Homemade DIY gift hamper ideas on a budget

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Hampers can be a lovely way to show someone that you know them well by gathering all of the things that they love into a basket.  But, on the contrary, they can also be a great gift for someone that you don’t know so well, because if you fill them with tasty treats they’re bound to go down a treat anyway. 

However, pre-prepared hampers can be very expensive and most of the time it’ll be significantly cheaper to make your own – whether it be from store-bought items or homemade treasures.

To really shop on a budget, shop year-round during seasonal sales, and if it’s a Christmas hamper, use the January sales the previous year to buy cheap hamper basket kits and festive non-perishables (like candles, Christmas mugs, festive bath bombs, tree ornaments etc) – storing them away for the following year.

Don’t forget to make the most of selling pages, charity shops and second-hand websites too – it’s easy to pick up new or nearly new bits for a fraction of the cost that you’d have paid originally, without compromising on the condition or the quality.

You could also re-use baskets given to you, opt for cheaper gift boxes or bags instead, or pop to the florist for cheap cellophane wrap (through using recyclable gift-wrap is more eco-friendly!). Tie with a lovely ribbon, or a homemade decoration, and you have a fantastic personalised and thoughtful gift.

Here are lots of different theme ideas for your homemade DIY hampers…

Gardening theme

Hampers can be easily themed to suit the recipient’s interests. A few years ago, I made a gardening hamper for my father-in-law who wanted to start a vegetable patch, and it was well received. For a keen gardener, you could include:

  • A kneeling pad
  • Packets of seeds
  • Heavy duty gardening tools
  • A gardening book
  • Gloves
  • Plant labels
  • Twine
  • Small plant pots
  • Garden ornaments


Consumable treats

Buying edible treats with your supermarket reward points can be a great way to fill a food hamper on a budget. But budget stores, like Aldi and Lidl, also have some fantastic tasty treats at affordable prices – so you can make a really full hamper without the high cost of a pre-prepared equivalent. And, if you’re a keen cook, you could make some of these goodies from scratch too. Consider things like:

  • Seasonal fruits
  • Cheeses, with crackers and chutney
  • Chocolates or sweets
  • Festive foods – Christmas cake / pudding, mince-pies, gingerbread cookies or shortbread
  • Specialty coffees or teas
  • Hot chocolate mix with marshmallows and a mug
  • Mulled wine or a craft beer selection
  • Miniature bottles of spirits or liqueurs
  • A collection of spices or exotic cooking ingredients

posh box of chocolates


Christmas goodies

If you’re making a Christmas hamper, then you could opt for lots of festive and winter themed treats. As I mentioned above, this theme can be a good one for a small budget, since you can easily pick up some of these things inexpensively a year in advance in the January sales. You could include:

  • A Christmas hot water bottle
  • Fluffy socks
  • Christmas candles
  • Festive bath bombs
  • A Christmas movie or book
  • Hot chocolate stirrers
  • A Christmas tree ornament
  • Candy canes
  • Christmas CDs
  • Christmas party games


Wellness and relaxation

You might want to base your hamper goodies around a ‘spa’ type theme, giving your recipient a pamper-package full of wellness and relaxation items. If you know them well, you might want to throw in a homemade gift coupon for an afternoon of babysitting too, so they can enjoy their hamper in peace! Think about:

  • Bath bombs or bath salts
  • Aromatic candles or essential oils
  • Cozy socks or a soft blanket
  • Relaxing herbal teas
  • Soothing skincare products or face-masks
  • A book or magazine
  • Chocolates

woman reading book relaxing in the bath


Cooking theme

If your recipient is a keen cook, then why not go all out on a cooking themed hamper full of useful items that they can enjoy using in the kitchen. You could add things like:

  • Herbs and spices
  • An apron
  • Oven mitts
  • Speciality cooking ingredients
  • Recipe cards or a cookbook
  • Gourmet cooking sauces or condiments
  • Pretty tea towels
  • Cupcake cases
  • Baking ingredients
  • Cake decoration items
  • Cookie cutters


Homemade theme

If you’ve got a skill, why not make something personal? You could get the kids involved, and with the amount of rain we have here in the UK it could be a good way to keep busy in the warm too. Consider:

  • Hand-knitted scarves, blankets or throws
  • Homemade candles or soaps
  • Custom artwork or crafts
  • Jars of homemade jams, preserves or sauces
  • Personalised photo albums or scrapbooks
  • Home-cooked baked goods
  • Ornaments
  • DIY cookie or cake mixes in mason jars

homemade preserves and jams on shelf

Like the idea of making things from scratch? Then you’ll love my article: Free, homemade ideas for birthday gifts without spending money.


Games and entertainment

A hamper can be a great way to give one gift for a whole family too – so you might want to include things to keep everyone entertained. Or, make something just for the kids to keep them busy at home. Think about:

  • Board games
  • Card games
  • Puzzle books or brain teasers
  • A movie night package with snacks, DVDs or a streaming service gift card
  • Children’s craft items and activities
  • A DIY escape room kit
  • Colouring or activity books
  • Books or novels
  • CDs or playlists


Other themes

There are lots of other themes that you could base your DIY gift hamper on, so think about who you’re buying for, and what their interests are, and be creative. Here are some more ideas:

  • Reading
  • A particular sport
  • A football club
  • Movies
  • DIY
  • Grandparent themed goodies
  • Make-up, nails or hair-care
  • Cleaning (check this one won’t be offensive 😂 but my sister-in-law loves to clean – she asked for cleaning products one Christmas so we made her a cleaning theme gift-bag of goodies and she loved it!)
  • Arts and crafts
  • Picnic items
  • A car wash kit
  • Gaming
  • Children’s hobbies
  • Travel
  • Music
  • Memories


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