allie, I share the love for a really good homemade fruitcake.
Good that you're looking into it now, as a good one requires a little aging to make it yummy.
To me what sets apart a good one...
don't be shy with the rhum.
DO NOT USE RED OR GREEN GLACE CHERRIES or any of the other glace fruit you buy in the store. Harpua had good advice to avoid the glace fruit and go with dried. Nicer fruits are a key, and a well chosen combination. You can glace your own fruit, or use dried fruits or both. There is a company that sells gourmet glace fruit mail order, expensive. I've never used them but their stuff looks whole and fancy, I hear it is very nice.
Apricots (you can get the standard dried ones you always see, they're good, or the organic, unsulphured ones in packages from the HFS are a little more exotic and dark in flavor). Dried cherries (you can get some half decent ones from Trader Joe's, or I get some sundried montmorencies from a specialty supplier). I like to use a tiny bit of candied citrus peel that I do myself, I prefer to use organic lemons or oranges. Then you can also use whatever dried or candied that fruits go with what you've chosen, currants, whatever. You can get exotic and add a little candied ginger too, the sky is the limit, think of what you would like it to be and create a nice little simple combination.
I love to eat a tiny bit of fruitcake with a nice Port, and some sharp cheese. If I haven't put whole peeled almonds in the fruitcake, I put raw almonds out too when eating it.
On the almonds, I love the right whole almonds in a fruitcake. Now you'll get the sense of the hairs I've split, my preference is to get good raw almonds, soak them and remove the peels by hand (they will squish off easily after soaking if the almonds are truly raw, lately "raw" almonds have begun to be heat pasteurized and they're not as good). I like the almond to not be overcooked in the fruitcake and I find purchased blanched whole almonds generally stale. I order almonds directly from farms in California, truly raw and unpasteurized, and work only with them.