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Last Minute Gift Idea — Bad Day Basket

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Last year I decided I was going to force encourage my family to make their gifts for one another, rather than purchase them. This was an especially cruel experiment since my kids adopted my talent for crafting, or rather, a lack of talent. The one gift that turned out pretty amazing was the bad day box we made for my husband (thank you Pinterest).

We filled the box with hand-written notes, family pictures, jokes, homemade coupons for things like breakfast in bed or a day of full control over the TV remote and a few of his favorite treats. The box was to be his go-to on days when he needed a pick-me-up.

empty baskets with title text overlay reading Bad Day Basket Easy and Personalized Gift Idea

This year I decided to adapt the bad day basket for my daughter’s teacher.

I thought of all the small misfortunes that might befall her during the day (e.g. spilling spaghetti sauce on her shirt at lunch, getting a headache in the middle of the day, having to go out for recess because the wind chill isn’t quite low enough to warrant staying indoors, etc.) and then I stocked up on items to help her cope with these inconveniences.

a teacher writing a math problem on a white board with title text overlay reading Bad Day Basket Gift Idea For Your Child's Teacher

What to include in a Bad Day Basket for a Teacher

  • Hand and Body Warmers (for recess duty on cold days)
  • Hand Lotion (to prevent or treat dry, chapped hands)
  • Lip Balm (to prevent or treat dry, chapped lips)
  • Pretzel Chips (to satisfy cravings for something salty)
  • Luna Bar (for days when she forgets a snack)
  • Trail Mix (another backup snack)
  • Chocolates (because sometimes these are all it takes to brighten someone’s day)
  • Hand Sanitizer (just in case the gallon-size jug she keeps in the classroom runs out)
  • Bandages (to treat papercuts)
  • Lint Roller (for those days the cat decides to cuddle with her right before she leaves for work)
  • Shout Wipes (to treat that stain from lunch)
  • EmergenC Immune Support Beverage Mix (to help ward off the flu half her students just came down with)
  • Tylenol (to treat the unexpected headache)
  • Advil (to stack with the Tylenol in the event the headache is REALLY bad)
  • Kleenex (in case the EmergenC doesn’t work as well as we hoped)
  • Wisp (for those days she eats garlic shrimp right before her conferences with parents begin)
  • Floss (in case she also had corn on the cob with her garlic shrimp)


Bad Day Basket Contents

How to Present Your Bad Day Basket

I found a sturdy, plastic bin at the dollar store that was the perfect size to contain everything I’d purchased for the gift.

a red tub full of items to make a Bad Day Basket


I made up a little poem to accompany the basket, printed it on card stock and attached it as a gift tag with some ribbon. Click here for a copy of the poem (there are two copies on one page).

Bad Day Basket Poem

You could easily recreate this bad day basket with a quick visit to the travel-size section of your favorite store or your local dollar store.

You can also tailor the items to the recipient and your budget. I actually made four of these baskets at one time so I bought some of the items in bulk (e.g. the EmergenC, the tissue pack, the Wisps, and the Pretzel Crisps). I figured these kits work just as well for bus drivers, and mail carriers so I decided to knock out several gifts at one time.

What would you include in a bad day basket? I’d love to hear your ideas!

20 thoughts on “Last Minute Gift Idea — Bad Day Basket”

  1. Pingback: 30 DIY Teacher Gifts for Christmas - Soccer Mom Life
  2. I’ve had the most awful day, and this is such a great idea… I’m saving this one!

  3. I always make my dad a movie gift basket.. Well a relaxing gift basket since I include PJ pants 🙂
    I think they are so much fun to put together and I love that you can customize them to w/e you want

  4. Pingback: Last Minute Gift Idea -- Bad Day Basket - WONDE...
  5. Pingback: Last-Minute Gifts That Will Last A Lifetime | WONDERMOM WANNABE
  6. Very nice practical gift idea for men. Thanks for the idea!

  7. This basket is such a cute idea! I have made all my christmas presents this year and it was hard to get it all done but I think it has paid off!

  8. Brilliant idea. I am often stuck with such a lack of creativity when it comes to gift shopping. I have only purchased 2 gifts so far this year. Running out of time!

  9. This is genius! We are now down to the last wire for Christmas gifts and this looks like it would be a great gift for the teachers in our family.

  10. Awwe. I love the idea. It’s so thoughtful and personalized. Can warm up even the coldest of hearts.

  11. This is really a great idea. Good for those that you have no idea what to really give. I tend to just give a gift card though. 🙂

  12. What a great idea for a gift for just about anyone. I might add a $5 Starbucks GC for those days when you just really need a great cup of coffee.

  13. We love doing the custom gift boxes, they are so much more personal than a standard gift. I love the products in yours and the thought behind them like the body warmer for recess and snacks for when she forgets. Of course the floss for the corn on the cob is a must!

  14. Hi Corinne – This is genius! I keep going back to that, “break glass in case of bad day” and there is a chocolate bar inside. Chocolate is pretty much all I would need. Merry Christmas! Hugs, Holly

  15. This is such a wonderful idea and would be perfect for a deployed service member or a college student.

  16. Other then the Advil (which I would probably include a full size bottle) I’d also include some honey cough drops cause with that headache a sore or dry throat often happens–also from trying to talk over the kids at lunch or recess. Definitely would include several packs of tissues, hand sanitizer and hand cream. I think I just might stick in one of those “That Was Easy” thingees you get from Staples–cause teachers make everything look so darn easy.

  17. This is such a great idea. I’ve done kits and baskets before, but hadn’t thought to approach it as a bad day supply. I’ll definitely be sending some of these out.


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