A couple of years ago when I was on maternity leave with my youngest, I had a crazy wannabe WI moment where I decided to make Christmas hampers as gifts instead of buying. Then, unknown to me, I was also volunteered to have a craft stall at the school Christmas market, selling homemade gifts… All hell broke loose in my house and all I did was sew and bake for a solid month, but I loved it.
I thought I’d do a quick blog post about homemade gifts / hampers which I realise is possibly too late for this year (unless you’re as disorganised as me) but might inspire you to do some Christmas baking! I’ve also done hampers as house warming and thank you gifts so obviously they’re not exclusive to Christmas.
I normally buy my baskets in TK Maxx as they have a good selection of sizes at reasonable prices but also look out in garden centres and charity shops.
Lakeland do good bags for biscuits here (absolutely did not giggle at the word “gusseted” ahem) and jars here (beware the lids are sold separately but on the same site!) and most of my ribbon / labels and paper bags come from Etsy sellers as I find they’re a bit more individual than those from the High Street. I try to keep the packaging really simple and natural with twine and luggage tags or a bit of pretty ribbon.
My go to recipes are:
Shortbread (see below)
Ginger bread loaves (freeze well, ditto the shortbread and any biscuits really!)
Marmalade (keeps up to six months in sterilised jars in a cool place – add whiskey to taste!!!)
Lemon curd (keeps up to a month in sterilised jars in the fridge)
Spiced biscuits (my Nan’s recipe but I’m sure you’ll find plenty of you Google!)
And I have recently tried out Jamie Oliver’s luxury hot chocolate recipe which would be a great addition too.
This stuff freezes brilliantly and I’ve not met anyone who doesn’t love it yet. And it’s ridiculously easy!!!
4.5oz caster sugar
9oz plain flour
Sugar to dust
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the flour. Bring together to form a dough and roll out to about 1cm thick. Use whichever cutters you fancy and cook for 35 minutes or until golden at 150 degrees C. Boom!
I also crocheted these tree decorations to use as tags one year – oh for that kind of time!!! If you want to bulk your hamper out, adding a candle or some nice handwash or similar works well too. I’d recommend The Botanical Candle Company for unique homemade candles!
Now I’m off to do all my Christmas baking in one afternoon – wish me luck!!!