Sometimes it can be hard to think of gifts for our loved ones, especially when we can’t afford to spend a fortune. We can feel trapped between going over budget to get something that we think is really special, to buying something that is within budget but just doesn’t feel exciting enough. This was exactly how I was feeling just the other week. We had planned to visit some relatives and with it being their anniversary coming up soon, I thought that I should be organised and give them their gift early. So, I decided to give them a hamper full of goodies.
Making a Hamper
I have received hampers before but I’ve never made one myself, so I was a bit apprehensive about doing a good job. But little did I know that making hampers must be one of the most fun gifts* that I have ever made! Not only can you decide how much you are wanting to pay (so there is no pressure), they are also really personal to the loved one that you’re making it for, so that you feel like you are doing something very special.
The first thing that I had to do was decide what type of hamper it was going to be. There are so many options to choose from such as a pamper hampers, continental hampers or even a gardening hamper. They can be whatever theme you fancy, I decided to do an evening supper hamper and this is how I went about it.
The first job is to find something to put the goodies in. Usually a basket is used for this, but not many of us seem to have spare baskets lying around the house. A good place to pick up a cheap basket, though, is your local charity shop or car boot sale. If you don’t have time to go hunting for a basket, then a cardboard box will do the job just as well. To make it look pretty all you need to do is pick up some fancy wrapping paper and give the box a bit of a makeover. If you are to do either of these choices, I would imagine that this part would cost you no more than a couple of pounds. I had a basket lying around in a cupboard from a hamper gift that we had been given last year, so if you ever get given one it could be a good idea to keep hold of it just in case you fancy doing one yourself sometime.
Picking the Goodies
OK, so once we have decided on how big the hamper is going to be, the next step is to find some bargains to put in it. As I had decided to do a supper theme, I thought that a nice bottle of red wine must definitely be in there. I found a great deal on a bottle of red at Sainsbury’s*, it was reduced from £10 down to £7.50. Now, I’ll be honest and say that I don’t usually spend £7.50 on a bottle of wine for myself, but I thought that it was one of those areas where spending that little bit more would be worth it.
Now, what goes well with red wine? Yes, cheese and crackers. When I buy cheese and crackers for myself I never bother buying the big brands but it just felt a bit wrong to put supermarket own brands in a luxury hamper, so this is definitely where hunting for bargains plays a big part. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a homemade hamper because that kind of defeats the object. You do still want it to look expensive, though. Bearing this in mind I managed to pick up some Le Rustique Brie for £1.50 and some Blacksticks Blue for £1. I also got a packet of Jacobs salt and black pepper crackers for just £1. I think that hunting for bargains is the best part of making hampers, and it was as I was wondering around the supermarket doing just this that a lovely looking jar of chutney caught my eye, it was a red onion chutney by The English Provender Co and it was reduced to £1.50, so of course it went straight in the trolley. 🙂
I thought that it would be nice to add another element to the hamper, so when I took my boys to the old fashioned sweet shop in town, I noticed that they had some gorgeous looking packets of chocolate. You know when the packaging just makes you want to buy it, it was one of those moments. The chocolates were handmade in Lancashire and came in a variety of flavours. Seen as though the hamper was full of quite bold and rich flavours, I decided to buy a packet of the Stem Ginger flavour for £2.95, yummy!
Once I was happy with the amount of food and drink I was going to put in the hamper (my basket was only a small/medium size) it was time to head down to my local florist and pick up some cellophane. I would imagine that most florists will sell you some cellophane, but if not you can always try looking online. I bought 1 metre of cellophane for £1, which was just enough.
Just before I went home to wrap it all up, I remembered to buy a card* for their anniversary and just happened to have a nosy down the clearance section in the supermarket (my favourite section) and found a lovely little plaque that said ‘Bon appetit’ for just £1.50. I thought that this would be a nice touch as this is something that they can keep.
Wrapping the Hamper
I had no idea at all how to wrap a hamper in cellophane, so I did what most of us do nowadays when we want to find out how to do something, and I went onto YouTube. As you can imagine it is full of helpful videos on wrapping hampers in all different kinds of ways. So I just chose one that I liked the look of (and also looked easy) and went from there.
The final touches are totally up to you on how you want your hamper to look. I already had some ribbon* and a little brown luggage label lying around the house, so these worked perfectly to give it an extra special finish.
So there we have it, my very first hamper gift. All in all it cost me just under £18 which I think is pretty good for a personalised and yummy gift. But of course, the beauty of a hamper is that you are completely in control of the design, the goodies and most importantly the cost. I learned that a hamper is a gift that you can make work around your own budget, don’t work your budget around the gift.
What about you, have you ever gave a hamper as a gift? If you have, what did you put in it?