HOW TO PUT TOGETHER THE PERFECT HOMEMADE FESTIVE HAMPER.

I love a hamper, but ready-made they can be super pricey and sometimes you don’t feel like you’ve even getting that much for your money! This year, as I won’t be able to spend much time entertaining (where I usually take every opportunity to feed everyone – as I’ve said before, there’s a lot of Monica energy over here!) I thought it would be a lovely idea to re-channel all that festive culinary energy into some hampers to gift to family and friends this year.

There are so many great ideas on the internet for what to include in homemade hampers, but where to start? To save you guys all the trouble, I thought I’d post a little round-up of ideas to save some time and to make your hampers extra special this year.

SWEET TREAT IDEAS:

  • Gingerbread biscuits. Can’t argue with a classic! There are loads of great recipes for gingerbread, I’ve used this BBC Good Food one before and it’s worked really well. Whip up a few batches and then decorate with icing – you could even personalise them for your recipients – how cute!
  • Mince pies. Another classic, and you can make them as simple or more complicated as you’d like. Got lots of time on your hands? Make your own mincemeat and pastry. Running short? Buy ready-made jars of mincemeat and ready-rolled pastry. I used Delia Smith’s recipe, and I’ve had no complaints so far!
  • Honeycomb. A little packet of homemade honeycomb is perfect for any hamper – I’ve found this recipe for Chocolate-dipped honeycomb that I’m going to have to try making for my hampers!
  • Shortbread biscuits. A great alternative to gingerbread, and just as easy to cut into cute shapes! I’ve got a great simple recipe for some coming up on the blog later in the week.
  • Brittle. Such a lovely idea, a bag of brittle is such a festive treat – and this recipe for salted peanut and pretzel caramel brittle would be perfect.
  • Fudge. I LOVE fudge – I have to limit myself to only eating a small amount at this time of year or I think I’d just be eating it constantly… Anyway, this recipe for Baileys white chocolate fudge looks delish!
  • Sugar puff pastry trees. I stumbled upon this recipe and couldn’t get over how stunning they are – and how simple, all you need is ready-made puff pastry and sugar!

JAM, CHUTNEY & PRESERVE IDEAS:

  • Mincemeat. Another easy add-on if you’re already making mince pies, just double the amount of mincemeat you’re making and pop the extra into some sterilised jars, adding a waxed disc before the lid – simple!
  • Blackcurrant jam. Or any jam! I just happened to have some blackcurrant bushes for the first time this year and figured blackcurrant jam would make a great addition to the hampers. National Trust always have some great recipes for preserves, and you can either use fruit from your own garden if you’re lucky enough to have a productive garden, or buy it from a supermarket.
  • Apple chutney. Again, or any chutney, I just happened to have an apple tree… Perfect for pairing with their festive cheeses, this is one that might not last them until new year – and this recipe from The Marmalade Teapot is so easy too!
  • Kimchi. If your recipient is a fan of Japanese cooking, why not make a jar of homemade kimchi?

SAVOURY IDEAS:

  • Cheese straws. These are super easy, especially if you’re making anything else with shortcrust or puff pastry for the hamper! For a super quick version, simply fold grated cheese and some finely chopped herbs into any pastry offcuts, roll out and cut into strips before twisting and placing on a greaseproof-lined baking tray, adding a sprinkle of sea salt and place in the oven until golden.
  • Cheese sablés. For something a little fancier than a cheese straw, sables are a lovely alternative – these cheese and rosemary sablés look divine!
  • Grissini. The last cheese-based option I promise, but these Italian-style parmesan grissini looked too great not to include!
  • Bread. I found a great easy recipe for focaccia and had lots of rosemary to use, so it all worked out really well! But really any homemade bread makes a really lovely addition to a hamper, especially wrapped in brown paper and tied with string.
  • Spiced nuts. A big bag of spiced nuts to nibble is a great addition to a hamper, just tie up with string and add a cute label, then you’re good to go! I love this recipe for Spicy Rosemary Salted Nuts.
  • A pot of flavoured salt. Another great option with lots of opportunities for personalisation – you can use this recipe to get you started.
  • A small bunch of homegrown herbs for them to use in their Christmas dinner. Just cut a few stems from any herb plants in the garden (rosemary, bay, thyme and sage are all great choices!) and tie in a bunch with a ribbon or some string.

DRINKABLE IDEAS:

  • Flavoured gin. Make a simple festive flavoured gin with just a day’s infusing time, or a slightly more complicated pink festive gin (it takes the same time, just requires a few more ingredients!).
  • Fruit or elderflower cordial. This is slightly more complicated than infusing gin, but turning fruit into cordial is a lovely non-alcoholic alternative to flavoured alcohol.
  • Homemade beer. I’m lucky enough to have a passionate amateur brewer in the house, so I don’t know a huge amount about making it other than it takes a little bit of time and some equipment, but you can pick up beer-making kits fairly easily in places like Wilko.
  • Personalised tea bags. Such a simple and easy idea, these would make a great gift for any tea lovers in your life. This simple how-to will show you exactly how to put them together and personalise them too!

NON-EDIBLE IDEAS:

  • Clay hanging tree ornaments. Some shameless self-promotion here, but I think my clay tree ornaments make a lovely addition to any hamper.
  • Foraged wreath. A great idea to include in a hamper for someone special that looks super impressive but won’t cost very much, forage around your garden or local foothpath (remember never to take from private property, don’t take more than you need and always double-check you’re not picking anything poisonous!) for some seasonal stems and put together a beautiful rustic wreath.
  • Homemade bath bombs. Give the gift of a good pamper session by including some homemade bath bombs.
  • Dog treats. I mean, obviously these are edible, but not for humans! Treat the recipient’s furry family member by including a jar of homemade biscuits just for them – this recipe is so simple.

Don’t forget to share with me any pictures of your Christmas hampers using any of my ideas, I always love seeing your creations I’ve inspired!

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