Food is one of the easiest and most appreciated themes to use for a gift basket. Bake several batches of cookies, and package six or eight of each kind to include in the basket. If the recipient likes to bake, print a favorite recipe on a nice note card, and provide pre-measured bags holding all the necessary ingredients. Alternatively, pack the basket with candy, or make homemade crackers, and pair them with a few kinds of cheese.
A homemade basket doesn't have to include only items made by hand. Make a coffee basket packed with different blends, flavoring syrups and a coffee mug or two. For a beer lover, fill a basket with individual bottles of unusual brews as well as a bottle opener and a gift card to a nearby brewery or pub.
Craft and activity baskets are also popular. Pick out a few balls of yarn, some knitting needles and an introductory knitting book. Make a kid-friendly basket by collecting art supplies, activity books and clay.
A movie theme is also something that appeals to a wide audience. Include popcorn kernels, popcorn seasonings, a favorite DVD and passes to the local theater.
If the recipient has a hobby, use it as the theme for the basket. For instance, give a gardener a basket filled with seed packets, a decorative trowel and a new pair of sturdy work gloves.