Christmas can be a right pain sometimes. You’ve got enough going on as it is. Christmas parties, work overload, travel plans going wrong… and then there’s the 101 presents you need to get for the family. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have people that are genuinely impossible to buy for. They don’t seem to like ANYTHING and you slog every year trying to think of the perfect gift that will bring a smile to their faces. No matter how hard you try, you still fail miserably.
Well, we all know there’s one thing that most people can’t frown about. Food, of course. Last year, for many of my relatives, I made Christmas hampers and they were awesome. I simply wrapped up a cardboard box with festive wrapping paper and filled it with goodies.
You can go the whole hog and make all of your food from scratch, or you can simply buy bits and bobs from markets and supermarkets. I enlisted the help of Katie Marshall of Been There Baked That and Hayley Smith from Boxed Out. They make hampers every year. Find out what makes theirs so special and how to get started…
I make Christmas hampers for my nan, and I choose all of her favourite food and drink to fill it. Last year it included hot chocolate, elderflower cordial, cheese and biscuits, marshmallows, chocolate, pate and bread, champagne and coffee. My nan has dementia and the hamper helps her memory and provides her with presents that she finds familiar. This year, I’m also doing one for my Grandad.
I will be adding the same things to my nan’s to keep with the similarity aspect. However, my Grandad is the worse person to buy for so I need to think about what to add to his. He is a really fussy eater and doesn’t eat sweets.
Making presents is a great way to show someone you care at Christmas; it adds that extra personal touch and it’s fun for me to make too (and not just because I get to lick the spoon). Making a hamper of tasty treats is always a good gift for grandparents — they never want for anything and really appreciate the love that goes into making them gifts.
I like to make things that are quintessentially Christmassy, using flavours such as cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and brandy. Treats like gingerbread, shortbread and spiced chutneys always go down well, and they’re easy to make too!
This year, I’m making fudge. I’m going to make a few batches of white, milk and dark chocolate and then split it to make different flavours for different people in my family; dark chocolate and stem ginger fudge for Grandad, white chocolate and raspberry fudge for Mum, and milk chocolate and amaretto fudge for Nan (she loves a festive tipple)! The possibilities are endless — peppermint, mocha, chocolate and orange, rum and raisin, salted caramel…
Their Top Tips For Beginners:
1. Make a list of all of the things the recipient of the gift loves. Then you’ll know what to buy to tick all the boxes.
2. Think what to add a few weeks before Christmas. Shop around for the best bargains in supermarkets and buy as you go, rather than all at once. It’s fun watching a hamper come together.
3. If you want to add fresh food, leave this until Christmas Eve. Then it will last Christmas day, boxing day and few after that too.
4. If you’re making your own food, plan what you’re going to make in advance. If you’re thinking about something like pickled gherkins, you may be too late now as you need at least 3 months before! At this time of the year, keep it simple and effective.
5. With baked goods make things that you can freeze so you can make them in advance and avoid a frantic Christmas Eve baking session.
6. Buy all the decorative and labelling bits & bobs online. If you fish about you can find a right bargain which will keep costs down.
7. Go in with someone else. If you’ve got a partner or a sibling, how about the two of you club together to tackle the relatives? You can share the cost and give more this way.
At SORTEDfood, we have recipes for 7 amazing festive food gifts. Take a look to draw inspiration for your own hampers:
Do any of you make your own Christmas hampers? Next week we’ll be discussing out of the box ideas for the contents of a Christmas hamper, so if you have anything to contribute, LET US KNOW via Twitter or Facebook. We can’t WAIT for Christmas… can you?