Gift Hampers - Their Suprising History & Journey From Utilitarian Offerings to Festive Gifts

Have you recently received a surprise gift hamper or basket from a loved one? It's a wonderful feeling isn't it? Moreover, gift hampers have become a great gifting solution during festivals & special occasions. Excitement spreads around as the recipients dig into the hamper to find their favorite items! So, what's in a hamper? Usually, edible goodies, artisanal tea & coffee along with other delicious food and drink items are packed in a gift basket. Although, nowadays, more personalized items are curated to delight even the most picky recipients. But did you know that hampers have a very long & surprising history that dates back to almost 11th century? Moreover, the hamper originated in France & was introduced to England in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. Let's look at the surprising history of gift hampers & how they progressed from being utilitarian offerings for the less fortunate to festive gifts.

Let's Look At The Surprising History of the Hampers & Gift Basket:

Gift hampers or baskets, though loved by all are not given much thought! However, these modern day gifts have a very surprising & rather long legacy. According to research, the concept of hampers originated in France. Later, William the Conqueror  introduced these to England back around the 11th century. A few used them to gift utilitarian offerings like clothing food & drink to less fortunate. In addition, hampers made with woven baskets were used to transport necessary items during long journeys.

In the same manner, hampers were also used to store important papers & documents around the medieval period. Furthermore, they were known by their Latin name "hanaperium".

Moreover, around 1700s, traveling improved with advent of stage coach, a type of wagon used to transport people & goods. During the same time, hampers started gaining popularity as many started carrying food & drinks in hampers during their travels. Afterwards, around 1800s, transport links improved with massive railway expansion. Around the same time, the concept caught fancy of the Victorians. This led to people sending hampers filled with edible goodies & fresh produce to loved ones as gifts, especially during Christmas.

Besides, wealthy employers would assemble a wicker basket full of clothing, food & drink and present it to their staff at Christmas & other occasions. A typical Victorian gift hamper was known to be filled with delicious baked goodies like cakes, pies, preserved fruits & cured meats. Similarly, many started carrying a picnic hamper during a day out in the sun. Furthermore, as it became easier  to import goods from other countries, many started adding interesting gifts other than local produce to their hampers.

Interestingly, around 1900s motor travel started gaining popularity. Hence, hampers around this time included tea kettles & burners for motorists to enjoy a cup during their travels.

With evolving foods trends, hampers have evolved & are an extension of our personal taste. Today, gift hampers are enjoyed by many across the world having stood the test of time. Even now, many baskets are made by hand with weaving materials like willow, rattan & bamboo. Hampers have become a popular choice for giveaways during wedding & engagement ceremonies, special occasions & birthdays.

So, next time you receive or gift someone a hamper, do think about their legacy interwoven with interesting stories spread across cultures. Besides, if you are looking for some delicious festive hampers, take a look at our previous blog