All you Need to Know about Christmas Hampers

Christmas hampers – wicker baskets brimming with gourmet gifts – make wonderful presents for everyone. From pampering hampers to foodie hampers filled with savoury delicacies, luxury wines and sweet treats, there’s a style to suit all.

Hampers are a great gift for colleagues, clients, family and friends. Modern-day Christmas hampers often contain the likes of deliciously festive treats, including gourmet goods and hand crafted ales, homemade breads, fresh fruits, fine wines and delectable desserts.

One thing is for sure, hampers are a great way to bring everyone together at a special time of year.

The history of Christmas hampers

The origin of the Christmas hamper began many centuries ago, when people gifted their nearest and dearest with homemade hampers. Today, we’re able to buy pre-made gourmet Christmas hampers, filled with an array of delicious treats.

The first Christmas hamper was said to have been created in France.

The concept was later introduced to England in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. However, it wasn’t until the Victorian era that these baskets of treats became popular. They were initially gifted to staff, so that they could create a Christmas feast of their own.

With the invention of rail, hampers became even more popular, as such transport allowed people to send Christmas hampers to those who lived further afield.

These hampers were filled with expensive, luxury gifts. However, due to the fact many of these gifts were perishable, fast delivery was a necessity!

christmas hampers

Most popular hamper items in the UK

Fine wine, cheese and chocolate hampers are some of the most popular hampers to gift in the UK – especially at Christmas time. This is, after all, the time to be merry and indulge. When ordering a Christmas hamper, it’s important to do so in plenty of time, especially if you want it to arrive prior to the day – this will allow your loved ones to enjoy some of the items pre and post-Christmas dinner.

In addition to the many over indulgent Christmas hampers on the market today, there are also a number of vegan and organic options available. These hampers are the ideal choice for those who are intolerant to certain ingredients and also, those who are on a health kick. Such hampers contain the likes of raw fruit bars, healthy flapjacks, sugar free chocolate and wholesome nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

Of course, being British, we all enjoy our tea – one of the reasons a hamper brimming with everything you need to enjoy a high tea is a much-appreciated gift. Think Earl grey and orange infusions, green teas, English breakfast and forest fruit blends – all teamed with yummy treats, in the shape of short bread, all-butter cookies, scones and an array of preserves. Whether enjoyed before or post-Christmas, this is an ideal hamper to share with friends.

When to deliver Christmas hampers

If choosing a hamper that contains perishable goods, it’s wise to pick an exact delivery date. Most online suppliers will offer advice on when to send Christmas hampers.

Traditional Christmas hampers

Traditional Christmas hampers have an emphasis on British food, particularly seasonal delicacies comprising classic tastes, many of which will never go out of fashion.

Warm and heartening foods, including everyone’s favourite festive treats, such as moreish, freshly baked sweet mince pies, iced fruit cake, indulgent Christmas pudding, mouth-watering preserves, a variety of tea leaves and beautifully buttery shortbread. All are perfectly enjoyed around the Christmas tree, close to a roaring fire!

Christmas Hamper Types

With such an array of hampers on the market, picking the one that’s best suited as a gift can be tough. In a bid to help you on your way and to provide some inspiration, we’ve got some guidance on what best to share and with whom.

Charitable hampers: Community and charitable hampers are just as popular as hampers gifted to friends and family. These hampers generally contain food goods, toiletries, clothing, and household products and are often gifted as a goodwill gesture to those who are less fortunate.

Pamper hampers: If you have a friend or family member who deserves a little bit of luxury, gifting them with a pamper hamper is a great idea. The likes of bath soaks, aromatic shower gels, scrubs, chocolates and bubbles are guaranteed to melt away an array of stresses and strains.

Wine hampers: Hampers filled with wines of the world are an ideal option for the wine connoisseur in your life. From merlots to chardonnays and Bordeaux, there is a wine hamper to suit all tastes.

Artisan hampers: Artisan hampers are the perfect present for those who enjoy an array of deli delights, including mature cheeses, fruit-filled variants and deliciously moreish crackers – such as black olive and caper crackers or spicy Moroccan seed and nut crackers.

Chocolate heaven: Almost everyone has a sweet tooth, which is when a heavenly chocolate hamper filled with white, milk and dark chocolate delights is a great gift idea.

The ‘hot’ hamper: If you have friends or family members who enjoy a little spice every now and again, a hamper brimming with the likes of chilli cheese, luxury chilli and lime cashews could be just what you need.

Ale and cheese hamper: One for those who love fine ales and equally fine cheeses, an ale and cheese trug is the perfect gift for a father or boyfriend.

‘I heart you’ hamper: This is an ideal gift for a girlfriend or wife, especially those who have a sweet tooth. Brimming with handmade chocolate meringues, champagne and strawberry truffles, sea salt caramel fudge, luxury Belgium milk chocolates and rhubarb and custard sweets – what’s not to love?

Naughty but nice: Christmas is the one time of year when you have the excuse to really indulge. A naughty but nice hamper contains everything from scotch whiskey marmalade, to strawberry jam with Marc de Champagne, chocolate-infused biscuits and a bottle of wine from the famous Bordeaux region.

Baby gift basket: This hamper is a great gift for Mother and daughter. Inside, you’ll find everything you need to welcome a little girl or boy into the world.

Baskets for Christmas hampers

Not everyone wants to buy a pre-made Christmas hamper, which is when an empty wicker basket comes in handy.

SerenataFlowers.com stock a range of beautiful ‘empty’ wicker hampers, all of which are ideal vessels for an array of gifts, including sweet and savoury ingredients, fine wines, whiskeys and port, as well as lotions and perfumes. When all of the treats have been consumed, the basket can be used as a picnic basket or as a storage basket.

What to keep in mind when choosing a basket for a Christmas hamper

When choosing the perfect basket for a Christmas hamper, it’s important to select the right size.

If you’re gifting the hamper to a single person, a smaller basket will be suitable. However, if you’re sending a hamper to an entire family, something larger will be more appropriate. Additionally, you should consider the gifts you are going to add to the hamper.

For example, if the recipient is a wine connoisseur, you may wish to invest in a wine box, or even a wine chest, instead of a basket. Alternatively, if you intend to fill the hamper with an assortment of cheeses, chutneys, crackers and jams, a picnic basket complete with plates and cutlery may be more suited.

For a special gift, choose a luxury picnic basket complete with cool bag, coordinating napkins, china plates, silver cutlery, a bottle opener and salt and pepper duo.

Most popular choices from Christmas hamper baskets

Small wicker hampers are the most popular choice for those gifting a single person. Most come with leather buckle straps, which means there’s no need for cellophane. Simply fill the basket with tissue paper and an assortment of gifts and it’s good to go. Similarly, medium-sized and large hampers are also a popular choice, especially as the Christmas hamper is a great sharing gift for the entire family.

Wine boxes and chests are another prevalent choice when it comes to Christmas hampers – as the likes of fine wines, ports, whiskeys, ales and beers all make great gifts for the loved ones in your life. These items however, require a taller, solid vessel to house and protect them, especially if you intend to send them to friends and family who are based further afield.

Make your own hampers

Making your own Christmas hamper can be a fantastic idea, especially if you wish to create a personalised gift basket. First things first, you’ll need to find an appropriate basket – the best places to look are online, at your local garden centre or in a home décor store. Once you’ve sourced the perfect vessel, line it with tissue paper or festive fabric.

Once lined, you’ll need to decide on a theme. You may choose to create a hamper brimming with sweet and savoury treats, or alternatively, a basket filled with pampering products, such as oils, perfumes, lotions and potions.

Popular options for a Christmas hamper include brandy butter, mince pies, Christmas pudding or cake, assorted nuts, biscuits, crackers, fine jams, marmalades, cheeses, chutneys, red or white wines, port, coffee and luxurious chocolate treats. However, there really is no limit on what you could include, especially if you want to add in gifts that would mean something in particular to those you are gifting.

Once you’ve filled your Christmas hamper with gifts, cover it with coloured cellophane. For a professional finish, you can use a hairdryer to blow dry the shrink wrap. Finish the look with a brightly coloured ribbon, tied round the basket in a bow.

Sources: christmasspirit.soup.io, bbcgoodfood.com

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