Great Gift Hampers
by Hanna Lindon
Christmas hampers can be fabulous, thoughtful gifts – the key is to plan the contents well in advance. Here’s how to put together the perfect traditional goodie parcel.
The countdown to Christmas has begun, and it’s time to get your present-planning head on. Gift hampers are the ultimate choice for those tricky-to-treat friends and relatives. Today’s hampers are classy, beautifully presented and highly personalised. If you want your festive hamper to enjoy a rapturous reception, now’s the time to get planning. Start scouring the shelves for thoughtful goodies and browse the huge range of ready-made collections on offer. You don’t have to spend a fortune to create a sensational gift – as the old adage goes, it’s the thought that counts.
PLAY TO THEIR TASTES
With a huge choice of readymade hampers on offer, there are hundreds of ways to personalise your present. Start by considering what the lucky recipient doesn’t like. Are they vegetarian? A non-drinker? Do they have any allergies; perhaps nuts or fish, or an intolerance to dairy or gluten?
Now think about what they do like. If you’re buying for a casual acquaintance or a distant relative then suss out their tastes by talking to the people who know them best. Do they buy into any food crazes, such as raw or clean eating? Are you more likely to find them sipping green smoothies in a health food restaurant or tucking into a bumper box of chocolates? Consider whether the two of you have any shared experiences that you can recall in your gift – perhaps you’ve enjoyed a sensational coffee cake together, or a few gin-fuelled nights out.
A ready-made hamper can be surprisingly personal – but the best way to make your gift scream ‘I’ve been thinking of you’ is to create one yourself. Ingredients that go towards making a traditional hamper can include alcohol (usually champagne or red wine, but opt for your recipient’s favourite tipples), chocolates, jam, cheese, fruit cake, chutney, biscuits, shortbread and tea. Add a few festive treats, such as edible tree decorations and chocolate money. Foodies might appreciate high-quality store cupboard ingredients such as luxury olive oil and pesto, while homemade items (think damson jam, sloe gin or Christmas pudding) will always be appreciated.
When it comes to preparing the perfect hamper, presentation is nearly as important as the contents. Artisan wicker is the traditional choice, but it can be pricey. Instead, check out online houseware retailers for quirky storage solutions, or release your inner artist and decorate a cardboard box. Use shredded tissue paper or pet shop hay as packaging material and wrap it all up with reusable wood wall or ribbon.
Of course, you can break all the rules and be as kooky as you like with the contents, packaging and presentation of your gift. Next issue we’ll be looking at how to put a twist on the traditional hamper and create the perfect goodie box for kids and teens.