A personalised gift hamper is a perfect gift for the hard to buy for person. Find out here how to make hampers at home as well as ideas of things to include in a hamper.
In my 20s, I worked at the department store Grace Bros (now Myer) in the gift section. During Christmas and Easter, we sold gift hampers, both pre-made and ones we made up ourselves.
To me, buying a pre-made hamper seemed a little impersonal, especially when I heard customers sigh: ‘I don’t care, let’s just get them that one and be done with it.’
But the custom-made hampers were different. We would help people select what they wanted to include. Sometimes they would add a bottle of wine, wine glasses or silk scarf, and we would do it up nicely for them.
A well thought out, personalised hamper that you create yourself is light years better than a pre-packaged one you can buy at the shops.
Not only will it be well received because it’s tailored to the recipient, but it can also be a lot of fun to make up as well.
Making a hamper that’s personalised especially for the recipient will ensure it is useful, full of goodies the receiver likes, rather than it being just another hamper. And they can be very frugal if you make up a hamper with on sale, secondhand and handmade items.
Fancy food items that a person wouldn’t normally buy make a nice hamper, but a hamper full of useful groceries is also a well-received and practical gift.
It’s a little more work than buying a pre-wrapped hamper off the shelf but isn’t the effort you take to personalise your gift makes the gift so much more meaningful.
How to Put Together a Hamper Your Recipient Will Love
1. Theme Your Hamper
There are so many potential items for a gift basket that having a theme narrows the options, making it easier to plan.
Often the theme will reflect the occasion for the hamper. A baby hamper will be quite different from a wedding hamper.
If the occasion doesn’t present a specific theme then consider:
- Who is the basket for?
- What are their interests and hobbies, likes and dislikes?
Some gift hamper basket ideas include:
- Food theme – not just any food, but it might be a wine or beer hamper or a chocolate hamper or a homemade hamper or a BBQ themed hamper. What does the recipient like to eat?
- Gardening theme
- Crafting theme – I would love a hamper full of quilting odds and ends and fabric!
- Spa hamper
- Movie-themed hamper
- A relaxing or time-out theme – a new mum might love a hamper with her favourite magazine, some nice tea, relaxing music, chocolates, bath salts etc.
- Tea or coffee theme
- Sports themed hamper
Looking for more ideas for hamper baskets? Check out these fun hamper ideas.
2. Decide on Your Gift Giving Budget
Your budget will dictate what to put in a hamper basket. There are so many options, it’s easy to get carried away.
If your budget is minimal, including tickets to the opera in amongst the gourmet wine and chocolates will probably be out of the question.
But you don’t need to spend a lot to make an amazing gift hamper. The beauty of making a hamper is that you’re able to put a lot of small inexpensive items together to make a gift that is really nice, without costing a lot.
For a more frugal gift hamper, you can make the hamper items yourself. The hamper in the photo below includes homemade choc-chip cookies and homemade truffles that have been packaged in DIY boxes.
I once made up “gift pack” hampers for a couple of young girls to make their own cards.
I included scrapbooking supplies, cardstock, embellishments etc., that I already had on hand and supplemented these with a couple of glitter pens and some stickers, embellishments etc. from the $2 shop.
It ended up being a really well-received gift (their mother said they spent hours crafting) and only cost a few dollars. These were packed in recycled plastic sleeves that you get packs of speciality paper in and I made up a label in Word with card making instructions/hints to go in the pack. While not technically a hamper (nary a basket in sight) it’s the same concept.
[Read more: 15 Second-hand items that make good gifts.]
3. What Do You Put in a Hamper Basket?
Hampers aren’t all about marmalade and shortbread. You can put anything in your hamper. The only important thing is to make sure the contents are personal and appropriate for the recipient.
The contents of your hamper will usually reflect your theme (see above). If you’re making a wine hamper, for example, you may want to consider wine glasses (these ones are awesome) to complement the wine.
Or you could do a tea hamper with fancy teas and a nice one-person pot. However, if you know that the recipient has a cupboard full of glasses or a teapot already, this may not be the best idea.
Other combinations include a pasta server with bottled pasta sauce and some fancy pasta and maybe a nice cheese to go with it.
Spa basket ideas include a headband and face washer to compliment bath salts, creams or lotions.
For a gardening hamper, maybe a potted plant along with some seeds and a pot.
It’s nice to choose things that your recipient will like, but might not necessarily buy themselves. Gourmet food is always a good choice for the foodie, but don’t forget to check out your local supermarket. There are lots of speciality teas, coffees, chocolates, biscuits, oils, dressings etc., that are nice to eat but are not necessarily something a person would buy in the weekly shop. Keep an eye out for specials during the months before Christmas and make the most of the savings.
Looking for more things to put in a gift hamper? Check out these gift hamper items.
4. What to Pack Your Gift Hamper In
You can make a gift hamper with just about any container.
Some popular ideas include:
- a basket
- a gift box
- a gift bag
- a tote bag that can be reused
- a decorated shoebox
- a wooden crate
- a storage container
- a wooden serving tray
- a bowl or serving plate
- a plant pot
- Crockery, bakeware, bowls, mugs, glasses, teapot, coffee plunger
- terracotta pots, planters
- metal buckets
- recycled packaging
- Or you could make the container, like a quilted basket, or a handmade cardboard box.
The best place to find a basket (and many other types of containers) is a second-hand store. They are inexpensive and if your recipient doesn’t want to keep a basket, it can just go back to the op-shop to be reused.
Other items to keep an eye out for at second-hand stores include serving plates, gift boxes, crates and trays etc.
Consider the packaging of consumer goods as potential hamper containers. For example, I bought a set of muslin baby wraps that came in a clear plastic “box”. This box made the perfect container for a Christmas hamper.
5. How to Pack A Hamper Using Filler
Filler lifts the contents of the hampers up making them more presentable. If you have a shredder handy, then you have an endless source of filler material. Otherwise, some scrunched up paper works just as well.
When I assembled personalised gift baskets at Grace Bros, I would use scrunched up paper in the base of the basket and then hide it with a nice tea towel (which then became part of the gift). Just scrunch up some newspaper and cover it with either a piece of fabric or some nice tissue paper or wrapping paper.
Another great source of filler is the hampers that other people give you. Keep baskets, filler and wrapping to re-gift.
Also, the packaging and filler used to deliver online shopping. This can be recycled to fill your homemade gift hamper basket.
Even if you present your hamper in a bag, it can look quite nice if you use filler in the bottom of the bag and have the contents protruding over the top so that the recipient can see what’s inside.
6. How to Make Up A Gift Hamper
This is the fun, creative part. Here are some arranging tips on how to make your hamper look good.
The first tip is to have a play around with the arrangement of your items to get the best results.
To help present hamper items in the nicest way, choose a front for your hamper. Start with the largest or tallest items first placing them at the back. Then arrange the smaller items around these.
For example, with a wine and nibbles hamper, start by placing the wine bottles, then any large packets of food, and arrange the smaller items around these.
To help with arranging items, consider overlapping items, using clear sticky tape to help keep items still and in position (stick items to each other or to the container) and if you have smaller packaged items, like a box of wrapped chocolates, consider taking the chocolates out of the box and scattering them around the hamper.
If you are using a basket with a handle, you could tie or tape items to the handle in order to keep them in place.
If the hamper just doesn’t seem right, adding or subtracting filling can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to add extra filling here and there where needed to prop up an individual item.
Fill empty spaces with either small items like chocolates or items relevant to the theme (cookie cutters for a baking theme, for example) or with a decorative element such as paper or silk flowers.
7. How to Wrap Your Personalised Gift Hamper in Cellophane
When it comes to wrapping a hamper, the most popular wrapping is cellophane because it is see-through.
You don’t have to wrap all hampers in cellophane, if you’ve used a gift box, a crate or gift bag, then not using cellophane cuts plastic waste.
It’s a good idea to keep a stash of recycled cellophane and other wrapping accoutrements from gifts and packaging you’ve been given to reuse. This cuts cost and waste.
For a a flat hamper that’s on a tray, you can wrap the cellophane over the top and stick it to the bottom.
For a basket hamper, place a large piece of cellophane on the table, place your basket on top and draw up the cellophane into the middle, securing it with sticky tape and ribbon.
To skip the plastic altogether, you could wrap your hamper in something appropriate For example, you could use a tea towel for a food-themed hamper, or some recycled fabric.
8. How to Decorate a Hamper Basket
Ribbon finishes off the hamper nicely, and again collect what you can in order to reuse and reduce costs and waste. I have a stash of recycled ribbon. It’s amazing where you can collect it from. For example, I bought a pair of PJs the other day that came wrapped in over a metre of white satin ribbon rather than being packed in plastic. That ribbon will come in handy later on.
Other options include making or recycling some gift bows, using paper flowers adding greenery or designing your own labels and gift cards.
Forget the daggy ‘I-don’t-know-what-else-to-get-you’ store-bought hampers – a gift hamper basket can make a lovely gift if you make it up yourself and personalise it.
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