It’s the season for giving, and as event planners and lovers of shopping local, Ina Miller and Marcella Kragel know a thing or two about assembling the perfect gift basket. Here, their creative list of local ideas is the perfect last-minute gift to all of us!

There are so many thoughtful and creative ways to let friends and family know you appreciate them during this holiday season. As event planners, we’re big believers in the ability of a good gift basket to make someone feel appreciated. Of course, we’re talking about something more than a pre-packaged basket of muffins or fruit.

We know how a carefully-curated swag bag can make every guest feel fussed over and thanked, so we tend to think of gift baskets as a more personal version of The Swag Bag. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s too hard to pick just one thing for a treasured friend.

To spare you time spent scouring stores, here are a few of our favorite sources and basket-stuffers. We have one for just about every type of friend on your list.

“A Good Night Sleep” Basket

This is perfect for the out-of-towner just in for the holidays. Our version would include; something that smells great, so pretty much anything from Peace of the Earth (801 E Market Street), a great bottle of wine, like Boredough from Old 502 Winery (120 S 10th Street), an oversize cozy scarf from Local Etsy (, and for a final touch, throw in a beautiful journal and pen from Celebrations (3632 Brownsboro Road) with a handwritten inscription thanking your guest for staying with you and providing space to record the day’s happenings.

“The Louisville Local” Basket

We’re sure everyone has sent or received a “Best of Kentucky” themed basket, but by focusing on our eclectic city, you can surprise your guests with something beyond the standard bourbon balls and horseshoes. While a little bourbon can’t hurt, if you mix it with your favorite local treats, you elevate the predictable into something special. Our perfect mix would be a bottle of Blade and Bow (found at almost any local liquor store, but we like Old Town Wine and Spirits at 1528 Bardstown Road), colorful thumb-print cookies from Plehn’s Bakery (3940 Shelbyville Road), and locally roasted coffee from Good Folks ( Round it out with a personalized Louisville Stoneware Mug (371 Brent Street).

“Celebrate the Louisville Arts” Basket

We are big fans of Louisville’s vibrant art scene and feel it often doesn’t get the credit due from out-of-towners. Open their eyes to all our city has to offer with a basket inspired by our amazing local artists, from visual, to performing, and culinary. We would start with a beautiful coloring book from Carmichael’s Kids (1313 Bardstown Road), colored pencils from Preston Art’s Center (3048 Bardstown Road), a small piece of handmade local art from Mellwood Arts Complex, and passes to the Speed Art Museum (2035 S 3rd Street). Top it all off with two gift certificates: one for lunch to the Speed Museum’s delicious Wiltshire at the Speed restaurant and another to a favorite live music venue like Gerstle’s Place (3801 Frankfort Avenue) or Butchertown Social (1601 Story Avenue).

Pre-Made Upgrades

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to shop around. Try these easy hacks to upgrade pre-made baskets.

1. Ditch the basket, and by that, we mean the actual basket, for something more unexpected. For example, a fun Louisville themed tote from 5-0-Lou (2235 Frankfort Avenue) will give the recipient something fun to use the next time they visit the farmer’s market and remind them of how thoughtful you are.

2. Brighten up gourmet food baskets with something freshly baked from Fleur-di-Lis Bakery (1759 Bardstown Road) or fresh flowers to make it look more luxurious.

3. Add one special extra item that will tie the generic basket to the individual you are gifting it to. For instance, a gift card to a favorite restaurant turns a wine and chocolate basket into a romantic after-dinner treat for a favorite couple, just the way tickets to the Derby Museum (704 Central Avenue) turn a Kentucky themed basket into a treasured memory for Kentucky first-timers.

Ina Marcella Events is a full service event planning and creative consulting business co-owned by Ina Miller and Marcella Kragel. With shared backgrounds in the arts and non-profit management, and a mutual passion for community engagement, Ina and Marcella have developed a unique approach to event planning aimed at creating inspired one-of-a-kind events for their clients.   Ina and Marcella have been friends for twenty years and each is married with three kids.

Posted on 2017-12-08 by Marcella Kragel and Ina Miller