Everything I Gave My Little

Sorority big/little basket season is here! New members are antsy to be handed down letters and to receive painted canvases and food, of course. Preparing baskets is still one of my favorite sorority experiences, and it is so rewarding when you see your little’s excited reaction to each basket and notice her wearing the shirt you gave her to class the very next day. What does one put in a basket for their little? For inspiration, I have pulled together a detailed account of everything I gave my little.

Basket 1: Girls' Night In

For the first basket I went with a girls' night in theme, because it was easy to start pulling together ahead of time. I picked up some popcorn, movie popcorn cups, candy and popsicle makers from the Dollar Store. I also gave my little, Sara, a Vera Bradley zip ID and crafted her a picture frame, decorative initial, desk canvas and a clipboard. I added my little’s favorite candy to every basket, sometimes in mason jars tied with ribbon.

Picture Frame

I found a stand up wood pallet in the Target dollar section and gave it a white-washed look by grazing it with white paint using a brush and varying the weight of my strokes. I hot glued on a burlap ribbon I made (ribbon from Michael’s) and a clothespin to complete the look for this picture frame!

Decorative Initial

I found these fake flowers at the Dollar Tree, and I hot-glued them onto an "S"-shaped wooden cutout from Michael’s.

Desk Canvas

I painted this Lilly Pulitzer inspired canvas from Michael’s, and I had my skilled, biological little sister paint on the monogram.


I personalized this clipboard from the dollar section at Target; this is a great item for a little who might want a leadership position in your chapter.

Basket 2: Hokie Basket

The Hokie basket is one your little will find useful but also one you can start making ahead of time, and find plenty of inexpensive items to fill. I found a mini foam football at the Dollar Tree in Blacksburg, included some orange and maroon Vera Bradley, and added some cute VT hats. I bought and painted cute mini canvases my little can set on her desk, as well as a picture frame, all from Michael’s. The best find was the Hokie stone basket from HomeGoods.

Basket 3: Patriotic basket

This basket was quite loud but gave my little the overwhelming joy I was aiming for. I filled a Vera Bradley beach bag with all of the red, blue and white t-shirts I was handing down to her. I found the leis and American bows at the Dollar Tree, knowing my little would wear them throughout the year for various occasions.

I painted my little canvases and a wooden anchor cutout I bought from Michaels.

Final Basket

I decorated my little’s room as a surprise, and as you will see by her reflection in the mirror, she loved it! Decorating your little’s room is a great move if you are not sure how to make all of the items fill a basket in an aesthetically pleasing way. My big made me a fleece blanket, so I wanted to continue the tradition for my little, and I hung it from her top bunk.

I used a Very Bradley overnight bag as the “basket”, and filled it with shirts. This is a perfect basket because most college girls forget to bring a bag to pack when going home for breaks or traveling on a weekend. I also painted my little some block canvas letters, decorated a Dollar Tree glass vase and gave her a Vera Bradley clutch and school supplies. I bought a wooden picture frame from Michael's for a few dollars and painted on a Lilly Pulitzer inspired print. Additionally, I made a sharpie mug that says “GONE RIDING” since my little is on the VT Equestrian Team.

Family Basket:

After Big/Little Reveal, I gave my little a family basket. I’m in the Tiffany Co. family, so I painted her a Tiffany Co box inspired pin box, the unpainted box purchased from Michaels for under $2. I made her a picture frame and other decorative canvases. I also included some food in a cute tin and used a plastic basket she could reuse for organization in her dorm room.

Basket week is one of the most exciting weeks in a new member’s college experience, and getting their big is the grand finale. The Dollar Tree, Michael's and Target are all great resources if you want great basket fillers but are on a tight budget. I signed up to receive emails from Michael's and was awarded coupons which I used to buy everything I needed to create DIY gifts for my little. Pinterest was my number one go-to for inspiration when painting canvases and looking for other ideas. Good luck preparing your baskets but remember no matter how your baskets look, your little will love you for putting time and effort into making them feel welcome in your sisterhood.