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What to put in a food hamper on a budget

Is there any greater joy than giving or receiving a stunning hamper, brimming with handpicked delights? You don’t always have to plump for price-tag-heavy gifts: some of the best value hampers, filled with personalised treats, mean the most.

If you’re working to a tight budget but still want to give a beautifully unique gift, this do-it-yourself hamper guide will help you create a package that’s well received and low in price.

1. Create your base

With a little imagination, the plainest boxes can be beautified, ripe for giving. Everything from wooden crates to serving trays can be used, but baskets always look extra lovely. You can pick up wicker hamper baskets cheap everywhere from craft markets to charity shops to homeware stores. And whether you’re filling up chic boxes or cheap hamper baskets, empty containers can be stuffed with anything from shredded paper to petshop hay. Cover whatever filler you choose with an eye-catching sheet of fabric, pretty tissue paper or wrapping paper and you have the perfect base.

2. What to put in a food hamper

Now the fun can begin – choosing all of the gorgeous food, drink and treats you want flowing out of your gift package. It’s not all chutneys and cheese: you can literally put anything your heart desires into a hamper. What’s important is that the items are genuinely meaningful to the recipient, or perhaps something they wouldn’t buy themself.

It’s easier to decide what to put in a food hamper when you have a theme. Some are obvious, such as a birthday or a wedding – some less so. This is where you can truly collate your hamper based on the likes, hobbies and personality of the lucky recipient you’re making it for.

Do they love wine? Maybe they’re partial to a good British cup of tea – with bundles of biscuits to boot. Here are a few ideas to get you going (browse our hamper themes for ideas if you’re still stuck):

  • Chocolate-lover’s hamper. Does what it says on the tin: fill it with everything from truffles, creams, drinking chocolate, and slabs of milk, white and dark chocolate. Make it wonderfully personal and throw in the recipient’s favourite bar – you might only have to pop to the corner shop for it. Our Divinely Decadent Chocolate Hamper should also inspire you – it’s under £50 and makes the perfect luxury gift on a budget.
  • Wine-themed hamper. See if you can find any supermarket deals for wine: Marks and Spencers are often brilliant for bulk-buy discounts. What to put in a food hamper for wine aficionados? Pack it out with olives, artisan cheeses, nuts, crisps, biscuits, cake, chocolates, and even some dazzling glasses to toast the fine wines with. Our Red Wine Delight Hamper is sure to put a smile on someone’s face – at £59 it won’t make you frown either.
  • Afternoon tea extravaganza. What can’t you pack into an afternoon tea package? Scones, jams, cakes, shortbread, bottles of cava, and of course, lots of beautiful English teas. If you’re one to give Mary Berry a run for her money, you can save even more money by baking your own cakes to go in. We’re partial to the quintessential British institution, so we’ve made up our own elegant Afternoon Tea Hamper for under £50.

3. Arranging your hamper

Once you’ve decided on what to put in your hamper, you need to find the best way of displaying it all. Play around with the layout of your hamper – start with the bulkiest items and arrange smaller pieces around them. Gifts like wine bottles and large packets of gourmet crisps should go in first. If there are any packaged foods, such as boxes of chocolates, these could be taken out of the box and scattered throughout the hamper to fill up empty spaces.

4. Wrapping it all up

The best way to wrap a hamper is with cellophane: it’s see-through so you can see the treats inside, keeps food items in place and doesn’t cost a lot to buy. Finish it off with a big, bold ribbon, attach a gift card and your crafty creation is complete. If you’d prefer a little helping hand in creating a bespoke gift, our best value hampers come in two styles. Choose from traditional handwoven wicker hampers or contemporary British gift boxes – each comes with a personalised gift card for a thoughtful, tailored touch.

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