If there ever was a time for opulence, it would be Christmas. Halls decked, bells jingled and belts loosened, it is the most indulgent of holidays. And the hamper is one of the most decadent gifts you can give or get.
Of course, there are different levels of hamper. And, while a small wicker wonder may deliver the goods if you’re only after a port miniature and a Christmas pud — we’re hunting bigger game; magnums of red, exotic coffees and, yes, occasionally literal game. So, for the most exciting, extravagant hampers you can buy this festive season, look no further than our list below…
For all things sweet and seasonal, Harrods 'The Knightsbridge’ Christmas Hamper
What makes it so special: You’ve seen Harrods at Christmas; the department store doesn’t do things by halves. But what puts this hamper a cut above the institution’s other festive offerings is its unwavering sweet tooth. There’s nary a savoury snack in sight.
What’s the best thing in it: It’s a tough one. The 9-Months Matured Decadent Christmas Pudding has our mouths watering and we’re not even in Advent yet. But it has to be the Whisky Marmalade — ideal for slathering on Boxing Day morning toast.
When should you open it: As soon as you roll out of bed on December 26th. True, you’ll be tempted to crack open the wicker beforehand — Brandy Butter can do that to a man — but wait it out and you’ll keep the festive season going just a little longer.
Harrods 'The Knightsbridge’ Christmas Hamper
For an instant festive soirée, Harvey Nichols 'Party Starter' Hamper
What makes it so special: The optimism, obviously. It may be the season of lockdowns and self-isolation, but buy this hamper and it’ll show you’re holding out hope for a social, family Christmastime.
What’s the best thing in it: The limited-edition Blood Orange & Clove Negroni. Pre-mixed in a festively decorated bottle, this Portobello Road Gin-based tipple packs a punch of pomander — and is as Christmassy as cocktails come.
When should you open it: Some time in the run-up to the big day. Around 9 o’clock in the evening when all your friends have finished eating at your festive dinner party and think it’s time to head home. Little do they know, the party’s yet to start…
Harvey Nichols Party Starter Hamper
For a Christmas morning pick-me-up, The Wolseley Vintage Silver Coffee Hamper
What makes it so special: Could it be that understated black wicker basket? The ever popular ground coffee, made exclusively for The Wolseley and both smoother and richer than a high-class English gent? Perhaps the inclusion of A.A Gill’s Breakfast at The Wolseley book? Actually, it’s all of the above.
What’s the best thing in it: The one thing we missed above; the individually sourced, Art Deco fluted coffee pot — over a century old and beautifully restored for you to use at home. The silver ensures your coffee will stay warmer longer, and it’s as durable a piece of kitchenware as you’re ever likely to use.
When should you open it: The morning the family descends on the house for Christmas. Typically the most hectic day of the year, you’ll not only be able to ride the caffeinated wave of energy this coffee gives you — but, if you’re lucky, the in-laws will spend the day caught in the pot’s calming silvery spell.
The Wolseley Vintage Silver Coffee Hamper
For a lazy day, the Daylesford 'Cheese and Pickled' Hamper
What makes it so special: That pearler of a pun in the name, for one. This Daylesford special isn’t only stuffed to its wicker brim with cheeses from Bledington Blue to Penyston Brie — it also includes a bottle of fine port and a magnum of Château Léoube.
What’s the best thing in it: Aside from that big old bottle of red? We’d say the charming little set of three marble-handled cheese knives. With a matching cheese board, it’s a set you’ll use all year round.
When should you open it: One of those long, languorous days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve — spent almost horizontally reading a new book, or rewatching The Great Escape. Because who doesn’t like a nice bit of Single Gloucester with their Steve McQueen?
Daylesford Cheese and Pickled Hamper
For a seasonal feast, Selfridge’s 'Festive Deli' Hamper
What makes it so special: It’s sheer bloody size. There’s a full-size ham in this hamper — and even that gets lost in its linen-lined depths. Also the range of products included; with everything from oak-smoked salmon to sherry jam, there’s something for everyone.
What’s the best thing in it: We know there’s only so much cheese you can eat, but it’s Christmas soon — and that’s when you must put your limits to the test. As such, allow us to suggest the Selfridge’s Potted Stilton; rich, flavoursome and festive.
When should you open it: Come the 1st of December. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, this one. Dip into it as the festive weeks roll on, and you’ll likely have demolished it — one delicious morsel at a time — by the time Christmas Eve arrives. Think of it as a big, expensive advent calendar…
Selfridge’s Festive Deli Hamper
For a royal banquet, Fortnum & Mason’s ‘The Christmas at Highgrove’ Hamper
What makes it so special: The regal, unrivalled pairing of Highgrove and Fortnum’s — giving you a rare glimpse behind the royal Christmas curtain. When you enjoy these teas, tipples, puddings and preserves, you’ll know you’re in aristocratic company.
What’s the best thing in it: Strangely, probably the Organic Spiced Fruit Chutney. Made to perk up cheese or cheer up patê, this tangy, tart jelly is genuinely unlike any other condiment you’ll have on Christmas Day. Worth a look.
When should you open it: We’d wait until the big day for this one — use it to kick off Christmas morning. And then you can nibble on sweet treats including Organic Clotted Cream Fudge and Organic Chocolate & Orange Shortbread while you open the rest of your gifts.
Fortnum & Mason’s ‘The Christmas at Highgrove’ Hamper
For the self-discerning foodie, Melrose and Morgan’s 'The Gourmand’ Hamper
What makes it so special: The attention to detail. Some real culinary thought has been put into this wicker wonder from Melrose and Morgan. Sweet and savoury, particularly, have been terrifically balanced — with a tin of delectable Dark Chocolate Florentines for every jar of Harissa Spiced Nuts.
What’s the best thing in it: We’d have to go for the Artisan Cracker Tin. Everyone pays due attention to their various favourite cheeses at Christmas, but Melrose and Morgan are on hand with the perfect, crumbly delivery system.
When should you open it: A Sunday. Any Sunday in December. Put on your loosest trousers, switch on a long, terrible film — and work your way into this hamper’s wicker depths. Then wash it all down with the bottle of Michel Gonet Champagne ‘Les 3 Terroirs’ Champagne.
Melrose and Morgan’s 'The Gourmand’ Hamper
For family visits, Cartwright & Butler ‘The Ultimate Sweet Tooth Selection’ Hamper
What makes it so special: The effort that Cartwright & Butler has put into curating the perfect hamper for casual entertaining. From tea and coffee to nibbles and biscuits, this is the ideal option for those many present drop-offs and Christmas catch-ups.
What’s the best thing in it: We’d have to go with the melt-in-your-mouth Demerara Shortbread Rounds. Essentially a biscuit, but so decadently sweet they feel like tiny desserts, these festive dunkers are as moreish as seasonal snacks come.
When should you open it: Whenever the doorbell rings. Whether it’s a family friend or a long-long great aunt, nothing breaks the wintry ice like a bagful of gifts and some afternoon tea. And Cartwright & Butler’s Earl Grey is a warming delight.
Cartwright & Butler ‘The Ultimate Sweet Tooth Selection’ Hamper
Want more Christmas gifting ideas? These are the best bottles to gift this Christmas…
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