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A luxury hamper under the Christmas tree really does give you that magical feeling – and if it’s homemade you can feel truly smug.
It makes a thoughtful, personal gift, and you can save cash by eschewing expensive shop-bought versions. 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, including recipe choices and presentation advice.
What to buy to make a hamper
Coloured or clear 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 garden centres, online and in department stores, but it’s worth scouring your local charity shops for second-hand bargains too.
Consider what you’re putting in your hamper and how much space you need. Hobbycraft and Amazon sell large wicker picnic baskets for reasonable prices, but you may need a lot of gifts to fill them. Wilko sells bamboo open-top baskets in a tray shape for only £2.50. The Works offer the same style of basket in more traditional wicker, also at a reasonable price.
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.
Christmas hamper recipes
Gifts for a cheese lover
If you’re making a hamper for a cheese lover, treat them to 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 baked camembert kit and they’re sure to love it.
Submerging cheese in oil is a good way to preserve it. Try our marinated goat’s cheese recipe. Pack a jar with olive oil, chilli, fennel seeds, strips of lemon zest and sprigs of thyme, add your cheese and leave the flavours to marry over a couple of days. It’ll last for two weeks after that.
Chocolate gifts for cocoa enthusiasts
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.
These snowy chocolate crackle biscuits have a real festive feel and can be made with kids. Chocolate bark is also easy to make and decorate – just choose your flavours, then pour the melted chocolate into a slab, decorate and leave to set. For something more challenging, try making your own chocolate fudge.
Homemade flavoured spirits
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. Read more on how to make flavoured spirits and find tips and recipes for making infused gin, vodka and the classic winter tipple, sloe gin.
More Christmas hamper recipes and tips
The best edible gift recipes
Last-minute homemade festive hamper ideas
Christmas biscuit recipes
Chocolate truffle recipes
Easy DIY boozy gifts
Homemade Christmas gift ideas
Christmas chutney recipes
How to make your own fudge
Savoury biscuit recipes
The best hampers to buy
Have you made your own Christmas hamper? Let us know your tips and advice below.