Holidays are here, and there’s nothing like a Christmas gift basket to show someone you care. Of course, the best gift baskets (opens in new tab) are designed to cater to every type of person, and they’re also posted direct to the recipient to save you the trouble, but if you would rather make your own bespoke Christmas gift basket or Holiday hamper from home, here’s how.
Although our guidance is holiday-specific, you can find more great advice in our guide to easy gift basket ideas (opens in new tab). This includes theme ideas, such as spa days, movie nights, or a healthy eating kickstarter to get the new year off to a great start.
Get some inspiration
Even though you’re not buying one, that doesn’t mean you can’t browse gift basket companies to find inspiration. Harry & David gift baskets (opens in new tab) are our personal favorites, and we’ve seen some great options this year for kids and adults alike. One of the best baskets we’ve seen is a stocking-style bag of goodies for kids, and it would be easy to make a Santa-style sack out of an old pillowcase or a burlap sack if you don’t have a hamper or basket lying around. Browse the website here (opens in new tab) for more ideas.
Make your own goodies
It’s not the holidays until you’ve done some festive baking, and this is one of the cheapest ways to fill your Christmas gift basket. You can use a stand mixer (opens in new tab) to make cake or cookies, or even use a popcorn maker (opens in new tab) to make some sweet or salty popcorn. Here are some of the easiest hamper fillers you can make, and it’s easy to get kids involved in creating these treats.
This is a failsafe. You don’t even need to make your own cookies to pull off a great custom Christmas treat. Many gift basket companies offer hampers of chocolate-coated Oreos, and you can simply melt some chocolate and dip your cookie of choice into it to make these bespoke snacks.
After this, you can dip your chocolate-coated cookies in festive sprinkles or even crushed up candy canes. This is a great step if the kids want to get involved. Then just put them in the fridge and let the chocolate totally set.
Another feature in many gift baskets is a nut selection. This can be sweet, salty, or even spicy, and it’s one of the easiest things you can make. Buy some nuts from the grocery store and toss them in a spice mix to make some salty nut mix, or for something a bit sweeter, make your own candied nuts. To do this, add one cup of your nuts of choice to a quarter cup of sugar and a tablespoon of butter. Then heat on the cooktop, stirring to mix, until the nuts are coated in a caramel. Spread out and separate, leaving to set until cook, before adding to your hamper.
Hot cocoa mix
We said the others were easy, but this one may be the easiest. Great for kids or those with a sweet tooth, homemade hot cocoa powder is a cheap and easy festive treat. To make your own hot cocoa simply combine equal parts granulated sugar to unsweetened cocoa powder. You can throw in some mini marshmallows after combining to add an extra treat. Add it to sachets or a mason jar and slot it into your hamper.
Make it boozy
Sending your Christmas hamper to an adult? Adding a bottle of something boozy to the basket is a surefire way to guarantee a merry Christmas, and it’s easy to pick up a bottle of wine, spirits, or liquor at your local grocery store.
You can infuse rub, whisky, or vodka with festive flavors if you want to extend your personal touch to your drink selection. My Baking Addiction (opens in new tab) has some fantastic recipes for homemade infused vodka, including a recipe for citrus rosemary vodka and cranberry orange vodka. They’re super easy, and you can make a candy cane spirit infusion of your choice (although we recommend gin or vodka) by simply adding crushed candy canes to a bottle of alcohol and infusing for half an hour before straining and bottling up.
Adding locally-made, artisanal products is a great way of adding a personal touch to your Christmas hamper. Not only does this support local businesses, but it’s also a surefire way of guaranteeing that you’re sending something unique and different to friends and family, that they couldn’t find at the grocery store. Some examples of local produce could be cheese and crackers, or you can include some honey if you want to add something sweet.
Another way to pack your hamper with unique products is to add tableware to accompany your food and drink items. You could visit a ceramic store to buy some locally-made glasses or mugs to pair with your hot chocolate powder or Christmas liqueur.
Don’t forget the festive flair
When it comes to making a Christmas gift basket, packing it all up is the most important part. Firstly, anything delicate or likely to shatter needs to be protected with layers of wrapping, especially if you’re shipping your basket to someone far away.
Think about the first thing you want your recipient to see when they open the basket. Leave labels facing upright and, most importantly, be sure to place a card (photo card (opens in new tab) or otherwise) front and center, so your recipient knows immediately who the gift is from.