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Homemade Christmas Hamper

(60 Posts)
Elsashmelsa Tue 11-Aug-15 11:34:48

Hi all,

Well in my head Xmas is already in full swing. Mum and I have just been having a whinge about how much children have these days (DD has so much stuff and needs nothing else) and Mum was saying about some patterns she found in the roof to make toys that she used to make for us when we were younger. I told her that instead of buying something for DD (6) or giving her money, why doesn't she make something for her?

For our wedding Mum made lovely white rabbits, wearing identical dresses to the ones that the Flower girls wore, for the flower girls to hold. I told her that DD would LOVE something like that for Xmas.

I then said that I wonder whether I should do food hampers of homemade goodies instead of buying adult presents and she said it was fantastic idea and that her and Dad would love one!!

So, I'm now on a mission but I don't know where to start. I make the Xmas cakes every year for them so that's one thing for it. I fancy making the following:

Pickled Onions
Savoury Biscuits

So what I'm asking is, does anyone have any other ideas and also, any idea what (if anything) can be made a few weeks in advance???? Can anything be made and then frozen before baking (in terms of biscuits etc).

All advice gratefully received.

As an aside, I already make very good shortbread so I've got that one covered although I don't know how far in advance I can make it.

enderwoman Tue 11-Aug-15 13:04:29

Not a food item but this popped up on my Facebook feed and can be made in advance. It's how to make a candle using a Yankee Candle wax melt.

Elsashmelsa Tue 11-Aug-15 13:17:14

Thanks Enderwoman. Bizarrely my Mum isn't into candles (bizarre because I love them and am currently working my way through my Bomb Cosmetic melts) but I may try it for me or a friend, thank you.

GoooRooo Tue 11-Aug-15 13:24:59

Flavoured vodka or gin?

jn367502 Tue 11-Aug-15 14:21:26

I did a movie night hamper for my adult family members last year, they contained a film alcohol, popcorn, some posh chocolate and posh nibbles they were fab and not to expensive

SirPercyPilkington Tue 11-Aug-15 17:06:57

Does she bake?
I usually make vanilla extract in October for Xmas presents. So easy and it's really rather good, if I say so myself grin

SirPercyPilkington Tue 11-Aug-15 17:08:38

Also, I make a log of cookie dough at end November, then slice and bake as needed throughout December. Lots of biscuit doughs freeze fabulously.

MissBattleaxe Tue 11-Aug-15 17:10:25

As an adult, I can pretty much buy myself perfume, CDs or books all year round, but if you gave me home made fudge or crumbly tablet for Christmas, I would love you forever and ever and be utterly delighted. I think its a great idea. We all have too much tat but a really nice treat like your suggestion, OP,would be fantastic.

Elsashmelsa Tue 11-Aug-15 18:41:24

Thank you all so much!! Unfortunately my mum is quite difficult for normal presents so this is a much easier option. Although she doesn't drink and doesn't bake.

Sirpercy, do you have a good recipe for the cookies and for your vanilla extract. I use a lot of vanilla bean paste for my cakes and always like a good vanilla extract!!

Missbattleaxe, thank you. I've been looking at lots of recipes today and I think some make enough for me to do a smaller version for dd's teachers aswell smile.

SirPercyPilkington Tue 11-Aug-15 19:30:34

I love the Peyton and Byrne gingerbread biscuit recipe and do it every year with a drizzle of white icing. I can take a photo of the recipe if you don't have the book.

For vanilla extract, you just need vanilla pods and alcohol. I use vodka but you can also use rum, bourbon etc. I buy a litre of averagely priced stuff.

I buy a bunch of the pods off ebay - not the super expensive ones, extract or B grade is fine. Cut them open and stick them into the vodka. I usually split a litre of vodka between 2 bottles so I can shake the pods about. I think I use about 20 pods per half litre. But this may be overkill - I just don't know what to do with the leftover pods so chuck them all in!

Leave for a month or two, or longer, shake every so often. It is so good - like the expensive stuff in the shops. Yum.

Elsashmelsa Tue 11-Aug-15 19:55:58

I have a lovely stem ginger cookie recipe so I think I will make some of those, I will find out whether I can freeze the dough...

Thank you for the vanilla extract recipe smile.

TobleroneBoo Wed 12-Aug-15 15:03:04

Hello! Sorry to jump on your thread Elsa but I have a couple of questions. I am hopefully moving house before Christmas. I have always loved the idea of hampers and having free rein of the kitchen and trying to save money is making me seriously consider it this year.

Would this actually save money or would It work out more expensive?
Do you use actual hampers - are they pricey?
Would people appreciate these? Im thinking DM&DF, MIL, FIL Etc.

Also if you fancy sharing your shortbread recipe that would be amazing smile

Elsashmelsa Wed 12-Aug-15 16:47:58

Jump on to your hearts content Toblerone!!

Well I only have my Mum's view about hampers because we were talking about it on Monday and she is very excited that I'm doing one for her. She said that these days, if we really want something (new clothes, book, DVD etc) we just go and buy it, but something like that would be really unique and lovely. Plus you know that someone has gone to a lot of effort.

As for whether it will be cheaper, I'm not sure that it will to be honest, although from all the recipes that I've book-marked so far (Jams, Chutneys, Biscuits etc) there is enough for 4 hampers so one batch of Chutney for example will make 4 jars.

The other thing I was thinking of doing was for those ingredients that don't 'go off' (flour/sugar/white wine vinegar) things like that, start adding one or two bits to your weekly shop now so that it won't be a big outlay in one go. Plus some of the recipes can be made in advance (Chutneys/Jams/Biscuit dough) so you don't have a mad rush on Xmas Eve!!

As for hampers, I will just use Cardboard boxes I think, really nicely covered in Xmas paper and put some lovely tissue paper inside. A friend did me a beauty box for Xmas (Shower Gel/Candles/Body Lotion/Wine/Chocolate) and I thought it was ready made until I realized she'd just wrapped the box up - looked fab!!!

Hope all that helps!! And good luck with moving! smile

TobleroneBoo Wed 12-Aug-15 17:25:40

Ah that's a lovely idea with the boxes. Thank you for your kind response smile

xalyssx Wed 12-Aug-15 18:55:34

When I have done hampers, I have put them in either a cardboard box, or in a basket lined with a blanket as part of the present. I also put in things like shaped pasta, and mini jars of sweets (eg smarties) that I have sorted by colour. I put a note on the jar saying "In times of stress - take one red for extra pep, one yellow for calming, one green for extra beauty" or whatever! My friends normally think it's sweet and silly smile

PotteringAlong Wed 12-Aug-15 18:57:41

You need to google the hairy bikers Christmas pudding vodka. And then make twice as much as you think you need grin

Star2015 Mon 31-Aug-15 19:20:00

Elsa how are your hampers coming along?

I think this is a great idea, does anyone have any links to decent recipes / items to include?

Thanks in advance!

chandelierswinger Wed 02-Sep-15 09:52:20

I highly recommend the Christmas Chutney from Delicious! And keeps very well. I make it in late Sept/early Oct to be opened on Boxing Day with cold meats and cheeses. My mouth is totally not watering at the thought!

ninetynineonehundred Wed 02-Sep-15 18:58:02

Op i did this last year for friends.
I made -
Christmas pudding vodka
Chocolate Liqueur
Cherry brandy
Choc cherry brandies (chocolates)
Three flavours of salt - cumin and lemon, mushroom and red wine
Christmas pudding truffles
Cinnamon roasted almond
Cheese scones
Rose and violet creams
Vodka raisins

All really nice and some can be made ages in advance. BBC food has some good Ideas.

chaplin1409 Fri 04-Sep-15 19:39:33

I am thinking this might be an idea for my dad, he is on his own since my mum passed away 5 years ago. She loved christmas and now dad does not even put decorations up. He will hopefully come to us christmas day so a hamper with christmas bits in would be nice for him.

AsTimeGoesBy Fri 04-Sep-15 19:46:44

Marshmallows - we bought a kit from Sainsburys and made them a few weeks ago and they were lovely, but only kept for a few days, would have to be a last minute thing.

GloGirl Sat 05-Sep-15 08:17:38

As time goes by - they look awesome!

OP - you could make lavender sugar, there's a recipe somewhere for a hot choc powder mix, cranberry chutney.

Maybe you could freeze a dry stuffing mix - herbs and breadcrumbs freeze well. Could just add a message to say just add X grams of sausage meat?

IAmSashaFierce Sat 05-Sep-15 11:01:28

As you're so far in advance you could make flavoured spirits that aren't necessarily christmas related.

I've made this morning:

Rhubarb Vodka
Cranberry Vodka
Raspberry Gin
Blackberry and Bay Gin (Jo Malone Inspired)

I'm looking to make Black Cherry Brandy and some chocolate, vanilla or cinnamon flavours too.

Its quite nice to give people things that they can indulge in all year round that aren't just 'christmassy'.

rhihaf Sun 20-Sep-15 17:11:18

Oooh, can I jump on your hamper bandwagon pls?
My MIL has just told us that they are cutting down on pressies this year, and she wants a hamper from us.

So far, these are on my list:
Chutney (have used cranberries I had in freezer from lst yr, going cheap)
Creme de cassis (had so many blackcurrants they were literally falling off the bush!)
Pickled onions (I do sexy ones with garlic, herbs and then a nice bit of raffia around the lid and an ornate label)
Pancetta (easy to make in a tupperware in the fridge)
Spiced peaches (google Nigella's recipe - so easy)
Apple juice from our apples
Stilton (we buy a whole one via Costco and divide it into 3 rounds, eat one, freeze one and chop up the last one to give to friends and family)
Eggs from the hens
Red onion marmalade
Bottle of fizz (we have a garage full of cheap stuff from France)
Damson brandy

I would also love a failsafe shortbread recipe that freezes well raw please!
Am watching this with interest...

BertieBotts Sun 20-Sep-15 17:14:08

Oh it's definitely time for a good home made Christmas thread! smile I think I might try and do some this year.

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