DIY Christmas Hampers (AKA Gift Baskets)

Food and gift hampers for Christmas are a warm, personal way to celebrate the holidays. For those in the U.S., a hamper is a term used in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdon (UK), Ireland, Canada and other countries for a gift basket of goodies. Christmas hampers can get costly if you buy them pre-assembled and give them out as gifts. If you're organizing employee gifts for a business, then you might buy corporate Christmas hampers wholesale. But if you just want to make up a few personalized food and gift hampers for the holidays for your friends and family, learn how to make your own. The ideas below can help you create holiday hampers just as beautiful and festive as those you buy in the shops.

How to Make a Christmas Hamper: Supplies

To save money, buy your basic hamper supplies in bulk, if possible--including containers, decorations and cards.

Gather your supplies. These include:

  • Hamper, basket or decorative box. For luxury Christmas hampers, make sure the hamper reflects the luxurious theme--even a velvet lining inside can turn a regular hamper into something special. For organic Christmas hampers, use hampers produced from organically grown materials such as bamboo.
  • Red and green tissue paper large enough to overflow the hamper. Use shiny or glossy decorative paper instead for corporate or luxury hampers.
  • Shop-bought packaged food and drink items, such as brandy, wine, smoked salmon, Christmas pudding, mince pies, gourmet cheese, gourmet candy, pralines, chocolates and meringues, dried fruit, marmalade or preserves, biscuits, cakes, crackers, crisps, roasted nuts, and pickled olives and capers. Include a variety or stick to a theme. For example, a coffee-themed gift basket is great for anybody who's a coffee connoisseur.
  • Non-edible gifts, such as pine- or cinnamon-spice-scented potpourri, a Christmas pudding candle, Christmas crackers, trinkets, pens, plush animals...even a Santa Claus or snow globe.
  • Decorations, such as ribbons, ornaments, snowflakes, tinsel, and mini-wreathes. Keep the colors simple. Christmas hampers can look too busy otherwise.
  • A small Christmas greeting card, to identify the giver and recipient.


How to Assemble a Hamper for Christmas

Like flower arrangements, Christmas gift hampers look fun, appetizing and appealing when they're filled, but they can take some painstaking work to arrange.

Even though it looks easy, making your own Christmas hamper can be a trial and error process. Here are tips for assembling the basket, hamper or box:

  • Lay in the tissue paper, if you're using it, gently, and only after you've decided exactly how to arrange the gift and food items in the hamper. This prevents the paper wrinkling from too much rearranging. Then fill the hamper.
  • Place in heavy and tall items, such as wine bottles, first. Then add smaller items, building up. If the hamper has a lid, set the tall items sideways. If it doesn't have a lid, create a "hill" of treats, biggest in the middle.
  • Decorate with ribbons, garlands, wreaths, tinsel and/or paper snowflakes last. Keep the decorations relatively simple, emphasizing only one or two colors, to bring artistic unity to the hodgepodge hamper. Use the decorations to smooth and fill in gaps in the hamper or, if necessary, to add volume if the Christmas foodstuffs and gift items look too lonely.
  • Shake the hamper slightly. If things rattle, put in some loose decorative padding, such as tinsel or potpourri.
  • Attach a holiday greeting card to the handle or outside of the hamper.
  • For a classy Christmas hamper, include at least one gift or food item that is considered luxury or gourmet, even if the rest of the hamper has minor or inexpensive items.
  • Choose foods and drinks that complement each other--savory with sweet, wine with cheese, etc. Consider selecting goods that are part of a theme.
  • Personalize the hamper by taking into account disparate tastes and food allergies.
  • Each hamper should include items of different sizes, from large to small.

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