Creating a Christmas hamper – budget food hamper & stocking ideas

**This post contains items that were gifted in exchange for review and/or affiliate links.  These items will be marked with a star**

This Christmas I’m going all out and getting creative – with a recent job change I can’t afford to buy very much at all present-wise, so I’m attempting to hand-make as much as possible and main presents for close family will be hampers.  Food and drink are always well received and are so easy to do, whether your hand make or shop buy.

A hamper can be whatever you want it to be – and the beauty of them is how easily they can be made to suit anyone.  And if a hamper isn’t your thing you could also fill a stocking – any of the ideas in this post could be used as stocking fillers as well.

Can this be done on a budget?

The basics

You don’t need a posh wicker basket, you can always use a cardboard box or ask your local supermarket for discarded boxes(like the ones used to fresh produce that sometimes lurk under the checkouts).  You could wrap it in wrapping paper or get the kids to paint some brown paper and make their own wrapping paper for a more personal touch.

If you do go for a traditional wicker-style basket Lidl currently stock one complete with cellophane wrapping for £4.99 or Amazon* have a wide selection, they are quite easy to get hold of.

I’m not a huge fan of plastic wrapping as I’m trying to cut costs and be a little more environmentally friendly so I prefer a box that’s deep enough to contain everything without the need for wrapping.  You can ‘stuff’ your box with shredded tissue or newspaper to pad it out if need be.


What to put in

A hamper staple has to be a bottle of something – it doesn’t have to be alcoholic, why not make the best of the bottle tombola at local or school Christmas fairs for wines and spirits on a budget; or check your local supermarket or off licence for deals on multiple bottles.  I tie ribbon around the neck of the bottle and curl it using scissors(old school trick) to make it look a little nicer.

Why not get your bake on?  Make some fudge or Christmas biscuits, even little cakes that can be wrapped in paper bags or little boxes, most people really appreciate the effort that goes into a homemade gift more so than anything shop bought.  Slow cooker fudge is cheap and easy to do and shortbread is super quick to make and lasts well as a gift.

Most people in the UK love a cup of tea and flavoured Christmas tea like these gift sets and boxes from Adagio Teas UK* would make a lovely addition to a hamper or stocking.  I love the Stocking Stuffers set, the little tins are lovely and you could split the box across multiple stockings/hampers or gift the box as one.  Or keep it for yourself – they are rather lovely…


A bit of an odd one for a hamper but I came across Rhythm 108* at a blogging conference earlier in the year and was impressed – they are made from natural, whole foods and are really tasty.  They look really cool and although you can buy them individually from Sainsburys you can purchase boxes of multiples to split between several hampers/stockings.  Or again, keep them all for yourself – they are hard to share.  Yum.

Image Credit: Rhythm 108

Popcorn is an easy one to make; buy a big bag of popping corn and flavour it yourself or if like me you’ve lost one too many saucepans to burnt popcorn(waaa) check out Popcorn Shed*.  I can verify that the Butterly Nuts popcorn is the best I’ve ever tasted and I did indeed eat the whole ‘shed’ by myself in one sitting.  I love the package design and the flavours are so tasty and gluten free.  Again you can buy bundles and selections to split apart to suit your needs.  I wouldn’t give away the nutty one though, keep that for yourself…

If baking isn’t your thing look out for discounts on tins of biscuits – there are so many lovely tins and selections available they are perfect for filling a large chunk of a hamper and are always welcomed and enjoyed.

Cheese and crackers are very much a Christmas staple in our household; you can buy pre-packed ‘cheese boards’ in most supermarkets or buy individual cheeses, Lidl and Aldi are especially good for this as they stock different varieties at reasonable prices.  In previous years I’ve put these in the top of the hamper in a box and marked them to be chilled, no one wants warm smelly cheese. 🙂

Jams, preserves and chutneys(and even pickles) make a lovely gift idea; you can reuse old jars or pick up cheap flip-top jars from IKEA and make your own.  Old cookbooks, especially ones from the fifties and sixties have some really simple yet tasty ideas that can be made months in advance.  Or check out local fairs for local produce, they usually look lovely and taste amazing.

For the little people in your life you can use any of the above ideas(apart from alcohol, obviously) but for extra ease you can throw in some extras.  Pound shops are ideal for filling up hampers and stockings with things like crayons, colouring books, sweets, small toys and so on.

Arranging your hamper

I’m no creative genius but it’s a simple as arranging the items in the box – that’s really all there is to it.  I’ve done hampers in previous years and they have always been well received – so much more so than a shop bought gift.

Are you a hamper pro?  I’d love to hear your tips, leave them in the comments below 🙂

**This post contains items that were gifted in exchange for review and/or affiliate links.  These items will be marked with a star**



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