Last-Minute, Super-Easy Christmas Gift

So tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I know for a fact that there are people out there in a mild panic about Christmas shopping.

You probably already know that I have Scrooge-tendencies from some posts I have previously written about Christmas.

It isn’t so much that I’m a Scrooge, it’s more that I don’t subscribe to all of the ‘stuff’ that everyone feels the need to do and buy in the run-up to Christmas.  I mean, how much does it all really matter?

That said, I’m not totally dead inside, and when my mother sent me off to my new house this week with a beautiful hamper in tow, I was feeling pretty special and pretty loved.

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I’ve been a hamper fan for many years.  Ian and I bought hampers for our parents after we got married as a thank-you gift for everything they had contributed to our wedding (it was a lot!).

To me, hampers symbolise luxury and decadence whilst at the same time demonstrating thoughtfulness for the recipient.

You can usually individually-select each item in the hamper, so it will be perfectly tailored for the loved-one you are purchasing it for.

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In my case, mum had not gone to a hamper-company for my hamper – she had created it herself.  For me, this made it even more special.  She had gone to the trouble of finding food and drinks that Ian and I particularly like and had found a perfect box to contain it in so it was beautifully-presented.

So, to give you some last-minute inspiration for an easy, DIY gift that you can do today in your favourite supermarkets, without the stress and hassle of the local high-street, I’m showing you a little of what mum did with her hamper.

The Box

You’ll need something aesthetically-pleasing to contain your hand-selected items in.  I don’t know if mum bought the box first and then filled it up, or vice versa, but I would say that the easiest way to do this would be to source a box or wicker-basket first.  It will be easier to buy items that perfectly fit into it than the other way round.

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Mum found our box in Waitrose, and after briefly checking online, they are selling wooden crates for this exact purpose.  You can purchase a box or crate from any shop that sells homewares, crafts shops like Hobbycraft or even garden centres.  And you can make it as big or small as you like.

The Presentation

As well as a box, you’ll need some clear plastic to wrap the filled hamper with.  This will keep everything together and it will look more finished than an open box.

You will need a pretty ribbon to tie your covering together at the top, and to attach a label.

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To present the gifts beautifully inside the box, source some colourful shredded tissue paper.  You can get this in larger supermarket branches or if you live near a local independent stationer or art shop, you can get it there too.  If you were feeling particularly thrifty, you could even use a paper shredder to shred some old newspaper, and use that.

Mum colour-coordinated the label with the shredded paper, which looked super-festive in red.  She also ensured that the contents appeared to be spilling out of the box, as opposed to looking lost inside the box.  You want your hamper to be brimming.

The Contents

This is probably the easy bit.  My sensible side would say to make a list of the things that the recipient likes and head to your favourite supermarkets to get them.

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However, the stuff that is contained in hampers is usually the tasty, luxury items that you’d see on the shelf and buy after the lure of the lovely branding.  So you may as well head straight to the booze section or snack sections and pick up the luxury items that you know they will adore.

In our case, mum headed to a combination of Waitrose, Aldi, HEMA and M&S.  Ian and I are fans of most food-stuff from Waitrose, so she couldn’t have gone far wrong in there.

Aldi sell some of my favourite chocolate items, and both Lidl and Aldi sell a stellar range of gourmet goods at exceptional price-points.

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Think about your recipient’s tastes.  Do they prefer sweets or savouries?  What is their favourite tipple?  Select items based on these.

Items that do not require refrigeration work particularly well as you can assemble your hamper in advance and not have to worry about items in the fridge.

If you’re particularly handy in the kitchen, you could add items that you’ve made like homemade jams or pickles.  My friend Renee gave me a bottle of infused-vodka when she visited me the other week.  This would have been a perfect item in a hamper.

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Of course, you don’t have to stick with food.  You could create a themed-hamper based on a person’s particular interests.  But, as we’re short on time now, you may just want to stick with a food-based hamper that you can put together from your supermarkets or local independents today.

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When I opened up my hamper this week, I felt incredibly special knowing that mum had worked so hard at sourcing all of the delicious treats, as well as assembling it so beautifully.  Although it cost her money (I hate the materialism at Christmas), it was infinitely more special than a bottle of perfume or token pair of socks.  The effort she’d put in was impossible to ignore.

So before you join the masses and hit the high street in search of the ‘perfect’ dressing gown or slippers, why not head for some food shops, pick up some tasty treats and assemble a gorgeous hamper for your loved-ones?

What would you find in your perfect hamper?

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7 thoughts on “Last-Minute, Super-Easy Christmas Gift

    1. So in answer to your text message – yes I tried my coffee vodka and it was scrumptious! I’l be having a couple tonight. Would be a perfect addition to a hamper. Thank you so much for it – gorgeous grown-up milkshake! xxx

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  1. I’d have to agree- a thoughtfully sourced and presented hamper is a wonderful gift – however I’m not sure if I’d class it as last minute if you’ve got to visit lots of different shops for crate, different foodie bits, cellophane etc and it’s definitely a special present as not cheap I’m guessing! 😊 Please can you and Reneé visit me in the new year? Presents not required but I won’t say no to infused vodka 😄 Xx

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    1. Sam, I reckon I could go to a big branch of Tesco and Lidl/Waitrose to get everything I needed for that hamper. AND, the key thing would be avoiding the high street, which would have been merry hell today. Definitely not a cheap option for a present, but money well-spent. Food is happiness and the thought and care that goes into creating a hamper far exceeds the thought it takes to pick an equally pricey shirt off the shelf in Timberland (I may or may not have done this exact thing today). I adore hampers. I would happily spend my days assembling hampers – although I believe it would require some £££s. We will come and see you! xx

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  2. The whole idea of a hamper is to bring joy and delight to the recipients. It is easy to achieve if you know what the recipient’s enjoy. This was a delight for me to assemble as everything was picked with thought. A small hamper is achievable to do if you are stuck for an idea.

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    1. Mum, it was a beautiful hamper and you’re right – if you know the recipient, it is very easy to put together some of their favourite things into one box/basket. It doesn’t have to be large. You could do a small one with some lovely biscuits, a portion of excellent cheese and top-notch port. We felt exceedingly special when you presented us with ours, and we’re still enjoying all of the lovely treats now. Thank you mum – Happy Christmas xxxxx

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