I love gift baskets. I love gifts that are actually a lot of gifts in one big package :-)
But the thing is that that is usually a lot of deceit... more than half of the basket is fillings, foam, paper, plastic bags...
so that what you SEE IS what you get... there are no hidden surprises there.
1) Gather the items you wish to give. For this basket, find items that say "Autumn" to you. Red, orange, yellow and brown items, with a little purple and burgundy, and forest animals, nuts and acorns and such.
Get one large and more expensive item, 2-3 "bigger medium" size, 3-5 "smaller medium" and 5-7 small items. It's easier to arrange the items in the basket, if you have an odd number of items. Add volume with things like candles and candy.
Examples of Autumn gifts:
* beauty products; as the air is getting colder, the skin, nails and hair are getting dry, so give exfoliating scrubs, moisturizers and moisturising masks for skin and hair, chapsticks, hand creams, nail cream etc. There are tons of recipes for home-made versions for all of this, and it's nice to pack it in a pretty jar and give as a gift.
* spices - pumpkin spice, apple spice, mulled wine spice, chili spice, hot chocolate mix...
* candy apples and homemade candy
* dried apples and other fruits, fruit leather, dried vegetables and mushrooms and berries
* homemade jams, jellies, sauces and conserves
* flower bulbs (like chrysanthemum) that are to be planted in the Autumn
* flower seed that can be sprinkled in the garden to bloom next summer
* seed bombs
* scarf and wrist warmers or gloves
* scented pinecones, pinecone fire starters and other things made with pinecones. or acorns or horse chestnut etc.
* nuts and apples, and things associated and connected to them, like nut crackers or apple knife.
* forest animals, squirrels, owls, foxes etc. are associated with Autumn, so you can add small items decorated with these animals in your basket
2) Get the basket. A shallow basket is better than a deep basket, because you want your gift items to be visible, so you'd need to fill the deep basket with filling. A natural colored basket is better than a painted one, because the basket is not the focus here, but what is in the basket, and most people just toss the basket away, so it's unnecessary to use any time to decorate the basket.
But remember to add a couple of surprises in the basket as well ;-)
3) The idea is that all your gifts are shown, so that it looks very rich and nice, so you need to start with some filling. Use cheap things, like foam, styrofoam, plastic bags, newspaper, tissue, straw, shredded paper, hay, or any such. This too should be of neutral color, the items are to add the color and interest to the basket.
BUT REMEMBER THAT MOST OF THE THINGS IN THE BASKET SHOULD BE THE GIFT ITEMS, NOT FILLING!
4) Start by putting in the biggest, highest items. If your basket has a handle, tie the highest item to the handle, with wire or tape. If not, push one large item in deep in the basket to be used as an anchor, that you can tape the other items to. Collect items in a pyramid shape, the largest and highest in the middle, and the other in size order around it. Use the smallest to decorate the "pile" of gifts.
5) Add silk flowers, ornaments, tinsel (sparkle shred, angel hair etc.) and such, to make the basket look even more festive. For this Autumn basket, you can use silk leaves (or real Autumn leaves you have prepared), chrysanthemums or asters.
6) Use cellophane to keep the things together. Just wrap the basket in the plastic and heat it carefully with hairdryer so that it shrinks. You can also tape it neatly in place. Use A LOT of this. You could also use organza, chiffon or tulle, or any other sheer material, like tissue paper. It is better to use something clear, because the items are the main thing with gift baskets and the purpose is to show them, not to wrap them.
7) Decorate with ribbons, bows, silk flowers, ornaments, plush toys etc. and add a card. Use bigger cards for big baskets and gift tags for small baskets.
Edited September 2016: I found this; 30 things to put in a fall gift basket GREAT ideas!