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Struggling with the ungiftable? Six tricks to make a Christmas hamper the perfect present

christmas hamperFinding presents for children is easy enough (technology, tech and maybe some more tech) but what about getting Christmas gifts for the man or woman in your life who has everything. Or worse, those elderly relatives who actually don’t want anything?

I was wandering through Waitrose yesterday and picked up their Christmas hamper brochure. There’s some lovely fancy stuff in there. But then I looked at the cost and realised that not even I could afford £1,000 for the Christmas Treasure Chest Hamper, even if it all came in a Kubu rattan-lidded trunk, whatever that is. Plus the fact that there’s always some item in the mix which you don’t want. Years afterwards you’ll be finding a bag of olives or jar of strange chutney which nobody wanted to eat pushed to the back of the cupboard.

Those are the problems with shop-bought hampers, but they shouldn’t put you off the idea because it’s a great gift solution. I’ve been making my own hampers as Christmas presents for a few years now and I’d like to share a few tips on how to make them really hit the spot, even for those people who are normally impossible to buy for.

1. Don’t worry about the container. No-one is bothered about whether it’s a real 1920s style picnic basket; they want to eat the stuff inside. I’ve used cut-down cardboard boxes or shoe boxes covered in wrapping paper, cheap baskets bought online and those £5 wooden crates (Knagglig) from Ikea. Fill with paper shreds or straw or torn up tissue paper, cover with cellophane and tie up with ribbon. Just make sure your container is not too small or too big for the amount of stuff you’re giving.

2. Spend as much or as little as you like. You can put expensive wine in or small stationery items, it’s up to you.

3. Themed. It doesn’t just have to be food and drink. For a friend last year I created a “gold” hamper which included gold soap, a gold phone charger cable and gold-dusted truffles. A gardener would perhaps love a selection of seeds and small tools, or a chef some utensils and ingredients.

4. Random treats. Some individuals might not like the aforementioned olives or chutney but that doesn’t mean others won’t. Those with adventurous tastes might like a new spice or sweet that they haven’t tried before and wouldn’t buy normally.

5. Stuff they actually want. I’ve filled hampers for elderly relatives with items as humble as Heinz soup and Sainsbury’s teabags. They’ve been delighted to get the everyday items they actually like and always use.

6. Really make your own. This requires time and effort but you could bulk-bake or cook homemade chocolates, jam and biscuits and send them out to everybody across the board. It tastes better than shop-bought and everyone will be impressed at your labour of love. You’d save money too!

See our SMM guide to saving at Christmas here.


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Saturday, 20 April 2019