How to make a Christmas hamper

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Lily Barclay shares her top tips and festive ideas to making homemade Christmas hampers.

A luxury hamper under the Christmas tree really does give you that magical feeling – and if its homemade you can feel truly smug. Not only will you have the thought-factor sorted but youre bound to save cash on the homemade varieties too. And the beauty of doing it yourself is that you can make it as simple or as luxurious as you like.

Here are our top tips for hamper success…

Coloured cellophane gives a beautiful, polished look to homemade hampers. For a really professional finish you can use a hairdryer to blow-dry the shrink wrap on to the basket – it is generally best to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. You will know your hamper is finished when the cellophane is taut – a ribbon around the middle makes a nice finishing touch and will also keep those carefully positioned presents in place.

Wicker baskets can be found in most garden centres, online and in some department stores like John Lewis. But its worth scouring your local charity shops too (I picked up two from my local Oxfam last year and both were under 5). You can also use a pretty plate in a cellophane wrap to present your gifts, or a nice tray – both of which also work as an extra present.

Crepe paper and shredded paper work well to line the bottom of a hamper – you can find these materials from most art shops – or if you have a shredder try processing a few sheets of coloured paper to make your own. Add some glamour by mixing in sequins and glitter for a festive feel – or why not try experimenting with different materials like uncoated popcorn.

If youre making a hamper for a cheese lover – then treat them to some homemade accompaniments likesea salt water biscuits, afig and walnut sliceandspiced beetroot and orange chutney- add in some wine and a round of cheese – or abaked Camembert kit- and theyre sure to be in love.

Keep chocolate lovers sated with a hamper of sweet treats and youll definitely be popular. Who can say no to achocolate truffleorcoconut Florentine? Or try adding in atriple chocolate cupcake kitfor those who love to bake their own.

A bottle of wine in a Christmas hamper is almost compulsory but you dont have to stick with the standard.Turkish delight vodkais sure to impress,mulling syrupworks well in cider and wine – or try givinglimoncelloa Christmassy touch with oranges and spices.

You can view all ouredible giftrecipes here.

Have you made your own Christmas hamper? Let us know your tips and advice below.

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Ive been making a variety of chutnies over ther autumn months and mincemeat. I shall also be making cookies and truffles and presenting in old wicker baskets that Ive picked up at boot sales. Theyve been cleaned and one of them will have a light brushing of an antique white paint. Christmas ribbon weaved through the wicker as a final touch.

Im making my son a box of different home-made chutneys and jam assembled in a shoebox which I shall cover with Christmas paper. and the spaces will be filled with crumpled tissue paper saved from the toes of new shoes. I also give him a pack of smoked salmon, which he loves, instead of chocolates.

I did a suprise hamper for parents last year and put it in a Christmas box from card shop filled it with tissue paper and shredded tissue and put in homemade slow gin, coconut truffles, jam and biscuits, they loved it

I was making up a hamper for a charity raffle and wanted to save cash on the container. I bought 2 foil turkey roasting tins for 1 in the pound shop. I shredded old coloured paper into the bottom, filled it with practical items (lots of elderly live alone people at the event) wrapped it in cellophane, added a big ribbon and it looked very impressive. The turkey tin was a bonus for the winner and I was able to make up 2 hampers with donations. Knowing your recipient is important, single folk dont want huge boxes of biscuits, chocolates and big tins. There are lots of single portion items such as custard, puddings, jellies, cheeses etc. Also the presentation is important, cellophane and ribbon do make a big difference.

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