Christmas is defined by the spirit of gift giving. And what could be a better gift then getting a Christmas food hamper filled with your favorite food and drinks? Some big brands, like Marks and Spencer have their readymade Christmas food hampers, but if you are looking to save up a little money this Christmas, then you could prepare your very own Christmas food hamper to gift to your dear and near ones.
The biggest advantage to preparing something on your own is that you get a lot of options to choose from. For example, in an already made food hamper, you do not get much say about what is actually placed in the hamper, but when you are making one on your own, you get to choose which items to select and which not to. You can make the food hamper as simple or as complicated as you like.
The first thing, before you decide what foods to put in the basket, is to get a basket. You can easily get wicker baskets in most department stores, or you may shop for them online, as well. Remember to pick the right sized basket, depending on how much food items you are planning to place in it.
A good alternative to a basket is a beautifully patterned plate, or a tray, which you could wrap in cellophane, You could place your food items on them, instead of a basket.
Christmas Food Ideas:
There is so much of variety when it comes to picking, selecting, serving or gift Christmas food. If you are gifting food to a close friend, you would obviously be somewhat aware of the kind of food they like and the kind of food which they do not. For example, let us talk about Chocolates. Chocolates are things which most people would absolutely love as their gifts. But there are types of chocolates; some people like dark chocolate, while others go for white chocolate. Then there are people who like fruits and nuts in their chocolates, while others prefer theirs without fruits and nuts. Knowing the preferences of the person you will be presenting the food hamper to, helps a lot. In fact, it makes the task of preparing the perfect Christmas food hamper, easier by half.
If you are fond of baking, then you can even bake your own chocolate goodies! Like chocolate cakes, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate muffins etc Not only will you friends love the basket, but you will even get more praise and compliments for your baking skills.
Just like chocolate has chocoholics, there are people who go crazy for cheese. So, if you are preparing a Christmas food hamper for a cheese lover, then again you will find yourself with many types of cheese to pick from. Mozzarella, cheddar, brie etc are just some of the types of cheese you can put in your hamper. You can also gift them additional things like crackers, or red onion marmalade, which they could use to eat the cheese with.
Fruits are another good option to consider when preparing the ideal food hamper. Some people, are not too fond of chocolates and they satisfy their sweet tooth by feasting on fruits, both fresh and dry. You can put seasonal fruits in the basket, or even canned fruits like a can of pineapple.
And when it comes to dry fruits, then you can make pretty little packets and put different nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts etc in them. Fruits are another way of making your basket appear more colorful.
Other than foods, you can also place drinks, for example, a bottle of wine, in your Christmas gift hamper. Wine bottles make excellent last minute Christmas gifts, so, might as well place a good bottle of wine, in your Christmas gift hamper, as well.
These are just some of the food items you can place in your basket. Remember, that you can always prepare a gift basket containing different varieties of one item, only. For example, suppose your friend loves chocolate, so rather than placing wine, and fruits, cheese etc in the basket, you can just place chocolate and other items prepared from chocolate in the basket. However, placing more than one kind of item in your Christmas gift hamper adds more variety. It is your choice.
Decorating the Christmas gift hamper is also another important task. You cannot just place things in a basket and give them. Adding little touches like bows, ribbons, flowers etc on your Christmas gift hamper, would make it look even prettier. If you are using a tray or a plate instead of a basket, then cover it up neatly with cellophane and glue a pretty flower on top. Sometimes, simple is better.
Personalized cards are also another great addition to what goes in the Christmas gift hamper. You could write messages on those cards for your loved ones, wishing them a merry, happy, Christmas. If personalized cards are too expensive for you, then you could just buy any greeting card from any shop, and use it, instead. Adding a personal message on the card just makes the Christmas food hamper basket, look more thoughtful.
Christmas Food Recipes:
If you are good at baking then rather than purchasing food from the market, you could prepare the food on your own. It would take more time, obviously, so if you plan on making a Christmas food hamper filled with your very own homemade stuff, then you must plan for it, a little ahead of time.
A good strategy to preparing a food hamper with your homemade made food is to plan a trip to the grocery store, and buy all the ingredients you will be needing to prepare the food. For example, if you plan on baking a chocolate cake, brownies, cookies then having flour, eggs, chocolate, chocolate chips, butter, frosting, etc are just some of the ingredients you will be needing. Make a list of all that you will be needing to prepare that particular food item and then shop for them, so when the actual day of baking comes, you will be having everything that you need.
As for the recipe part, that is no problem at all. If you are a baking or a cooking enthusiast that means you may already have your very own recipes. However, if you do not have one, do not fear because thanks to the internet, you can get the recipe for just about anything which you want to prepare. You can use Google to find the recipe for every type of cookie imaginable from chocolate chip cookies, to peanut butter cookies etc. You can even make cookies look more suitable for Christmas by going for shapes like trees, gloves, candy canes etc
If you are looking for recipes for baking a cake, then, too, you will be in luck. From black forest cakes, to carrot cakes, you will easily find recipes for anything you want.
The very good part about these recipes is that, they not only mention the ingredients and procedure, they also tell you the temperature settings for your oven. Some recipes even list alternate ingredients which you could make use of, if you could not find the actual ingredient.
If looking for recipes online is not your thing, then buying a good cookbook with easy to follow instructions is also a good option. Many bookstores have special cookbooks which are specifically meant for Christmas food.
Other then cookbooks, many television shows also host cooking shows, where top chefs and cooking experts show you how to prepare Christmas goodies. Websites like Youtube have a number of video tutorials which you can see and get recipes for things which you want to cook. The good thing about cooking shows or video tutorials is that not only do they tell you the procedure, they also show you how it is done.
Gift Baskets for Men:
If you are preparing a Christmas gift basket for a man, then knowing what food he likes will prove very helpful in this regard. If he is a health nut, then going with fruits, and low fat cheese, juices and other healthy stuff can be considered. If he likes chocolate cookies or truffles, you could get him those. Men like to drink, so consider investing in a good bottle of wine to place in your Christmas food hamper. Do not place flowers or ribbons on the basket, as men do not like such things. However, all the food items should be neatly placed in the basket.
Christmas food hampers are slowly and gradually becoming a great gift option. They are easy to prepare, however you need to keep your budget in mind while buying things for it. Expensive does not always mean better, so remember this. Another plus point for these Christmas food hampers is that after all the items on the basket have been consumed, the basket can still be used for other purposes, like you may use it for picnics or for placing things like handkerchiefs or notepads in it.