Lily Barclay shares her top tips and festive ideas to making homemade Christmas hampers.
A luxury hamper under the Christmas tree really does give you that magical feeling - and if it's homemade you can feel truly smug. Not only will you have the thought-factor sorted but you're bound to save cash on the homemade varieties too. And the beauty of doing it yourself is that you can make it as simple or as luxurious as you like.
Here are our top tips for hamper success...
Add some style
Coloured cellophane gives a beautiful, polished look to homemade hampers. For a really professional finish you can use a hairdryer to blow-dry the shrink wrap on to the basket - it is generally best to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. You will know your hamper is finished when the cellophane is taut - a ribbon around the middle makes a nice finishing touch and will also keep those carefully positioned presents in place.
Wicker baskets can be found in most garden centres, online and in some department stores like John Lewis. But it's worth scouring your local charity shops too (I picked up two from my local Oxfam last year and both were under £5). You can also use a pretty plate in a cellophane wrap to present your gifts, or a nice tray - both of which also work as an extra present.
Crepe paper and shredded paper work well to line the bottom of a hamper - you can find these materials from most art shops - or if you have a shredder try processing a few sheets of coloured paper to make your own. Add some glamour by mixing in sequins and glitter for a festive feel - or why not try experimenting with different materials like uncoated popcorn.
Fill it full of treats
If you're making a hamper for a cheese lover - then treat them to some homemade accompaniments like sea salt water biscuits, a fig and walnut slice and spiced beetroot and orange chutney - add in some wine and a round of cheese – or a baked camembert kit – and they're sure to be in love.
Keep chocolate lovers sated with a hamper of sweet treats and you'll definitely be popular. Who can say no to a chocolate truffle or coconut Florentine? Or try adding in a triple chocolate cupcake kit for those who love to bake their own.
A bottle of wine in a Christmas hamper is almost compulsory but you don't have to stick with the standard. Turkish delight vodka is sure to impress, mulling syrup works well in cider and wine - or try giving limoncello a Christmassy touch with oranges and spices.
You can view all our edible gift recipes here.
Have you made your own Christmas hamper? Let us know your tips and advice below.