magnesium.

It’s not just a fancy element on the periodic table—sunflower seeds are teeming with it. Magnesium, it turns out, is quite the unsung hero in bodily operations, not least of which is energy production. 

The line between feeling utterly drained and having a sprightly step could well be drawn with sunflower seeds. Who knew?

3. Vitamin E All Day

Sunflower seeds are a rich source of Vitamin E, an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy skin and eyes. 

This antioxidant property helps combat free radicals in the body, supporting overall health, and you know how we feel about antioxidants. Regularly including sunflower seeds in your diet can contribute significantly to your daily Vitamin E intake. Their nutritional profile makes them not only a tasty snack but also a beneficial one for overall well-being.

4. Mood Boosters

Feeling a tad glum? Grab a handful of these tiny mood-enhancers. 

Rich in selenium, sunflower seeds are nature’s way of giving us a gentle lift. It’s almost like they have a hidden agenda to make us happier. The only real risk: you might find yourself becoming an unexpected fan of these little wonders.

5. Snack for Healthy Skin

The magic compound squalene, found in abundance in sunflower seeds, not only acts as a potent antioxidant but also offers a natural way to give your skin that sought-after glow. Its unique molecular structure allows it to effectively combat skin-damaging free radicals, playing a key role in maintaining skin health and elasticity. 

I should caution you to only eat the seeds, not the whole flower. But if you do, you must report back to me and share what the experience was like. 

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

What an opportunity to combine two of our favorite things, sunflower seeds and the Chicago Cubs (and the Cubs are in second place, too!) Check out our Cubs Cooler Gift Basket , featuring such wonderful vittles as David’s Sunflower Seeds, Cubs Krispie Treat, Cubs Pez, Cubs Pint glass, Cubs Koozie, 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 and LinkedIn.

How to Write a Thank You Card: A Guide for the Gratefully Baffled

Writing a thank you card is a delicate art, much like making a soufflé without a meltdown. 

But fear not! In the world of gratitude, where emotions run high and the price of stamps runs even higher, I’m here to guide you through the labyrinth of thank you card writing. Grab your favorite pen, find a card that doesn’t feature cartoon animals (unless that’s your style, of course), and let’s dive in.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Card

First things first: you must choose the perfect card. 

Anything less than perfect, and it’s all over. Actually it’s not. Just needed a little dramatic effect. 

Now, this isn’t akin to choosing a life partner, but let’s not trivialize the matter. The right card speaks volumes about your appreciation level. 

Go for gold embossed letters if you’re feeling fancy or a simple, elegant design if minimalism is your game. Remember, glitter is like cilantro: some people love it, others feel like it’s attacking their senses.

Step 2: Addressing the Elephant (or the Recipient)

This is where you write the person’s name. Not your name, your dog’s name, or the name of your favorite celebrity. 

Start with “Dear [Person’s name],” if you’re traditional, or “Hey [Nickname],” if you’re feeling adventurous. But let’s keep “Yo” or “Sup” for texting, shall we?

Step 3: Thanking with Style

Now comes the fun part. Here, you’ll attempt to put your gratitude into words without sounding like a Shakespearean actor auditioning for a soap opera. 

Begin with “Thank you for…” and then describe the gift, favor, or reason. If you’re struggling, just be honest: “Thank you for the sweater. I appreciate the time you took to choose something in my favorite color: invisible.”

Step 4: The Personal Touch

You’ve nailed the thank you part, and now for a dash of personality. 

This is where you can be creative, thoughtful, or mildly humorous. For example:

“I can’t wait to wear the sweater at family gatherings, where it will surely outshine Aunt Gertrude’s infamous casserole.”

Step 5: The Grand Conclusion

Here’s where you wrap it up.

A simple “Thanks again,” followed by “Sincerely,” “With love,” or “Yours appreciatively” will do. If you feel like leaving a cliffhanger, that’s up to you, but this isn’t a season finale, it’s a thank you card.

Step 6: The Signature

Sign your name. 

If you’re worried your signature looks like the work of a toddler holding a crayon, you’re not alone. Just remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Step 7: Address, Stamp, Send!

Finally, address the envelope, put a stamp in the right corner (not the left, we’re not anarchists here), and drop it in the mailbox. 

Take a deep breath; you’ve just sent a piece of tangible appreciation through the mail. Celebrate with a dance, a cookie, or both.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Speaking of ways to say thank you, there’s no better way to do it than with our Down Time Relaxation Gift Basket, replete with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, wine cheese, chocolates, crackers, and more! 

Don’t forget the thank you card. 

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 and LinkedIn.

How to Build a Heartwarming College Care Package

It’s that season again! 

No, not the annual synchronized squirrel migration, but that special time when our beloved offspring, otherwise known as “college students”, flock to their academic nests, leaving a void in our homes. 

To fill this void (and keep our sanity), we resort to an age-old tradition that involves more love than a Valentine’s Day card and less judgment than Aunt Martha’s fruitcake: the college care package.

Now, you might be wondering, “How do I create a heartwarming college care package that won’t end up being used as a doorstop or traded for an off-brand energy drink?” 

Fear not, dear parents; would we ever steer you in the wrong direction?

1. First-Class Food

Since time immemorial, college students have been known to sustain on a diet of Ramen and hope. 

So, let’s give their microwave a break and their taste buds a treat. Homemade brownies, trail mix, granola bars, or any non-perishable goodies are a fabulous start. But remember, a little surprise wouldn’t hurt. Throw in that spicy beef jerky or those hot Cheetos they love.

2. Mental Munchies

Trust me, even the biggest bookworm craves some literary relief after the twentieth chapter of “Advanced Theoretical Quantum Mechanics.”

Slip in a comic book, a gripping thriller, or even that guilty-pleasure gossip magazine. Not a fan of print? An audiobook or a streaming service gift card can be an oasis in the desert of textbooks.

3. The Practical Parcel

It’s not all about indulgence. I mean, it should always be, but that’s for another blog post. 

From a pocket-sized first aid kit to an all-purpose Swiss knife, practical items are always appreciated (although not as much as the brownies). Laundry pods, hand sanitizers, and extra-long phone charging cables make it into the Hall of Fame of this category. 

For an extra laugh, include a hilariously out-of-place item like a ‘how to survive a zombie apocalypse’ guidebook. They’ll appreciate your consideration for all potential crises. Or they may just roll their eyes. Either way, you’ll get a reaction. 

4. Personal Touches

These items are the proverbial cherry on top. 

Think pictures of the family pet in ridiculous costumes, a heartfelt letter, or even an embarrassing childhood toy. It reminds them of home and, more importantly, it gives them something to show off (or blackmail material, depending on how you see it).

So, take these tips, add a pinch of creativity, a splash of humor, and loads of love. Voila! You’ve just prepared the perfect recipe for a heartwarming college care package. And remember, if all else fails, you can always resort to including cash. You know, for those “educational expenses”… or more hot Cheetos.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Jeez, if only there were a gift basket to shamelessly plug here to match the theme…

Oh yeah! How about our Collegiate Corner Gift Basket? This winner is stocked with: Cookie Dough Dibble Bites; ready-to-drink liquid brew coffee, Tate’s Tiney cookies; peanut butter bites, Jelly Belly’s; Garrett’s popcorn, 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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The Origin of Beer: What You Need to Know

Welcome, ye thirsty seekers of knowledge! 

You’re not just here for the suds; you want to know where your beloved brewski came from. Pull up a bar stool as we embark on a hop-fueled journey back in time to uncover the frothy origins of the world’s favorite adult beverage.

The Dawn of Inebriation

Let’s turn back the clocks to around 7,000 BC, when our ancestors in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iran) discovered that damp grains could ferment into a delightful, mood-altering concoction. 

Instead of calling a mold specialist, they called their friends for a party. 

This early beverage was not exactly the crisp pilsner or rich stout we know today, but our resourceful ancestors seemed to think it was the bee’s knees.

Hieroglyphics and Hangovers

As civilization (and hangovers) spread, so did beer. 

The ancient Egyptians took up the brewing baton with gusto, leaving copious evidence of their penchant for a pint. Their hieroglyphics weren’t just random squiggles—these were instructions for a homebrewing kit! 

They even had a goddess of beer, Ninkasi, who surely saw more prayers than the god of doing your chores.

The Romans: Grape Enthusiasts

Then the Romans, the killjoys, tried to replace beer with wine, declaring it the civilized choice. 

Tacitus, a Roman historian, even said that beer was a brew of “barley or wheat, a brew which has only a very far removed similarity to wine.” 

Tacitus clearly never attended a college kegger.

The Middle Ages: Monks to the Rescue

During the Middle Ages, monks in monasteries perfected the art of brewing. 

It wasn’t all chanting and scripture; these holy men knew their way around a malt. In fact, they innovated brewing techniques and invented some beer styles we still enjoy today, like the dubbel and tripel. 

The vow of silence probably wasn’t too hard to keep with a decent brew in hand.

Reinheitsgebot: Boring But Crucial

Fast forward to 1516 AD, and we hit the German Reinheitsgebot, the beer purity law. 

It sounds dull, but stick with me. This law limited beer ingredients to water, barley, and hops. That’s like limiting a painter to three colors! Still, it led to a focus on high-quality ingredients and gave us the delightful lagers we know and love today.

Modern Beers: A Boozy Renaissance

Today, we’re in a golden age of brewing, with thousands of breweries around the world and a seemingly infinite array of styles. 

From the hoppy punch of American IPAs to the funky depths of Belgian sours, we’ve got it all. Beer has truly come a long way from its humble origins of damp, fermented grain.

Beer: It’s not just a beverage; it’s history in a glass. Cheers to that!

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Speaking of beer, it’s time to elevate your brew experience with our Beer to Go Gift Cooler. Outfitted with a rugged, waxed cotton canvas exterior and a comfy, adjustable shoulder strap, it’s packed with Chicago’s finest micro-brews. With a handy, retractable bottle opener and a slotted top flap for easy access, your favorite beer is always just a reach away. Enjoy freshness and convenience, all in one package!

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 and LinkedIn.