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Ideas for a holiday raffle basket featuring condiments . . .

I am going to a holiday party for our local garden club that I just joined. They do a raffle at the party as a fundraiser for the club which they use to purchase trees for the local elementary school kids on Arbor Day. Anyway, prior to the raffle they have a "greens" party where everyone brings stuff and they make holiday centerpieces/decorative baskets with greens, etc. Then later in the week they have the party for the larger group of the club and raffle and sell what they made at the party. I don't want to go to the centerpiece making party but I am going to go to the holiday party so I need to bring and item to raffle. Not everyone does the greens.


I have a set of three condiment bowls that I got to go with my cheese tray but I ended up finding another set I like more, so I never used the condiment bowls. They are pretty nice, fairly large and solid. They measure 4 inches square. Pictured below. I want to make up a party bag/basket to go with them. I don't want to spend a huge amount of money but something usable and nice. I also bought some home made dip mixes at a local craft fair so I could incorporate those . . . also have home made green tomato hot dog relish and bruschetta.


I was thinking maybe cheese, dry salami, baguette, home made hotdog relish, ranch seasoning pack and some kind of mustard or maybe even mostarda if I can find it. I'd like to do a third thing, maybe olives?? Also not sure what to get to package it in. I'm guessing a basket with clear wrapping might be best for maximum visibility of the stuff. It's quite a bit, I could leave out the bread, cheese and salami and just do the condiments, but that seems a little odd.


Ideas needed. Photo below of the condiment dishes. I could do a larger condiment assortment . . . I have tomato bruschetta and salsa and the relish that I made and canned, but none of those things go all together. I could do relish, tomato pesto and one other thing, not sure what, snazzy olive oil? I want to get rid of the relish . . . it's good but I have a lot and I won't eat it all that fast. I could do salsa, black bean dip and . . . I hate to invest in canned queso stuff, it's so processed!! Maybe salsa, black bean dip and the ranch dressing mix . . . throw in some unripe avocados . . . they're green . . .






Comments (30)

  • last year

    A streamlined approach would be to cut the lid off you box, line the inside and wrap the outside with 2 contrasting papers, stuff a bit of raffia into each bowl, and the nestle a jar of something yummy into each (do be sure to include some of your own home canned products.) You could then tie a bow including a pretty spoon or spreader.


    I dont think all 3 items must go together but nuts and olives would both make good ’bridges’ for more assertive components.


    On second viewing, your black box looks pretty nice and needs minimal ehancement. Can you tell that I hate the basket part of gift basket?

  • last year

    I don't think the three items need to go together. They can just be linked to the greens theme.


    Some ideas for your third item:

    Green pepper jelly or jalapeno jelly

    Mint jelly

    Salsa verde

    Green goddess dip

    Pistachio paste (or just pistachios if paste is unavailable in your area)


  • last year

    I really like lisaam’s suggestion for the raffia. The black box is fine but removing the lid would work, then enclose it all in clear cello wrap. Tie the cello with a pretty wired bow and add the spreader/spoon lisa mentioned.

    These have cutting boards added for a base. Nice but not necessary, and your condiment bowls are great.


  • last year

    Really good balsamic. Some wonderful artisan breadsticks instead of the baguette. A baguette's only fresh for half a day.

  • last year

    I'm another who won't eat homemade items unless I've seen their kitchen and know their habits.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Well I don't know about this situation, I am known well to the Garden Club and I have taught canning classes locally, so folks know that I am reliable, but yes, who knows what food issues anyone in particular might have that would keep them from bidding on the item. I'll use my home made relish in macaroni salad to take to the potluck part I guess. I always get raves when I bring it. It's easy peasy with the relish already made, just add a can of dark red kidney beans, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped hard boiled eggs, mayo and maybe some chopped celery for color. The relish has all the needed texture and flavoring.

    I found a really nice inexpensive cutting board that I am going to put the three dishes on, and take off the top of the box to show them. Then add a small bag of almonds, the dip mix and then some type of pate that I guess I will have to buy, or a fancy jam or a bag of dried fruit. Then some cheese and crackers and maybe some greens from the yard around the outside, cover with cello and add a red bow, which I have. I think it will be nice because I have the cutting board myself, use it all the time, and could always use another one. It's lighter than my other one so much easier to move around the kitchen and clean . . .

    I'm going to Goodwill later this week. If I can find some little spoons or a cheese knife, those would be nice, or perhaps I will include a package of cocktail picks. I usually put those out at parties but few folks use them, even in these pandemic times . . . I will have to start cutting my cheeses and putting the picks in the slices. BTW, I saw a really cool recipe for small cheese dip balls rolled in nuts, which you could put out on a board, using pretzels stuck in the top as the serving stick. The balls were the perfect size for smearing on a cracker. Solves the problem of many hands on the serving utensils. Looked fun too. You can find all kinds of recipes online, but here's a link to a fun looking one, with different colored things to roll them in.

    https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/mini-cheese-ball-bites/


    Edited to add that googling around I see they have holiday themed cocktail toothpicks with seasonal decorations on top. If I can find some of those in a store they will be a fun addition . . .

  • last year

    I think your reputation serves you well, and people willing to eat potluck will enjoy your pickles in your offering. I just hear a lot of people carping even about jam when it's home canned, which is why I mentioned it. Any of your ideas will work. I think—though there may be a different expectation/culture there—that you don't need to gild the lily. The bowls are nice, The board is nice. The holiday picks sound great, if they're not expensive. Some fancy little edible items are nice, but you don't have to fill out a whole charcuterie platter. Isn't paté expensive? If there's an expectation of a minimum retail value, go for it. But perhaps there will be a relief if there isn't a huge amount of food, and the prize is the bowls and board. Or maybe find something unusual that will attract bids. But my experience with such things where I live might be very different than what the members of your club do and think. For me, the beauty of your garden greens would be a bigger attraction than any food items.

  • last year

    I just used the word "pate" for "paste" meaning some type of spread commercially canned in a little jar. As for the almonds and dried fruit, I already have some little Christmas cello bags that I was just going to fill from my stash. Also already have the dip mix, I bought it to support the cause of the craft fair. I could have easily made my own otherwise. So the only thing I have yet to buy is the cutting board, and it's eight bucks, and the crackers and a larger sheet of cellophane. The cocktail picks I will not get if pricey, although I could probably get them for my own entertaining and just put a few in another one of those cello bags. I got them a few years ago to pack small cookie gifts in . . . they can be cut down to even smaller sizes.

  • last year

    It was not initially clear that you know this crowd since you mentioned just joining the group. So you know best what is appropriate.

    I also have clear gusseted bags i use for gifting. Costco mixed nuts and pistachios in their shell are huge bags. I would rather gift smaller quantities and more variety.

    If possible i would want the original box intact. Maybe fold the top forward and use as a backdrop for the inclusions. Some attending and bidding might want this for gifting. The cutting board may not be necessary. Most have plenty but small serving dishes are usually welcome with the added nuts and such staying on theme.

    Nice size bowls for a few nibbles! I stocked up before thanksgiving---nuts, olives, cornichones, dried fruits, crackers. Small shelf stable salami packages rather than a a full expensive 'log' that needs slicing.

    I would gift your home canned goods to close friends that love it personally. Do add your recipe and ingredients on a tag.

    Most are squemish about home canning for a reason. Back at work, after lockdown, before vaccinations, 2020 holidays DH came home with half a dozen jars of this-n-that from co-workers. Straight to the fridge. Most were moldy by the NewYear.

    Some of my gifting loot....




  • last year

    Oh! Yes, red pepper paste, or spiced fruit spread... I get it now. And certainly to the packets filled at home of almonds and whatnot. I just had a sense from not getting it in your previous that you were needlessly getting sucked into a spending trap. Organizational fundraisers can get that way. Your plan sounds good, and doable.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Although I am new to this particular club/group, it is in my home town, I grew up here and so did my Dad, and my Mom lived here 55 years, so they "know" me . . . one of the joys (or not) of small town living. Half the folks belong to my church . . .

    Edited to add that I am debating about the cutting board. But I have one and I always wish I had another one and it is really inexpensive . . . and I was wondering about taking the top off the box . . . you can't really keep it open very easily . . . unless I set the bags inside the little bowls.

    Heck now I'm thinking just put a bow on the bowls and call it a day! They are really very nice, I shopped around a lot for the bigger size and heft, I just ended up not giving it out as the gift I had intended and not using it myself . . .

  • last year

    Go for it! Think of all the items that are treat baskets. What about the person who wants to contribute by bidding but doesn't want food items? Put a sprig from your garden that won't wilt fast in the bow and let them buy your nice bowls. Even if the half+ who know you from church or childhood trust your home canning, they may feel relieved not to have to more food items.

  • last year

    Ugh, this is becoming such a drag. I can't find my little cello bags. I found one little jar of fig jam, it looks so cute surrounded by red paper confetti. I have looked and looked for anything else that is shelf stable. I might throw in some pre-wrapped biscotti or fill the jars with pre-wrapped Christmas candy, and call it a day. All the jars I have seen have been big. I spent the day shopping in the big city yesterday but couldn't really find anything and I eventually just got exasperated and went home. I can't stand shopping!! Ever!

    Oh, and this is case in point why I can relishes and other things, I can put them up in small jars so I don't have big jars of stuff languishing in the fridge with just me eating them . . .

  • last year

    “Heck now I'm thinking just put a bow on the bowls and call it a day!”

    No problem at all. They’re really nice!

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Do you have some raffia ribbon or curling ribbon? Some kitchen plastic wrap? For individual cookies, cut lengths of plastic wrap about the same length as the width (standard width roll), stacking them, then cut the stack in half. Put the cookie, dried apricots, or whatever, in the center of one piece of wrap, longways, if cookie, face down. Fold bottom to top, then both sides to the middle. Gather the top and tie with a bow, about a foot of ribbon, or whatever suits you. For smaller, thicker things, like shelled nuts, don't cut the stack of wrap in half. Put the nuts about a thid of the way across from one side, in the vertical center. Fold bottom to top, then roll from the short side to long, making a spiral, tucking in the last inch or two. Gather the top and tie. Such wrapping can be stacked in a container and frozen (like for cookies), and defrosted as is. They can be hung with a colored toothpick just under the bow, on a display, or from a similarly placed ornament hook. They look great lined up in a box, or just stood in a basket.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    I bought a few Bonne Maman Advent calendars at Costco for teacher gifts. I haven't opened them but they have 11 small jars of fruit spread and a jar of honey. They would make nice small additions. Their "jam" is by far my favorite. When Costco gets the large jars I stock up for the year.

    I think it's $14 at Costco. https://www.amazon.com/Bonne-Maman-Christmas-Spread-Honey/dp/B09KMHYBPH/ref=sxin_15_pa_sp_search_thematic_sspa?tag=skyahoo-20

  • last year

    Well, it has evolved. Almost done. I finally found a jar of some kind of paste small enough for the cups at my local Aldis! Boy they have nice party foods! The red paper confetti is too messy, so that's out. LR: salted pistachios, fig jam small box of chocolates, pepper artichoke spread.

    It doesn't travel well. I tried wrapping it in a big cellophane bag I bought. Doesn't make it easier to carry and obscures your view of what's inside. I hate to say it, but a nice basket would make the gift easy to carry, if I can find one long enough but not super wide so that it looks sparse . . . I will see what they have at Goodwill and our other local thrift/antique shops. Maybe even try the Dollar store for something plastic . . .



  • last year

    Look what they had at Aldi's and only eight bucks! It says on the box what cheeses all the jams go with. I wish I had seen this earlier! Even wish I had someone to give it to as a gift who would appreciate it. I might buy it just to have on hand as a potential hostess gift . . .



  • last year
  • last year

    Could you maybe stack the plates all on one side, then fill in the empty spaces with your food add-ons so people can see the plates uncovered?

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    I'm going searching for a basket. Will put the open bowl box in the back so folks can see the bowls better, and condiment jars in the front. At least that's my current plan, we'll see if I can find the right sized basket. One with a carrying handle would be great. Folks can donate it back to Goodwill if they don't want the basket. That's where I'm headed, off to Goodwill. Last two times I went by our local thrift shop it was closed. I managed to find two times during the week they weren't open!

  • last year

    The Christmas party and raffle was a success and a lot of fun. BTW, there were gads of home made items, including crafts like wheat weaving, crochet, tie dye, sewing, etc, canned goods, teas, and bath salts and even raw honey. This is a group of crafty industrious ladies. Next year I will not hesitate to include my own home canned items. Oh, and the potluck was super delicious too, every offering a winner!

    Here's the final on my basket. It was a popular item. Due to me already having a lot of the stuff, probably cost me around 25 bucks as the total investment. Basket came from Goodwill. It might come in handy for harvesting stuff with the handle, I have a similar larger one I use for that . . .

    I scored some hand crocheted items (I only thought I was bidding on the turtle coaster but I got the whole lot, potholders, scrubbie (too nice to use IMHO) and washcloth. And a book LOADED with herbal recipes of every imaginable kind.




  • last year

    That's really pretty with the gold snowflakes, still showing the bowls. Good job! To be clear, I was only concerned about the home canned, and much less so when you explained how well they knew you and that you'd done demos for them. Congratulations on the popularity of your basket!

  • last year

    Nicely done!

  • last year

    Sounds like you had a great time. No sweat for next year.

    I have a few long oval and a rectangle basket in my garden shed for harvesting. All thrifted or yard sales. Cheap. Gift 'baskets' are called that for a reason. Easy to pack, deliver, and transport.

  • last year

    Your basket was perfect. Well done!

  • last year

    I love your enthusiasm and the joy you got from doing all this!!

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Honestly the whole thing was a bit of a PITA. Particularly the trip to the traffic-filled big city in an attempt to find a better selection of "gourmet" spreads. Found everything I needed locally, ironically. (I had to go to the big city anyway, for another errand, but the shopping was not that pleasant in the strip-mall land. I imagine the long checkout lines were due to being short-staffed. The one gourmet shop I visited was almost empty and there was no staff person there, I think it may be closing or something . . . )

    Next year I am definitely going to do my home-made items. It's a crafty talented group and I think the home made crafts are part of the fun of the raffle. There were several home made food items, including bright red cinnamon candied pickles and raw honey. It's a plus for them. But it was my first year and one never knows.

    On the flip side, my trip to the local Goodwill for a basket was an unexpected pleasure. Look at the two finds I got, for a song.





  • last year

    Here are some ideas for items to include in a holiday raffle basket featuring condiments:

    1. Gourmet mustards: Include a variety of flavored mustards, such as honey mustard, Dijon mustard, and spicy mustard.
    2. Specialty hot sauces: Look for unique and flavorful hot sauces to add some heat to the basket.
    3. Artisanal pickles: Pickles in a variety of flavors, such as garlic dill, bread and butter, and spicy pickles, can add some tang and crunch to the basket.
    4. Gourmet ketchup: Look for ketchup with unique flavors, such as truffle ketchup or chipotle ketchup.
    5. BBQ sauce: Include a variety of BBQ sauces, such as traditional, smoky, and spicy.
    6. Infused oils: Flavored oils, such as truffle oil or chili oil, can add depth of flavor to dishes.
    7. Specialty jams and jellies: Look for unique flavors, such as peach habanero jam or fig and honey jelly.
    8. Gourmet mustards: Mustards with unique flavors, such as bourbon mustard or beer mustard, can add depth of flavor to sandwiches and other dishes.
    9. Spices and spice blends: Include a variety of spice blends and individual spices, such as smoked paprika or garam masala, to add flavor to dishes.
    10. Gourmet salts: Flavored salts, such as truffle salt or smoked salt, can add depth of flavor to dishes.

    Remember to include a selection of items that will appeal to a variety of taste preferences. You could also include recipe cards or ideas for using the condiments to inspire the winner of the raffle basket.

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