The origins of the Christmas gift basket
The history behind the festive hamper
Known throughout North America as a Christmas gift basket but commonly referred to in the United Kingdom and Europe as a Christmas hamper, the wicker basket crammed full of festive goodies was a concept introduced to England from France in the 11th century. The idea, however, of presenting as a gift a hamper filled with wines, cakes, cheeses, puddings, pies, and other assorted seasonal treats only really became popular in Great Britain during the Victorian era.
Given as presents to family and friends, the offering of gift hampers at Christmastime is also seen as a gesture of charity and goodwill towards those less fortunate, a tradition that goes back centuries. In wartime, too, serving troops would often receive a box of festive foodstuffs while on the frontline. Today, ready-made gift baskets or boxes, so-called commercial or corporate hampers, number among the most popular Yuletide items.
'Tis the season, so with this in mind, click through and unwrap the history behind the Christmas gift basket.
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