The British tradition of giving gift hampers at Christmas was been spreading around the world. There are now loads of companies and charities delivering Christmas gift every year.
What could be a more traditional seasonal gift than a classic Christmas Hamper with loads of suitable food and beverages for the festive season. Hamper gifts became fashionable in the Victorian era when the rich would provide wicker baskets of food for their staff and impoverished families for them to enjoy a decent Christmas dinner. The tradition of providing charity hampers is still carried on today by organisations like The Salvation Army who distribute hampers in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
From the 1970's onwards hamper savings schemes became popular in the UK. Under these schemes families would give a small payment every week and receive a hamper in time for Christmas. This market has fallen rapidly since the failure of a major supplier called Farepak. Farepak collapsed in 2006 leaving thousands of families without their hamper at Christmas. The average customer lost four hundred pounds with some customers loosing close to two thousand pounds. Farepak had been trading in hampers since 1968 and had over one hundred and fifty thousand customers, many of which had used the firm for years.
The market for hampers has been changing. In the nineteen seventies hampers were often purchased on installments by families for their own Christmas, the eighties saw the growth of the hamper market for corporate gifts and entertaining. It became common place for companies to give hampers to their staff and to other businesses they deal with. Modern hampers for business are often very luxurious featuring very fine produce usually geared to Christmas corporate gifts such as port and stilton, whisky, mince pies and Christmas puddings. Amongst the more decadent examples of hampers produced in recent years have been hampers produced by pop star Stings wife, filled with organic products from her farm. By far the most decadent hamper is the twenty thousand pound hamper from Fortnum and Mason which is delivered by horse and cart.