Christmas gift guides 2013: Hampers

  • By
    Natalie Hardwick - Writer - bbcgoodfood.com

If you don't feel like assembling your own this year, there are some great ready-made food hampers available online. We've chosen some of our favourites.

While in an ideal world we'd all have several batches of jam and mounds of truffles ready to give as gifts at Christmas, the truth is that time seems to evaporate in the lead-up to the big day. But no need to panic - there are hundreds of options online, from pre-made selection boxes to services allowing you to choose a bespoke array for your food-loving friend. 

Department store classics: 

You can't really go wrong with the big department stores, budget permitting. Their annual hampers are always reliable in quality and finish. 

Fortnum and Mason hamperWe like the wicker basket and turquoise packaging of Fortnum & Mason’s afternoon tea-inspired English hamper filled with preserves, loose-leaf tea and chocolates. 
English Essentials hamper, £100, Fortnum & Mason

Selfridges do a nice range of ‘lover’ hampers, neatly packaged in minimalist silver boxes. The Film Lover's kit contains a mini popcorn machine, but other enthusiasts are catered for in fine fashion - we like the beer, breakfast and cocktail lover sets too. 
'Lover' gift boxes, from £50, Selfridges

You don’t get much more classic than Harrods. Their Christmas Carol hamper is packed with traditional festive goodies, including Christmas pudding and brandy butter. 
Christmas Carol hamper, £100, Harrods

John Lewis hamperOur favourite hamper from John Lewis contains everything you need for a gourmet afternoon of cheese and cold cuts - including two bottles of French wine. 
Festive Supper fresh hamper, £100, John Lewis

£30 and under

There are plenty of hampers that clock in at £30 and under, or think laterally and go for a gift box instead - the money you save in wicker means you'll still get a decent haul of treats.

Lakeland's St Kew Teacup hamper contains a small selection of biscuits and tea in a quaint teacup-shaped wicker basket. 
Kew Teacup Basket, £16.99, Lakeland.

Go regional with a Taste of Yorkshire gift box from Betty's. The Daleside ale and Yorkshire Tea fruitcake will slip down a treat as an afternoon snack on Boxing Day. 
Taste of Yorkshire gift box, £30, Betty's

Regency Hampers have a good selection of traditional and festive-themed hampers, and if you buy them online you get a web discount...
Mistletoe Christmas gift hamper, £27.45, Regency

Go local

If you’d like to source something more unique, local delis, farm shops and small restaurants may help put together a bespoke selection of specialist produce. 

Valvona & Crolla are an Edinburgh institution. Their Taste of Scotland hamper contains such artisan delights as clootie dumplings and shortbread, plus the mandatory bottle of Scotch. 
Taste of Scotland hamper, £85, Valvona & Crolla

If you fancy something a little meatier, The Scottish Deli’s Perthshire Larder should do the trick- venison pâté anyone? It also contains three bottles of plonk, smoked duck and Scottish ale. 
Perthshire Larder hamper, £65, The Scottish Deli

Looking to sample the best West Country produce? A Darts Farm hamper fits the bill. Expect Portlebay popcorn, Luscombe drinks, and local truffles. 
Small Westcountry hamper, £39.99, Darts Farm Devon

Brindisa hamperIf you’d rather fill a hamper with long-life goods to fill a larder, Brindisa have some excellent Spanish packages, including Un Lujo, filled with saffron, bonito tuna and single estate olive oil. 
Un Lujo hamper, £80, Brindisa

Lina Stores has been selling Italian delicatessen treats to Soho for almost 70 years. They can deliver a bespoke hamper that's within your price range - choose from their incredible selection of fresh pasta, antipasti and cheese. 
Lina hampers, various prices, email for details

DIY...

If you do want to fill your own hamper and want a professional wicker finish, try buying the basic components online. 

Wilko sell small wicker baskets for only £2. They also have a very reasonable selection of bows and festive foliage.

IKEA also have a great range of boxes and baskets that start at £5. 

And if you need some help with assembly, our how to make a hamper guide should have all the hints and tips you need.

Are hampers your failsafe gift choice? Do you make your own or buy in a favourite? 

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