A hamper full of festive cheer

Creating your own Christmas hamper is much cheaper than buying a ready made one, and a lot more fun too, writes Sabrina Grant

We are barely into November and they’ve already started playing Christmas music in the shops.  The very unavoidable scream of Noddy Holders’ ‘Its Christmaaas…” puts us into panic that December 25th is nearing and it’s time to start thinking about presents.

This year you’ve been invited to your partners’ family home for Christmas dinner. You don’t want to go empty handed but you’re worried about going into the New Year broke as you’ve already totaled up how much money you’ll be spending buying gifts for your parents, brother and sisters, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles and even the next door neighbor’s cat.

So what can you take round without breaking the bank?  Why not try a homemade festive hamper!

“A store-bought Christmas hamper always seems like a bit of a clichéd gift (not to mention a pricey one). Compiling your own is a much cheaper alternative and will really show your loved ones that you’ve put time and effort into their present.”  Says TV’s homemaker and crafts queen Kirstie Allsopp.

Set yourself a limit and don’t go over it. You can fill it with whatever you like depending on your budget; just remember to include those festive essentials like Christmas pudding, short bread and mulled wine and you’re off to a good start.

Set out early if you’ve got a few shops to go to, that way you can avoid the mad rush of stressful shoppers and the long queues at the till. There are always plenty of deals on around this time of year. Most supermarkets will have great wines and spirits on offer. You don’t just have to fill your hamper with food, you could add scented candles, Christmas crackers or even festive socks.

You may find that the most expensive thing to buy when making hampers is the basket; this needn’t be the case if you think outside the box. Check out your local charity shops, 99p stores or even pop down to your local hardware store and buy a wicker bin, magazine rack, alternately if you really want to save money you could just use and old shoe box which you can cover in wrapping paper.

Hampers really can be the perfect gift for all ages and tastes buds. Earn yourself some extra brownie points this year and save yourself the stress, time and money involved in trawling the shops looking for gift inspiration. Your personalised hamper will tick all the boxes and if you’re lucky you might even get to help the recipients eat some of its contents.