The top performers in our review are Harry & David, the Gold Award winner; GourmetGiftBaskets, the Silver Award winner; and GiftTree, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a company to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 gift basket providers.
When you realize a birthday or other special occasion is right around the corner it can be pretty tough to come up with a creative gift on very short notice. Normally, there's the careful thought and planning that goes into each gift, the shopping and then wrapping and delivering the present to the intended recipient, all of which takes time. But when you've got a day or even just a few hours to plan, buy, wrap and deliver your present and put in a full day at the office or juggle a busy schedule, it can seem nearly impossible.
The good news, though, is that is possible. The best online gift baskets websites can do the creating for you, making and delivering a heartfelt and impeccable gift very quickly.
These companies run the gambit, from shipping out a box of truffles for Mother's Day or a bottle of champagne for the bride and groom. They can also help a business owner show their appreciation for a client or commemorate the retirement of an employee, even if they are several time zones away.
Modern gift basket options are elegant and refined and often do not include a basket at all. Creative companies collect smaller gifts in tote bags, color-coordinated boxes, cans, briefcases, coolers and more. Items are carefully arranged and packaged to arrive in pristine condition. With so many available options to choose from, one of the most important things to know about a gift basket site is how easy they make it to find the right gift.
Gift Baskets: What We Evaluated, What We Found
Most of the companies in our gift basket reviews have gifts appropriate for significant life events – anniversaries, the birth of a new baby, a death in the family – but the best sites make it easy to find what you're looking for with clearly marked categories and quick, efficient search tools.
You should be able to narrow down initial search results by price, customer reviews and other factors so you can find the perfect fit within just a matter of minutes. Furthermore, gift companies should offer a range of treats and gifts that appeal to the unique preferences and tastes of the recipient. For Mother's Day, for example, you can show your love by sending a box of gourmet, chocolate-dipped strawberries, or, if chocolate isn't her thing, perhaps an elegantly wrapped spa gift caddy brimming with soaps, moisturizer, loofah, even a pair of slippers. The best sites also help you gift in a way that takes into account their preferences and beliefs, with kosher, organic, gluten-free and other gift options to choose from.
Besides the traditional milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's Day and Father's Day, gift companies should offer a range of gifts for other occasions, events or just because. How about letting a loved one serving in the military know you're thinking of them by sending a care package filled with popular snack items like popcorn and candy or a care package for a college student studying for finals? And, finally, for the pet-lovers in your life, you can even send a basket filled with treats and toys for cats and dogs. Even if you do not have time to craft and hand-deliver a gift for a friend or family member, it's nice to show you care with elements of personalization. Imagine your loved one's surprise – and delight – receiving a gift that shows the care and thought you put into their gift.
The best companies let you build on their already good ideas, offering the option to add items to existing gift basket designs. Many also let you custom design a gift basket for your loved one from scratch – you pick the basket and then click to select the items to go into the package.
Since there are many sources of gift baskets online we looked for the ones that make the buying process as simple and pleasant as it can possibly be. You should be able to send baskets to multiple addresses on one order, for instance. You should be able to mouse over and zoom in on baskets so you know exactly what each package contains.
We prefer sites that use a third-party entity to verify transactions. This reduces the risk of having your credit card or other personal information inadvertently shared. The best gift baskets sites also offer ways to pay that do not involve your credit card directly, like PayPal, for example.
Sometimes the hardest people to buy gifts for are those who live far away. That's why we like the companies that can ship to virtually anywhere in the world. Free shipping for closer addresses also is a welcome convenience. We also looked for companies that allow you to choose when the gift arrives. You can place your order far in advance but have it delivered later when the actual occasion approaches.
Gift Baskets: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Harry & David, GourmetGiftBaskets and GiftTree, the top gift basket companies we reviewed, offer excellent quality products and have websites that are very user friendly. They have a wide selection of high-quality gift baskets that are perfect for many special occasions, helping you share your sentiment and support, even if you're in another part of the world.
Today's offerings go beyond the fruit-and-nut gift baskets of the past. While you can still send a traditional fruit basket, you can also send a package filled with gourmet popcorn, cake pops, clothing, plush toys, tea, snack food, cookies, cheesecake and much more. In short, you can give a gift long distance that is still specific to a special person on their big day rather than a generic gesture. Read our articles about gift baskets for even more information.