Christmas Hampers – where do they come from?
Christmas hampers are traditional gifts usually in form of small basket or wicker hamper, given to family or friends and filled with traditional Christmas foods and wine. In the US, the tradition varies a bit and in the Christmas gift baskets you would find a lot of non-food items, like scented soaps, towels or skincare products. The tradition behind Christmas hampers originates back to 11th century, when the custom was introduced in England by France, but became very popular only in the Victorian period. The introduction of railways made transporting of food very easy and cheap, so people would use this option to send food filled gift baskets to their family for Christmas. Hamper gifts were also given by wealthy people to their servants on Boxing Day, as a special Christmas gift and contained practical items likes food and clothes.
Nowadays when we mention charity, we think of financial donations, but back in the days Christmas hampers were actually the main way to give back to the community and a source of philanthropy. They were filled with food, clothing and household products and give as a gesture of goodwill to deprived families in the town. The tradition of charitable hampers has also evolved and instead of perishable items that would last only a few days or a week, they later started featuring canned and packaged food that lasted longer.
Christmas hampers are a great solution for those who can't be with their family during Christmas, or simply want to send something more than just a simple Christmas card. Unlike flowers, or plants, Christmas hamper can be enjoyed and indulged by whole family. Be careful when you order your hamper online to make sure your place your order early enough before Christmas time – bad weather might delay your hamper delivery, so plan in advance to avoid this. Another thing to keep in mind is the recipient and food intolerance – check in advance to make sure you're not sending some food that they won't be able to enjoy.
What to put in a Christmas hamper?
Whether you're buying a Christmas hamper online, or want to make a festive hamper to send to your family one at home, there are certain things that shouldn't miss: every festive occasion starts with a good wine – add a bottle of fine red wine or if you can find, a mulled wine. If you can stretch your budget a bit further, opt for a bottle of good Champagne. Other staples of a Christmas hamper include organic jams, marmalade and pate, finest English tea, tea biscuits, selection of British Cheese with complimenting cheese crackers, organic honey and a selection of nuts. To finish things off on a sweet note, there should be a plum pudding, fruitcake, Christmas cake or a selection of finest Belgian chocolates. If you're lucky to find a good Christmas hamper online, you can also get minced pies, Christmas cake slab, mulled winter punch wine, chocolate coated strawberries, meringues and luxury Christmas pudding. If you're looking for something a bit less traditional, there is a variety of hampers featuring pampering products that are sure to impress and last a bit longer than the food.
What's in a Christmas hamper around the world?
If you could travel the world and see what people get in their Christmas hamper, which country would you start with? Let's go with the neighbours, if you were to receive a Christmas hamper in France, you will definitely find a French classic - Bûche de Noël. Want to hear something a bit more unusual? In Canada, you would receive pink coloured chicken bones candy, all time favourite for the festive period. People in Greece enjoy Kourabiedes during Christmas, it's a shortbread with almond flavour, dusted in powedered sugar. Cakes are another favourite also in Russia, where if you open your hamper you would certainly see the Christmas staple – Russian tea cakes. Have you heard about Amaretti ? These cookies are epitome of the festive season and you're certain to find one in an Italian Christmas hamper.
How much should you spend on Christmas hamper?
Can you put a price tag on love? Surely not! But that doesn't mean that you have to buy the world's most expensive hamper, currently priced at eye watering £85,000. Are you wondering what's inside? If you lift the wicker top, you would find, among other goodies, the world's rarest caviars – Almas caviar, mythical Joselito gran reserve ham, foie gras and even goose foie gras doused with black truffles. Do you still think splurging over £100 on Christmas hamper would break the bank? There are good news for those who want to indulge their loved ones with a festive hamper, but can't afford to buy them at the very moment – many companies are offering to send your Christmas hampers with the option to pay for them weekly or monthly basis. Nothing says Merry Christmas like getting into debt for sake of impressing your family and friends, right?