*This article was updated on 19/08/2022*
Whether you’re creating a traditional Christmas hamper basket or a more modern affair, here’s what to put in a Christmas hamper to suit all kinds of tastes.
With thousands of Christmas products out there, putting together a Christmas basket can seem like a daunting task if you don’t know where to start, but it can actually be really fun!
A tailor-made hamper will undoubtedly be well-received, with the lucky recipient appreciating the thought, time and care you've put into such a personal Christmas gift.
Presentation of Your Homemade Christmas Hamper
Before you start considering what to put in a hamper, think about the overall presentation.
Presentation is everything with hampers, it is the first thing your recipient will notice.
The opening and revealing of a collection of goodies is just as exciting an event as eating the treats is!
To build your own hamper, you can have 2 options for packaging:
1. A Wicker Basket
If you want a more traditional-looking hamper, a wicker basket is a great option.
Traditional wicker hampers tend to be high quality, hand-made, attractive and varied in size.
They’re also ideal for heavy items, and their robust structure makes them a good choice if sending your Christmas hamper by courier.
Wicker hampers from our Christmas gift hamper range.
2. A Gift Box
If you want a more contemporary style of packaging, stationery shops such as Paperchase offer a wide range of gift boxes in various sizes and patterns.
These are great if you are after a certain pattern for your packaging. A ribbon can be used to help keep the lid in place and to give a beautiful finish to the gift.
A gift box hamper from our Christmas food hamper range.
Things to consider when making your own Christmas hamper:
There are various points to consider before purchasing any items to make your own hamper.
These could be:
- Would the recipient prefer sweet or savoury items?
You can also have a combination of the two.
- Any dietary restrictions?
If your recipient would need any special dietary items such as vegan, vegetarian, halal, gluten-free or reduced sugar products.
- Are you including any drinks?
This could be bottles of wine, champagne or beer, but also tea, coffee or drinking chocolate.
- Anything other than food?
Christmas crackers, hats, tablecloths, jumpers, photos and books are great items to add that will be enjoyed around the Christmas period.
Before buying and packing any of these items, consider if the recipient is local or overseas.
- The age of the recipient may be important.
When choosing the contents you may want to think of the ages involved and make it suitable for all (sweets, small toys for children?).
- When will you start packing your hamper and when will you give it to the recipient?
If you want to give the hamper to the recipient closer to Christmas, you don’t want to pack the hamper too early.
Check product sell-by dates and store them in appropriate temperatures then pack the items at an appropriate date before giving the hamper to the recipient.
- Is the recipient local or overseas?
This would also affect your items list if your hamper is travelling overseas.
We recommend having non-perishable and non-alcoholic products in your hamper in case of any delays; it’s best not to risk any products that will spoil.
If the recipient is local you could afford to put some perishable items in your hamper, like cheese and meat, especially if you are going to give the hamper to them in person, but be sure to warn them to open it immediately.
As for non-food items, Christmas crackers would be a great idea to get the recipient if they are living locally, however, Christmas hats, jumpers, table cloths and books would be great items to send overseas.
If there is anything you are unsure about, here is a list of restricted items or visit our delivery page and see what goods we add to our hampers that are travelling overseas.
- What is your budget?
This is very important as you may only want to spend a certain amount.
Depending on your budget, look for items that fit that. They can be smaller items which add more variety to the hamper and give the recipient more to enjoy.
And be sure to watch out for shipping costs and any customs or tax payments if sending overseas – it’s always annoying to breach your budget with shipping costs and nobody wants their recipient to go through the cost and hassle of paying import duties!
Christmas Hamper Contents List
After you have considered the points above, you are ready to decide what to put in your Christmas hamper.
Here are some recommendations for what to put in a Christmas hamper:
- Christmas Pudding – We recommend Cole’s Brandy Christmas pudding, a traditional recipe we a splash of brandy. It is a real Christmas treat.
- Brandy Butter – A creamy delight to have with your Christmas pudding.
- Christmas Chutney – A great pairing with your Christmas dinner. Hawkshead Relish make a tasty Christmas Chutney with spiced apricots and cranberries.
- Iced Christmas Cake – A traditional fruit cake that will make you feel at home.
- Cranberry Sauce – A delicacy to have with turkey on Christmas day. I can’t imagine Christmas dinner without it!
- Port – A festive drink loved by many at Christmas time. We recommend Taylors Late Bottled Vintage Port.
- English Mustard – A traditional favourite to have all year round, this British condiment is tasty with many meals.
- Cheddar Biscuits – An all-round favourite in the UK. They’re a delicious snack to have and also great to have at tea time. Grate Britain’s all British cheddar biscuits are a flavoursome cheese biscuit to snack on.
- Nuts – Widely enjoyed around Christmas time as a snack, flavoured nuts are great to have with drinks before Christmas dinner.
- Mulled Wine – The perfect winter warmer, mulled wine will help you relax in front of the fire this winter.
- Christmas Crackers – Good fun to have with the family at Christmas dinner; smart or cheesy, everyone loves cracker jokes at Christmas!
- Christmas Jumpers – Helps to get everyone in the Christmas mood. The more garish the better!
- British Cheese - Nothing's better than enjoying a Christmas cheeseboard during a family board game, to complement your Port, wine and chutney!
When boxing a hamper you will need your gift box or wicker basket, the items you want to include and fine, coloured paper shred which is best as a packing material.
There is no science behind how to pack a hamper but these are some tips to ensure nothing gets spoiled in the hamper during shipping:
- Take a good amount of packing material (something recyclable would be great) and layer your wicker basket or gift box.
- Start placing heavy items at the bottom (preferably things in jars or drinks in a bottle.) If there is anything glass, bubble wrap it to ensure the product is padded. You can also pack some boxed items next to these.
- Ensure everything is facing up so when the recipient opens the hamper they can see clearly what the products are.
- Put more padding around these items and add another layer of paper shred.
- Put lighter products on the top that will not squash the products below.
- Depending on how big the gift box or wicker basket is, repeat the padding and packing steps.
- Once packed, close the basket or gift box and pull out any extra bits of packing material that are hanging out over the sides.
- For gift wrapping the box with ribbon, we recommend you turn a stool upside down and use the legs to support the hamper. This will give you access the underneath of the box while tying the ribbon around it.
- Once the ribbon is tied, cut at an angle any unnecessary long bits and sear the edges so they do not fray.
- If shipping, wrap the hamper in bubble wrap and place it snugly into a suitable shipping box.
If you are struggling in any way or feel you do not have enough time to make your own hamper, The British Hamper Company has a wide range of Christmas hampers to choose from.
These may also give you some extra inspiration to build your own hamper!