The history of the Christmas hamper

Christmas hamper of food and wine with Christmas decoration illustrations overlaid

Believe it or not, Christmas hampers have a really interesting history as traditional festive gifts.

So, what is a hamper and why do they make the perfect Christmas gifts?

Let’s take you on a brief journey exploring the humble Christmas hamper history.




Where did Christmas hampers start out?

William the Conqueror is credited for bringing hampers to England way back in the 11th Century, with the word ‘hamper’ coming from the French word ‘hanapier’ - which means ‘a case for goblets’. Not a bad gift to receive, right?

It wasn’t until the Victorian period, in the 1800s, that the tradition of gifting someone a custom hamper became a thing. And even then, it was really only wealthy families who would make and exchange them. Filled with the finest food and drink, a basket was often made for each member of the household staff at Christmas time.


The Luxury Bearing Gifts Hamper with all of its products on display and wicker basket


Thanks to the enhancement of the railway system, it soon became possible to send gift hampers over long distances, which is where the real popularity arose in sending Christmas gift hampers.

As times changed and it became much easier for countries to import goods from all over the world, the contents of gift hampers became notably better and the food and drink offerings became more diverse.

Hampers went from only being sent at Christmas to being sent at various times of the year, for any special occasion, where you want to send joy to a loved one, a friend or to show appreciation to staff or a client.



Hampers were commonly gifted during the First World War. The Red Cross donated gift baskets that were sent to soldiers and prisoners of war overseas so that they could receive a package filled with items that would remind them of home.

What to put in a Christmas hamper

Now we know a bit about the hampers history - what should go in one?

Firstly, a Christmas hamper doesn’t have to physically be a hamper; it can be a wicker basket, beautiful box, stunning gift bag or otherwise. Our friends across the pond in America actually refer not to 'hampers' but 'gift baskets', as the American word ‘hamper’, typically relates to a laundry basket.

As you will find in our range of Christmas food hampers, a good gift basket should contain a treasure trove of traditional treats to be enjoyed over the Christmas period, whether as a couple, a family, a group of friends, or by yourself (because who wants to share, really?). You guessed it; this means mince pies, Christmas puddings, Panettone and, of course, lots of cheese.



Alongside these festive food items, traditional Christmas hampers also tend to include a range of the gourmet food and high quality drinks. As well as cheese (obviously), you will find a delicious selection of the finest food in our Christmas hampers, including handmade crisps, gourmet chocolates, popcorn and sweets. Did we mention cheese?

For those that enjoy alcohol, wine, Champagne and Prosecco are great additions to a custom Christmas hamper, and are all ensured to be heartily enjoyed during the festive period. We also have hampers that include beer - both alcoholic and non-alcoholic - for those that prefer a pint to a glass of wine. Traditionally, festive drinks are also a must-have, with mulled wine and hot chocolate cropping up in a number of our Christmas hampers. Explore our Festive Night In Hamper, featuring a bottle of the wonderfully-name, Jacob Marley's mulled wine.


Festive Night In Hamper with contents on display


However, a custom Christmas hamper can truly be whatever you want it to be. We’ve seen some fantastic ones over the years that feature candles, slippers and bath bombs, even tools, puzzles and games.

We also stand by the notion that hampers aren’t just for Christmas. You can surprise someone with a hamper for just about any reason: a birthday, christening, wedding, baby shower; even a thank you, congratulations or ‘just because’ moment.

Who do you gift a Christmas hamper to?

There really is no limit on who you can give a hamper to: we have gift hampers for her (your mum, sister, auntie and best friend), for him (your dad, brother, uncle and best friend), for families, for couples, for teams in the office and more.

What’s more, they can be sent just about anywhere in the world.



Is there anything different about a Christmas corporate hamper?

Other than the purpose for which you’re giving the gift hamper, no, there’s not really anything different. Unless you’re creating a custom Christmas corporate hamper and choosing to include branded goods, such as advent calendars or tubs of sweets adorned with your logo.

All of our luxury food and drink hampers can be gifted in a personal or corporate sense. We have an awesome team of Gift Experts (Account Managers) on hand to help with those larger orders.

What makes us different is that we’re used to delivering to people’s home addresses, so for corporate orders, no matter how big, we can deliver each gift hamper to the employee’s home address - especially handy in the ongoing pandemic with many working from home.

Be sure to check out our Corporate Hampers page for more information.



What are the most popular Christmas hampers?

Here at we have recently launched an entirely brand new range of luxury hampers, including a fantastic range of Christmas hampers. Below are what we’re seeing are already the most popular hampers for the 2022 festive season:

Luxury Bearing Gifts Hamper (£105)

Help them get the festivities underway with the Luxury Bearing Gifts Hamper - a festive twist on our bestselling hamper. Choose this Christmas gift and you’ll be sending a selection of the finest drinks, from tea and coffee to red wine and Processo, along with luxury mince pies, biscuits, fruit cake, popcorn and more to be enjoyed.


The Luxury Bearing Gifts Hamper with contents on display


Family Christmas Hamper (£125)

Wish an entire family a very Merry Christmas this festive season with the Family Christmas Hamper; it truly does have something for everyone, and more. Both Prosecco and Port are on hand for the adults, with gourmet chocolate, luxury mince pies, an Xmas fruit cake and so much more to hand for everyone to get their teeth into.


The Family Christmas Hamper with contents on display and wicker basket


Classic Alcohol Free Hamper (£85)

Perfect for people of all ages, with a mix of a sweet and savoury tooth, the Classic Alcohol Free Hamper instead features a delicious bottle of Elderflower Presse and Italian ground coffee, and is finished off with a mouthwatering selection of artisan crisps, divine chocolates, shortbread, biscuits and more.


The Classic Alcohol Free Hamper with contents on display



This blog was posted 3 years ago .