Believe it or not, Christmas hampers have a really interesting history as traditional festive gifts. Perhaps, it is not surprising given the relationship of special food and drink at this special time of year, as well as the joy gifting brings.
But, what is the history of the Christmas hamper and why do they continue to make the perfect Christmas gifts, still today?
Let us 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. The word ‘hamper’ comes 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 more popular, as a Christmas gift. However, at this time, it was really only wealthy families who would make and exchange them.
In addition to sending Christmas hampers to friends or neighbours, boxes or baskets were also filled with the household's finest food and drink to be gifted to members of the household staff.
The name 'Boxing Day' also originated when Queen Victoria was on the throne, with the custom of boxing up gift to give to the poor, as well as for servants on their designated day off, the day after Christmas.
Thanks to the enhancement of the railway system, it also became possible to send gift hampers over long distances. This truly enhanced popularity of sending Christmas gift hampers. They are perfectly packaged ready to be delivered across the country.
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.
This also impacted the role of the hampers as a gift options. Instead of just Christmas hampers, hampers became the perfect gift to be sent at various times of the year, for any special occasion. Ideal to send joy to a loved one, a friend or to show appreciation to staff or a client.
Another time in history when hampers took centre stage as the idea gift, was during the First World War. Families, as well as 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 that we know a bit about the hampers history, let's explore what should go in one? We've mentioned 'food and drink' but what makes the perfect collection and combination.
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 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. That's why 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.
We also have hampers that include beer and non-alcoholic beverages.
Mulled wine is, of course, very traditional to drink at Christmas, and our hampers are know exception. Explore our Festive Night In Hamper, featuring a bottle of the wonderfully-name, Jacob Marley's mulled wine.
However, custom Christmas hampers 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 easily delivered to anywhere in the UK, on your chosen date, with an accompanying gift message card.
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. You could create a custom Christmas corporate hamper and choose 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. For corporate orders, no matter how big, we can deliver each gift hamper to the employee’s home address, or to a range of clients.
Be sure to check out our Corporate Christmas Hampers page for more information.
What are the most popular Christmas hampers?
Here at hampers.com 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 2023 festive season:
Luxury Bearing Gifts Christmas Hamper
Help them get the festivities underway with the Luxury Bearing Gifts Hamper - a festive twist on our bestselling hamper.
Choose this Christmas hamper and you’ll be sending a selection of the finest drinks, from tea to Spanish red wine and Italian Processo. Browse the luxury mince pies, chocolate truffles, gourmet popcorn and more to be enjoyed.
Luxury Family Christmas Hamper
Wish an entire family a very Merry Christmas this festive season with theLuxury Family Sharing Christmas Hamper.
This Christmas gift truly does have 'something for everyone'. Both Prosecco, Port, beer and wine are ready for tasting by the adults. Then there is gourmet chocolate, luxury mince pies, an Xmas fruit cake and so much more for the little hands to reach into.
The Luxury Joy of Christmas Hamper
This is the perfect Christmas gift for people of all ages. With a mix of a sweet and savoury festive treats, explore the The Luxury Joy of Christmas Hamper today.
These Christmas hampers are flying out for delivery. This is all thanks to the traditional festive treats. They pair perfectly with a delicious bottle of Spicy Ginger Fizz botanical soda, by Belvoir Farm and artisan ground coffee.
There is also mouthwatering selection of handbaked biscuits, divine festive flavoured chocolate bars, and ginger and caramel spread. Delicious!
Make your own little piece of history with our Christmas hampers
Make a mark in the lives of someone special to you. Make this Christmas a little more memorable. Choose from a range of Christmas hampers that will truly surprise and delight.
Explore our Christmas hamper range today: