Updated on: Feb 11, 2024
You can set the tone for your entire event by greeting your travel-weary guests with these personal welcome basket ideas. If you present guests with something unique when they first walk in the door, they’ll be sure to always remember your occasion- from a wedding or anniversary party to a quinceanera, bar/bat mitzvah, or graduation party. Make sure that your welcome basket is in line with your theme, and feel free to personalize it to make it even more special. Below is a list of practical and simple welcome basket ideas.
Welcome Basket Ideas: Alternative Containers
Not all welcome baskets have to look the same. Here are some creative ways to spruce up the exterior into something fun and exciting.
1. Personalized Gift Bags
Customize each bag with the name of the guest receiving it and thank them or welcome them to your event.
2. Wooden Crates
For a rustic or country look, use wooden crates. You can even personalize the crate with the date of your event or with something unique for each guest.
3. Beach Bags
What says beach more than a beach bag? This is a practical option that will get much usage from your guests.
4. Sand Pails
This is great for a beach-themed event and is inexpensive and fun, especially for your younger guests.
5. Picnic Baskets
Encourage your guests to picnic more often by supplying them with their welcome goodies in a picnic basket. This is an excellent option for any outdoor event.
6. Reusable Fabric Bags
Today, many people are concerned about our effect on the environment, so give your guests something reusable. This practical gift is useful for guests and can also be used in other areas.
For a garden party or environmental party, give your guests’ gifts in a flowerpot. They can be used later on by the guests, and you can find them in bulk at your local garden store or for plastic ones, your local craft store. You never know, the flowerpot might inspire your guests with more garden ideas for at home!
This is another practical gift that is useful for your guests, especially if they are going to have time to wander around the town.
9. Ice Buckets
For something unique, stuff goodies into an ice bucket. An ice bucket makes a terrific holder for Champagne or a bottle of wine and glasses for an elegant event.
10. Ceramic Vases
If you are crafty, you can even paint your own vases and give each guest a handmade, personalized vase. Use different colors or patterns to match the event.
A mug full of small items is convenient for people who are short on luggage space. These are easy to fit in a backpack and super useful for those who enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning.
Using a hat adds a little extra flair to your gifts when you match the hat to the theme of your event. It can also fit several small items while also being something that your guests can keep with them as a memento.
13. Colanaders/Mixing Bowl
For a housewarming or pasta party you can even use a colander or mixing bowl as they make for a great container to hold lots of different food items. The basket themselves can even be of use to them later.
Common Welcome Basket Ideas
Fuel those midnight munchies by giving your guests a few packages of snacks that they can munch on between meals. These can be fun snacks like candy or sweets, homemade snacks like homemade bread/sweet bread, and other options like granola bars, dried fruit, and macaroons.
15. Wine or Champagne with (plastic) glasses
Include a full bottle of wine or Champagne along with a set of glasses. Depending on the venue, you should use plastic cup options if there is a pool area.
16. Area Information
Are most of the guests unfamiliar with the surrounding area? Include a fun facts sheet or an informational pamphlet about all the local places to explore. You could even include items that are made or grown locally which could serve as mementos of the occasion and add to your welcome basket ideas.
17. Dining Menus
If most of your guests are from out of town, include a variety of different dining menus from local restaurants. If you’ve eaten at the place before, circle your personal recommendations. Include recommendations for restaurants that deliver, casual restaurants, and more upscale restaurants in the area to cover everyone’s preferences.
Give your guests coupons or discounts to local attractions or tours to take in all the location has to offer. Look online or ask the hotel if they have any special deals.
19. Travel Guide
These are free from Visitors Bureaus or Chamber of Commerce. This provides your guests with ideas of extra-local activities they can enjoy. Include a highlighted list and descriptions of your favorite places around the area. Compile a range of different activities that would appeal to all people and age groups.
Practical Welcome Basket Ideas
Guests commonly forget essential toiletry items at home. Set up a little basic toiletries package, such as toothpaste, dental floss, water bottles, razors, shaving cream, nail polish remover, chapstick, coconut oil for hair, or cotton swabs.
Include practical attire items related to the location of your event. If you’re holding your event in the winter, include gloves, scarves, hand warmers, a crochet blanket, and thick socks. If you’re planning an event in a warmer climate, including sunglasses, beach hats, and towels.
22. Universal Charger
When going away either on vacation or to an event, people sometimes forget their phone charger at home. Find a universal charger that will charge any device and throw that in the welcome basket.
23. Just-in-case medication
You never know what or when something might hit someone unannounced! Ensure your welcome baskets include medications for allergies, headaches, stomach aches, and other common sicknesses. Now, if someone wakes up feeling sick, they can grab what they need. This eliminates them from feeling guilty about waking you up for help because they already have everything they could need in their welcome basket.
Welcome Basket Ideas: Activities to Include for Adults
24. Crossword Puzzles
Oldie, but a goodie! These puzzles will help pass the time as your guests try to figure out the clues. It offers a relaxing activity that can be done individually or with the help of others.
25. Movie Gift Cards
If your event includes free time for your attendees, provide them with a movie gift card to a large chain in the area. That way, if they don’t use the whole gift card, they can take it home.
26. Delivery Service Gift Cards
A gift card to a local delivery service such as Grubhub or DoorDash is a perfect gift basket idea. Not everyone has the time or luxury of going out or making food themselves. A gift card for a delivery service will give them so many options to choose from.
Welcome Basket Ideas: Activities for Kids
27. Travel (magnetic) Games
For kids, it’s all about keeping them preoccupied. These small travel games are great because the pieces magnetize to the board in case you hit a rough patch in the road. There are so many choices including checkers, tic-tac-toe, and more. Find a pack of 12 on Amazon.
28. Coloring Books and Crayons
Give kids a coloring book, which can be found at local craft or general stores that appeals to their age and gender. This is an excellent activity for kids to do while stuck in the hotel room while their parents get ready.
Get a kid-friendly puzzle of the local area to keep them occupied. Consider the ages of the kids and decide on the type of puzzle for them, for example, giving a younger child fewer pieces to put together. For family reunions, you can even get puzzles made from a photograph of the family.
Welcome Basket Ideas: Personalizing the Basket
Now that you’ve addressed some of the necessary items that can be put into a welcome basket, adding a personal touch will help these gifts feel even more special. Guests will feel even more appreciated by the thoughtfulness you added.
30. Representative of You
Fill the welcome basket with items that are meaningful to the celebrant. If you have an outspoken love for cheesy popcorn, throw in a bag of your favorite brand for everyone to try. You can even add tags explaining the item and why it is important to you. Additionally, throw in something that your partner loves too to go along with the event.
31. Personalized Gifts
If you are worried about making welcome baskets too similar, you can personalize each basket with gifts for that specific person. Don’t be afraid to make baskets entirely different because it gives you room to appeal to your guests' individual interests and tastes. Each guest will love how tailored it is.
However, note that this is truly only viable with smaller gatherings of close friends and family. Attempting this for larger gatherings will be highly difficult and increase the chances of an embarrassing mistake. Some ideas include writing a personalized letter, framing a photo of you and your guest, a personalized mason jar, or creating a piece of art they'd enjoy.
For family members or friends you may not have seen in a long time, a photo collage of some past pictures is a good throwback to give them. This can spark nostalgia in their hearts and can be a good conversation starter.
33. Record a Video
Ditch the traditional ideas for baskets if you think your guests won’t use any of the items in it and instead, record a funny video welcoming your guests. Burn the disc and leave it in each room or at the check-in desk at the hotel. Make sure the room has a DVD player though! This will give everyone a fun throwback feeling before the time of phones and online streaming.
If you do want to opt for a more up-to-date option, print out a piece of paper with a YouTube link on it. When guests arrive at their room, they’ll be able to type in the link into their smartphone or computer and access your YouTube channel. Be sure to set the settings to “anyone with a link can view” to make it more private and not searchable outside of your group.
34. Thank You Note
It’s always great to include a personally written note to thank each guest for taking time from their busy lives to come to your event. This is especially important if the guests had to take time off or fly from far away. Let them know how much you appreciated them coming and supporting you. Do make sure each note is personalized rather than using any sort of template.
35. T-shirt for Event
If you are hosting a corporate event or even a family reunion and have a specific attire you want your guests to come dressed in, that shirt can serve as their welcome gift. Treating them to the shirt ensures that everyone has the proper attire and can double as their takeaway from the event.
This can be fun for events that include competing on teams as you can create shirts with numbers and last names on them. For extra fun, use everyone’s nicknames and write those on the back to make it more exciting.
For events taking place in a tourist destination, save your guests some time and hassle of finding souvenirs by picking up some generic ones and placing them in their welcome basket. Suggestions: t-shirts, postcards, magnets, keychains or pens. These all serve as a fun way to introduce them to the event and venue.
Additionally, the hotel should be able to provide pamphlets about spots around town and sites to see, so be sure to ask ahead and have them provide some for your guests.
Welcome Basket Ideas: COVID-19 Additions
Nowadays, it's such an undertaking to travel now: Fewer options for leisure, travel restrictions, and more. Adding some COVID-conscious favors to your welcome basket ideas is not only responsible but eases travel-related stress for your guests.
37. Hand Sanitizer or Sanitary Wipes
Filling the basket with hand sanitizer or wipes is not only appropriate but also helps ease the minds of your guests. If your guests stay at a hotel or local bed & breakfast, adding wipes to the baskets comes in handy when staying at a shared space. A fun idea is to customize the container or scent of the sanitizer to match the event!
38. Custom Masks
A daily necessity for the wellbeing of your guests and yourself! Many online retailers are now selling customs masks. You could either print the names of your guest or maybe relevant images. Creating a custom design will not only create unique favors but also keep your guest safe.
39. COVID-19 Guide/Info
If your guests are coming from out of town, making a COVID-friendly guide will help them navigate. This guide could include the policies and COVID-related restrictions in the area, places to eat, what to do, and what should be avoided. This favor is both informative and encourages safety.
40. Gift Cards or Coupons
Due to current events, many outdoor activities, local restaurants, and eateries are closed. Gift Cards or Coupons to some of your favorite places are convenient favors. Besides food-related gift cards, you could also share streaming or video gift cards and have a movie night.
41. Video or Board Games
With most activities being restricted to inside their own homes, why not include some games that your guests and their families can enjoy in the safety of their house. These will add an extra level of value to your welcome basket ideas.
Welcome Basket Ideas: Conclusion
The welcome baskets will provide guests with an immediate introduction to the surrounding area, the event, and also some entertainment. Making the baskets personal will get guests excited and ready for the party. Be sure to consider where your event is being held, how many guests are attending, and what they might find useful. Hopefully, these welcome basket ideas have helped you prepare for future guests! Check out our blog for more gift ideas!
Written by Kasey Dolezal, Brittany Schmidt, and Caitlin Connell; Contributors: June Park and Elisabeth Blair