How to create a Christmas hamper
A hamper stuffed with edible goodies is always a hit at Christmas. Why not have a go at creating your own with our Christmas hamper ideas? Making your own hamper means you can stick to a budget while filling the basket or box with thoughtful treats tailored to your loved one’s tastes and interests. Follow our complete guide to creating a Christmas hamper – then try out some of the homemade gift recipes.
Looking for edible Christmas gift ideas? We have over 100 present-worthy recipes.
There are lots of great reasons to create a homemade hamper. You can save money with homemade preserves and treats instead of paying for teensy jams, packaging and delivery charges. It’s more sustainable too, especially if you use a second-hand basket and plastic-free packaging. Know a vegan food-lover, coffee geek or budding mixologist? You can create a themed box of delights, just for them.
Fill your hamper with a mix of shop-bought goodies and homemade treats. There are 12 homemade gift recipes below to inspire you…
How to make a hamper
Start with the container. If you have time, scour charity shops, Vinted or eBay for an old picnic hamper. Hobbycraft, HomeSense and budget retailers like The Range are good places to source a new basket. Alternatively, use a large, sturdy gift box. Stash away any you receive this year for making next year’s hampers, too.
Alternative vessels include a beautiful serving platter, roasting tray or baking dish, or even a cast-iron pot like Le Creuset, if you have the budget. Again, look out for second-hand gems. Fill them with themed goodies (such as cake cases and baking ingredients in a cake tin) and the container becomes part of the present.
Making your own hamper is a good way to cut down on plastic packaging. Reuse jars for homemade condiments (sterilise them first) and wrap packages in wax or kraft paper. Pack out the hamper with natural shredded paper (available online or from Poundland or craft stores). If you have a shredder, you could shred newspapers or colourful magazine pages with the staples removed (not delicious. obviously – that one’s a keeper).
What to put in a homemade hamper
A big advantage of DIY hampers is you can fill them with more goodies than you’d get for the same price in a shop-bought version. Go for at least five items of varying shapes and sizes. Foolproof favourites include jams, chutneys, savoury and sweet biscuits, spirits, teas, coffee and chocolates.
Make sure products are ambient (as in they don’t need to be stored in the fridge until opened), and choose mostly items with a long shelf life, with perhaps one or two eat-them-up-soon treats like homemade chocolates or biscuits. A related non-edible gift adds the finishing touch – think a small cookbook, beautiful tea towel or mug.
Themed Christmas hamper ideas
Build a hamper packed with plant-based treats. Think premium storecupboard items such as olive oil, porcini mushrooms and nutritional yeast to add oomph to savoury cookery. Many wines and beers are vegan-friendly (but check the label). Add a cookbook and vegan versions of Christmas treats they’d sometimes miss out on: mince pies, festive biscuits or chocs, like these homemade vegan chocolate truffles.
Customise your gift to their favourite cuisine, whether that’s Indian, Italian, Greek or Korean. Hispanophiles will love a box packed with Spanish olives, tins of smoked paprika, paella rice and a paella dish. A Mexican hamper could include ancho chillies and a tortilla press. Sous Chef, Spice Mountain and Mexgrocer are reliable online sources for harder-to-find spices, condiments and ingredients.
Coffee lover’s hamper
Some beans from your local roastery, an Aeropress milk frother or cafetière, those moreish dark chocolate-covered espresso beans and a reuseable cup or earthenware mug add up to the ideal gift for coffee nerds.
For the wannabe Bake Off contestant in your life. Think premium ingredients like quality vanilla extract, French baking chocolate or rosewater. Non-edible additions could include a pretty spatula, apron or cookbook.
One for the cocktail makers and shakers. Include classic or flavoured spirits, bitters and mixers, plus a shaker, strainer or cocktail recipe book. Sous Chef is a great go-to for cocktail ingredients.
Gingerbread house kit hamper
A dream gift for children – or those who love to decorate cakes and cookies. Bake the gingerbread house panels and box up with a piping bag, printed assembly instructions and an assortment of sweets to adorn the gingerbread cottage.
Add a homemade gift…
Choose from 12 of our best homemade food gifts to add to your hamper. We have everything from classic jam and chutney to fiery chilli oil and indulgent DIY chocolate bark.
This fragrant preserve goes beautifully with cheese and crackers, and can be made months ahead of time.
One for the chilli lovers and a great addition to a ramen-themed hamper, along with noodles and Japanese condiments.
A French classic, orangettes are candied orange peels dipped in dark chocolate.
Snuck a bottle of this homemade cocktail into a chocolate or cocktail-themed hamper.
These salted caramels are surprisingly easy to make and look beautiful in twists of wax paper.
Jam is a hamper MVP, and this one is extra Christmassy, thanks to the cranberries and festive spices.
Remember peppermint creams? This traditional homemade gift is a fun one to make with kids – and they look great.
The traditional German Christmas biscuits are a welcome addition to a classic or baking-themed hamper.
Once cooled, these honey roast nuts will keep in a sterilised air-tight jar for up to a month and make a perfect pre-dinner nibble with cocktails.
Have a go at making your own biscuits for cheese with this recipe for parmesan and apple oatcakes with a hint of mulling spices.
A grown-up chocolate offering. This vegan-friendly dark chocolate bark is topped with rosemary, sea salt, pistachios and candied peel. Do they have an even sweeter tooth? Try our white chocolate bark with waffles and marshmallows.
Chutney is another hamper stalwart, and a homemade offering is extra special. If you didn’t get around to preserving summer’s bounty there are still plenty of squash and apples in season.
Subscribe to our magazine
Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.Subscribe
Unleash your inner chef
Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter