There is nothing more I love at Christmas than to receive a wicker hamper packed with speciality foods and luxury wine. It is a perfect gift for anyone and can be made bespoke with personalised presents.
Fortnum and Mason are renowned for their hampers, which are filled with gourmet biscuits, speciality teas, crackers, petty fours, and wine and Champagne.
I remember as a child when my parents received one, and they still use the branded hamper to this day for blanket storage (Wicker hampers are particularly good for this as fabrics are able to breathe).
Hamper baskets come in different shapes and sizes, and the most popular ones are with a box and lid. I love this style as it makes a great storage box once you’ve consumed the contents. We wrap lots of hampers for clients and these by far are the favourite.
There are many variations of hamper boxes on the market including your wicker hamper through to boxes made with card, wood and leather (prices vary considerably).
It is a good idea to choose your packaging first as there are limited options when buying hampers and boxes. If you are giving hampers away at Christmas do by your supplies and gift wrapping early as suppliers may run out of stock.
There are several basket makers in the UK who could also make a bespoke size and shape for you. You will also find some great baskets on Ebay
Once you have chosen your box or basket it is time to fill it. You will need some padding such as shred, foam peanuts, tissue and Cellophane.
I always line it first with cellophane then add the tissue on top. You can also sprinkle pot pourri in the basket (think of Rowan Atkinson in ‘Love Actually’) or lightly spray the tissue with a winter fragrance (M+S do some great ones for £5)
Bear in mind that if you have bought lots of products they may not all fit in, so it’s a good idea to have a practice run using your own groceries before you go shopping.
Once you have chosen your products, look at the whole range and imagine them in layers. I tend to segregate them in to piles of robust, medium and fragile
Pack the heaviest and rigid items at the bottom such as bottles, ensuring they or packed tight (or there is plenty of padding between them) and the label is showing.
You will then start layering the products and filling the hamper. Play safe and wrap breakable jars and bottles with bubble wrap (they can have an additional layer of tissue or be wrapped in a thick fabric to make them look more elegant). It would be a disaster if anything breaks in transit.
Delicate items such as Pannetone, crackers and mince pies should be placed at the very top to avoid them being crushed.
To add extra luxury to the hamper, line it with a rich metallic tissue such as this gold one. I fold the sides in to a slightly narrow width so placement is easy. It gives a polished interior finish.
Once you have completed the layering process of your products, Close the lid and add your written and decorations. If you have any spare space at the sides pad it well with tissue.
Finishing detailing is really important so in this one I have pleated the paper whilst wrapping a box of biscuits to give that luxurious effect. When I am gift wrapping for Dior, we always do this pleating process with tissue and add it to the top of the bag (The French term is called ‘applice’).
I also add paper lids and decorations to jars, and love the luxury range of chutneys and Jams from Carved Angel (Their Christmas Puddings were voted ‘The Best’ by the Times and they are always mobbed at the Country Living Fair)
Large gaps in your hamper can soon be filled with Pannetone or Christmas Crackers. If you have any small spaces they can be filled with candy canes or small bags of festive treats. You can buy these from luxury outlets such as Daylesford or Fortnum and Mason although you can get a cheaper alternative from Aldi or Lidl
If your hamper is heavy it is a good idea to add some bricks, wooden blocks or rolls of ribbon under the corners so you can access the underneath easily with your ribbon.
If you are packing a hamper that is open with or without a handle, it is a good idea to have the smaller items at the back. I packed this luxury hamper for the Dior in Paris and had to get the balance right. In the gaps I made some handmade ribbon roses to highlight the floral theme.
We have gift wrapped many hampers for clients and one note of advice is don’t rush. The interior needs to be the focal point and you want the wow factor to happen when the lid is opened. I hope this helps your Christmas hamper project and I would love to see any photos on our Twitter or Facebook Page.