Christmas is such a wonderful time for all the family but in today's commercialised world it brings with it unnecessary pressures. In the rush to make everything as perfect as possible for each member of the family it sometimes seems as though making sure all bases are covered is such a big job that it takes away some of fun and enjoyment involved.
The act of giving presents can be even more of a 'feel good' factor than being given something, and it means that sometimes the pressure is really on to make the right choices. So in the words of the age old question, what do you get for someone who already has everything?
The thing about Christmas is that every household can always do with a little bit more when it comes to things to fill up the fridge and the larder. There are so many weird and wonderful food stuffs that only appear on our lists once a year that it makes it easy to use them as a basis for a gift.
Christmas Pudding is a perfect example, being something that is so specific to the time of year. A strange mixture of rich fruit and steamed suets, it has a wealth of traditions of its own. In the past all members of the family would be given the chance to stir the pre cooked mixture with a large wooden spoon whilst making a wish, and the pudding would be cooked many weeks before being due to be eaten.
On Christmas Day itself the pudding is the traditional end of the main meal, often set alight by pouring brandy over it and lighting with a match, and almost always containing a small silver coin within it which is seen as a sign of good luck if your portion happens to contain it.
As with many such traditions they are falling out of fashion due to most of us buying premade foods, and health and safety rules would certainly be broken if shops sold puddings with round metal coins in them!
Using special foods as a gift item is where the idea of hampers comes into play. Mainly housed in a very traditional wicker basket most familiar from summer picnics, a Christmas hamper contains a whole range of things that you might not otherwise buy but that can help create a fantastic festive atmosphere.
Although some larger hampers will include things such as a Christmas Pudding, the emphasis is really on sweets, treats and savouries. Strong marmalades, perhaps including a hint of whiskey, cranberry sauce for the turkey, various after dinner cheeses and speciality biscuits are all the kinds of items you would expect to find in a good quality hamper.
There are many great outlets such as Lakeland where you can pick and choose from a range of hampers to suit all tastes and budgets. Of course, if you want to keep things simple you can always plump for a nice Advent Calendar or some small decorations instead.