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Christmas & New Year, Life, Seasonal

Make your own hamper | Helping you to make fuss-free hampers

A selection of hamper baskets.
Every year I go through the same routine. What can I buy my loved ones for Christmas? Could this be the year that I’m organised? I often create a list of ideas and inevitably, I’ll write ‘make your own hamper?’ at the top of the list. But is it possible to make a thoughtful, yet fuss-free hamper?

My experience

I’ve put together hampers for Christmas in the past and I think I’ve mastered how to create your own without losing your sanity in the process. Here are my top tips:

1) Don’t make a hamper for everybody

You might have twenty people to buy for. But if you’ve never made a hamper before, don’t decide to make 20 in one go. It might seem like an easy Christmas shopping solution, but trust me when I say that by the time you’re wrapping up hamper number 14, you’ll wish you’d not gone all out.

2) Set a gift budget

When making hampers, it is easy to go overboard and throw lots of items into them. If you do this then you risk spending a fortune as the bits and pieces do add up.  You might also end up with more gifts than your basket holds. To avoid this, set a Christmas hamper budget and make a note of everything you do buy. Make sure the price includes packing too, because you’ll need to factor that in. 

3) Think of a theme

For your hampers to work, you need to pick a theme and stick to it. The hampers could be based on food, drink, a hobby, or even a colour. It doesn’t matter what it is, but all of the gifts need to be loosely linked for your hamper to work. 

4) Give yourself time – especially if you’re making them for Christmas

If you’ve decided to create your own hamper, then it’s important to give yourself time. Time to think, time to craft, time to shop, time to gift wrap, time for delivery. If this is a new thing, that you’ve never tried before, then you may find that it takes longer than you first anticipate. 

Creating a hamper takes time, so this isn’t something that you should be starting on 9pm on 20 December.

5) Shop around for gifts

Shopping around is important when you’re creating a hamper, because things can vary wildly in price. If you want a particular chocolate or drink to go in it, then make sure you keep your eye out for supermarket offers. I’d also price up gift ideas online and read reviews before making purchases. This way, you’ll ensure you get the best gifts for the best price. 

6) Think Fortnum & Mason

I’m not suggesting that you’ll make a luxury hamper,  full of expensive gifts, that looks like it came directly from Fortnum & Mason. But they are the forefathers of Christmas hampers, so if you need some inspiration about what to add to your hamper, you can look to them for inspiration.

Some presents you will make to put in your basket, but others you will buy new. Here are some gifts that you’d usually find within a traditional Christmas hamper that you’d buy on the highstreet:

  • Wine
  • English breakfast tea
  • Herbal tea
  • Biscuits
  • Cheese
  • Cakes
  • A mini champagne bottle

But obviously you need to think about the individual you’re creating the basket for. If the recipient is vegan, for example, then you’ll need to make sure you add dairy free cheese. Similarly, if the person you’re making the Christmas hamper for doesn’t drink alcohol then you may want to keep the wine and the champagne out! It’s about using your common sense and ensuring that the hamper you make will be well received and enjoyed.

7) Think about the packaging – card and paper?

If you’ve decided to create your own hamper, then you need to give some thought to the packaging.

You can buy a hamper package set, which usually includes a basket, paper filling and cellophane. But you could use a cardboard box or a canvas bag as an alternative. Try to think of packaging that could be reused or easily recycled. Don’t choose a basket just because that’s how Christmas hampers are usually packaged up. Use your imagination and think about what’s practical and what’s affordable. 

7) Enjoy the process

If you’re going to make your own hamper, then enjoy the process of putting it together. Those that are crafty could make something. If you’re into money saving, then shop around. There’s no point in making a hamper if it’s going to be a chore, so focus on what you’ll enjoy about putting it together.

The image shows a hamper of food. The text over the image reads: ‘hacks: how to make your own fuss free hamper’.

Is it worth it?

Making hampers takes time and effort. But you can put so much thought and imagination into creating them. In my experience, they’re always well received too. As long as you give yourself time, set a budget and stick to a theme, I don’t think you can go wrong. If this feels like too much work, then you should consider making a pot of gold as an alternative! If that still feels too much, then perhaps you should consider making a simple handmade Christmas card

If you enjoyed this article, then check out my other Christmas and New Year hacks.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2020 and has been completely revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.