I know I am getting a bit late now with Christmas being only a matter of days away, but for anyone you still just cant think of a good gift they will love, how about something homemade? For a number of years now I have made my parents a hamper for their Christmas. If they need something they buy it, making it very hard to get them anything they would really want for Christmas. We all have people like this in our lives, so for them a hamper is the perfect option. A lot of work and effort goes into making it which is always greatly appreciated. I love to cook, so to me this is a no brainer, but I know some people don’t enjoy it. If you are in the hate camp all the same you could just buy these things and put them all together in a nice hamper, it will still be appreciated.
There are so many options on what you can put in a hamper but after years of trawling the internet every December to get ideas for hampers, I am pretty confident the list below is the perfect mix! The important thing about making hampers is timing, try to spread out the cooking so it doesn’t feel like such a chore! I am totally behind this year so only started today and made the chutney, which takes about 2 hours from start to finish. Tonight I also plan to make my jam, weeknights after work I will make the spiced nuts and fudge (they are quick to make) and then the weekend before Christmas I will make the truffles, biscuits and cheese. You need to give yourself a couple hours on either the 23rd or 24th to make these last minute pieces. If you don’t need the hassle, make the chutney, jam, truffles and nuts in advance and just buy biscuits.
If you do go ahead and make hampers remember you can also make extra and give out a single jar or packet to others too. A jar of homemade chutney is a great present for a next door neighbour or work colleagues. Making extra is barely any extra work either. Rather than giving recipes below I have just listed the item, but there are loads f options on Pinterest, just have a look and see what looks good to you.
A good Christmas chutney is a must, think currants, orange and lots of all spice. This will utterly stink your house out but I have been assured the effort is worth the end result (I hate the stuff so have never tried what I make!). If you choose to make any of the recipes, be warned it is very easy to burn to the bottom of a pan. Set yourself a timer every 5 minutes to stir it while it cooks, yes it is a pain, but you don’t want your efforts going in the bin! Realistically, make this a month before Christmas so it is at its best on the big day. But if you go for it now, just put an “Eat me from….” date on it. I actually think it makes for something nice for when Christmas is all over in January as a nice leftover treat, so maybe making it late is a good thing.
Exactly like the chutney, it is a must have in the hamper. And exactly like the chutney, make sure you keep an eye on it as it cooks or you could end up having to chuck the lot. But don’t be put off, it is easy to make! Again, it takes a few weeks to be at its best, but that just means they can enjoy it in 2018!
Obviously I am vegan, so it is vegan cheese all the way with me! I am going to give a few a go this year, but you need to put in a good cheddar style and I think a vegan parmesan is another good shout. It is easy to make and vegan friends will love it! Make it a few days before it is gifted, but be sure whoever you give it to knows it is in there for putting in the fridge!
I always make poppy seed biscuits and oatcakes. Both are very easy to make and I have never had a batch fail on me. This year I am also going to make some cheese biscuits. The one drawback of making your own is they only last for 3-4 days. This means making them on the 23rd or Christmas Eve, but they are simple and don’t take long to make.
Another super easy gift to make, it is as simple as mixing nuts up with some spices and frying them off. They take 10 minutes to cook and then an hour to chill.
To balance out the savoury there also needs to be some good bites in there for the sweet tooth. Fudge is another labour of love, there is lots of stirring, but the fudge is always well worth it. There are all manner of flavours out there so sneakily find out your intended giftees favourite flavour and go find the fudge to match. It can be made a few days before it is gifted and will last a couple of weeks.
I am Scottish, need I say any more. Christmas MUST include shortbread. This is a quick win, super easy to make and always tastes amazing. Sadly, it is another gift which really needs made the day before, it will last up to a week in an airtight container.
Everyone loves a truffle. There are so many recipes out there it can be hard to know which to make! But I recommend trying something a bit different, Pinterest is full of options! Again they will need making just a day or two before Christmas as they will normally only last a few days.
I have made these every year since I started my hampers and they always seem to go first! They are again easy to make, but the bonus here is they also last a bit longer, so can be made midweek in the run up to Christmas.
These are so yummy! They look great and are super easy to make. These will last for up to a month in an air tight container.
It is definitely too late to be making this sadly, but I wanted to include it as an option for next year! It needs to be made 6 weeks in advance and shaken every day for the first week and weekly thereafter so can’t really even be made and then gifted with a to use date. Unless you add a shaking timeline on it too, haha!
If you make your own, amazing, but for the rest of us, this is one thing you will have to buy. But no hamper is right without a bottle in it!
I hope this has given you a bit of inspiration! If you really fancy making some gifts but hate cooking, I suggest making spiced or candied nuts or truffles. They are just so simple to make. Happy cooking!