This week I have been looking at the history of hampers and traditionally a hamper is a gift of food and drink – often presented in a wicker basket.
They’re most popular, of course, at Christmas, but I think they can be given all year round…..
More and more people are sending food gifts, but
Christmas hampers can include drink, toys and sweets too.
Apparently, William the Conqueror brought the first gift hampers to England – the word is derived from the French word ‘hanapier’ meaning a case for goblets.
However my research also revealed the tradition of giving hampers at Christmas started in Victorian times, when wealthy families would put together a basket of food and drink and present it to their staff.
During this time the amount of food in the Christmas hamper was limited to what one person could carry, so they would often contain enough food for only one week. Hamper food was most often seasonal produce that would ensure the families of the staff could have a Christmas feast of their own.
With the expansion of the railways in the late 1800s it was easier for people to send gift hampers.
Although the sending of hampers had been charitable gestures until then, a London department store caught on to the idea of sending hampers as gifts to loved ones around the UK.
People could now send
hampers as a gift and, although it was traditionally done at Christmas, we soon came to realise that the hamper was an appropriate gift all year round.
I like to send hampers for all sorts of occasions, from the traditional Christmas hamper to house-warming gifts and birthday presents. It’s because sending a hamper not only gives the receiver a basket full of wonderful gifts but it also stimulates sight, taste and smell.
So, in my opinion – a hamper is for life, not just for Christmas!
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