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How to Create the Ultimate AF Gift Hamper

How to Create the Ultimate AF Gift Hamper

Homemade gift hampers are a wonderful way to treat someone you love.

They have evolved far beyond the traditional fruit basket or box of chocolates. They're now an art form, a personalised expression of your affection and attention to detail. Whether it's for a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or just because, creating the ultimate AF gift hamper is a surefire way to delight your loved ones and leave a lasting impression.

Wise Bartender wants to show you how. 

What to include in an alcohol-free hamper

AF hampers aren’t just about the drink. In fact, the possibilities of what you could include are endless, as long as you approach the endeavour with a little creativity and the recipient in mind.

1. Chocolates

We all know someone with a tooth sweeter than a bowl of sugar who’s eyes would go straight for the chocolate, regardless of whatever other gifts they receive, but even if the recipient of your hamper is not this person, an edible treat will still go a long way.

Whether they prefer an indulgent caramel bar, something savoury and bitter, or a vegan alternative, line your hamper with a few chocolates to sweeten the favour.

2. Snacks

If you’re creating an alcohol-free hamper then a few snack pairings scattered amongst the beer can be a great way of introducing people to the rich and delicate flavours of the gifted tipples.

You could consider adding crisps, nuts, fruits and cheeses to jazz up the experience. For an extra personal touch, try including a personalised note that explains which drinks go best with each snack.

3. Glasses

Of course, your loved one will need something to drink from.

Even if they have their own glasses at home, the addition of a tumbler, wine or beer glass can add that extra warm touch, and create a well-rounded gift that leaves them wanting for nothing.

5. Flowers

It might not have been your first thought, but adding a few flowers or even a small bouquet to your hamper can bring colour to the decoration, but also make your loved one feel even more special.

Flowers are a touching and well loved gift that shouldn’t be neglected when trying to boost someone’s mood, and they can also brighten the room where the drinks are likely to be enjoyed.

6. The little touches

Just because a drinks hamper is primarily about the alcohol-free content, doesn’t mean you can’t bulk it up with more personal items that make the hamper feel far more valuable.

We love a hamper that includes a few little touches, such as:

  • Themed bottle openers
  • Gift vouchers 
  • Decanter
  • Cocktail making equipment
  • Drinks serving board
  • Gin mixers and garnish
  • Novelty ice trays
  • Coasters
  • Whisky stones

How to personalise a hamper

How to personalise a hamper

One of the best things about putting a hamper together is being able to completely personalise your gift, and include items or even themes that truly reflect who they are, and what they mean to you.

1. Choose a theme

One of the more obvious ways to personalise a hamper is to select a theme that is special to the person you’re gifting it to, and tailor every item to that theme. For example, if they are a bookworm, you could cultivate the ultimate book lover’s hamper including a book they’ve been wanting to read for a while, a bookmark, a book journal, reading snacks and the ingredients for an indulgent AF rum spiked hot chocolate.

Of course, you know your loved one better than we do, but if you’re having trouble picking a theme, we’ve curated some inspiration below:

  1. Arts and crafts
  2. Craft beer bundle
  3. At-home spa experience
  4. A chef’s collection - complete with the best AF wine pairing
  5. BBQ themed hamper
  6. Musical madness
  7. Sports style
  8. Sustainable footprint
  9. Ultimate vegan/gluten-free beginner’s kit
  10. Baby shower sweetness
  11. 80s nostalgia
  12. Christmas

2. Select items that they want

Sometimes, the best theme is simply the person you’re giving the hamper to. Show that you’ve been paying attention to the things they love by packing the hamper with items that they love/want.

This could be something you’ve seen them point out in a shop, nick nacks or valuables that they’ve shown interest in but normally wouldn’t buy for themselves or even unique collectibles.

The items you select for their hamper don’t need to be expensive or extravagant; sometimes the little things can mean the most to people.

3. Fill it with their favourite foods

Nobody can turn down a food hamper, particularly one that is filled with all of their favourite treats.

Food hampers have developed a stereotype of being impersonal but they don’t have to be. Not when you handpick every single item yourself based on the receiver in question. There are so many types of food and drink that can be used in a hamper, from chocolates to cheeses, nostalgic puddings to top-of-the-line restaurant vouchers, exceedingly good alcohol-free wines to healthy kombuchas.

Whatever your loved one fancies, whether it’s comfort food or acquired to their palette, you can create an edible experience that they’ll remember for years to come.

4. Select the time carefully

A little pick me up can transform someone’s day. You don’t have to wait for an occasion to treat someone who needs it.

Sometimes, sending a gift out of the blue when you know someone you love is having a bad week can mean even more than waiting for a seasonal occasion.

Remember, hampers can be as big or as small as you’d like them to be, so throwing together a DIY box that contains little more than their favourite wine, a comfort food and a little something extra to make them smile is more than enough.

The comfort they will feel from knowing someone is thinking of them during this time is invaluable.

5. Include memories

A lesser recognised method of personalising hampers is to include items, photographs or little reminders of memories you’ve shared together. From souvenirs you’ve found abroad to replicas of mixed tapes you made 30 years ago, this is a fantastic way to get creative and show a little more recognition of your relationship throughout the years.

How to make a hamper look good

How to make a hamper look good

You can create a hamper using just about any container large enough to hold the items you’ve collected. Whilst wicker baskets present a luxury feel, anything from a recycled cardboard delivery box to a wrapped serving tray will work.

However, whichever container you choose, there are a few tips and tricks that can make the difference between serving a collection of items and presenting a beautifully decorated gift.

1. Place the tallest items at the back

Start by placing items like alcohol-free wine bottles, crisp packets and any other tall items towards the back of your hamper. Then, arrange the smaller items around them.

If you wish, you can use filler like shredded paper, tissue paper or pretty fabrics to raise items and create a more interesting composition.

2. Fill empty spaces with smaller items

With any hamper, there will usually be empty spaces around items that can look unattractive or out of place. There are many ways to reduce the appearance of empty space without needing to buy a new hamper, or invest in more items.

For example, you could rearrange the items to make the space less noticeable by raising certain items or even lying bottles, tins or packets of biscuits on their sides. You might also consider emptying a box of chocolates and scattering them around individually, or adding flowers.

3. Find ways to keep items in place

Sometimes, tying items together using ribbons or sticking them using double sided tape can change the look and feel of a hamper completely. Not only will this hold the gifts where you placed them, but it can give the impression that you intend for the items to be consumed together, or simply add additional presentational value.

Likewise, gift wrapping more precious presents increases the element of surprise and can make opening the hamper feel a little more special.

4. Play around with the arrangement

Don’t be afraid to try a few different variations of the arrangement to find the one that works. Because the items in a personalised hamper are completely unique, the items you wish to prioritise in visibility, or the way they appear when arranged will also be unique.

You might consider taking photos of several different arrangements to compare and contrast before settling on your favourite.

5. Wrapping your hamper

Most shops will wrap their gift hampers in cellophane because it allows the buyer to see what’s inside but this is absolutely not a necessity for homemade hampers. In fact, cellophane is not sustainable so wrapping your hamper in either paper-based gift wrapping or using a box that doesn’t require wrapping can be the most effective ways of decorating it.

However, if wrapping is required, there are recycled versions of clear wrapping available to buy. If this is your decoration of choice then you’ll need to consider the hamper you have used before deciding how to wrap:

1. Flat hampers: Cover flat hampers with cellophane from the top and stick it to the bottom to create a seamless appearance.

2. Basket hampers: Lie the cellophane flat on a table and place the hamper on top. Wrap it up and around the hamper. Where it gathers, tie a ribbon to secure it.

6. Decorate your hamper

The final touch is decorating.

Decorating your hamper can be as simple as wrapping it or you can go crazy with colours and additional flair. This entirely depends on how you feel and what you best believe your loved one would enjoy most.

You could consider using:

  • Ribbon
  • Gifts bows
  • Flowers
  • Stickers
  • Gift cards

If making your own hamper is a little out of your price range, or you feel your loved one would benefit most from a pre-made hamper, then take a look at the broad range of Drink & Food Hampers from Wise Bartender.