Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    Northern Princess
    Christmas Hamper Help for a Pensioner Please.
    • #1
    • 10th Dec 11, 10:45 AM
    Christmas Hamper Help for a Pensioner Please. 10th Dec 11 at 10:45 AM

    As part of my mother in laws Christmas we are filling a huge picnic hamper for her with tins etc. She lives alone and has a part time cleaning job which is from 4pm - 7pm. She tends to eat her main meal at lunchtime because of this (I generally batch cook so make sure she has one portion meals in the freezer to use) Would you lovely people have some ideas of what I can put in a hamper for her ? What would you appreciate in a hamper? I was also going to put some nice soaps/creams/bubble bath/chocolate etc in another basket as a kind of 'treats' basket for her - would you take offence to someone giving you a basket full of toiletries? We found out a few months ago that she had really struggled financially last year paying for gas/electricity but she completely refuses to let us put money on her gas and electricity tokens so we're looking for ways to ease the financial pressure in other ways. Your help would be much appreciated

    Never look down on anyone unless you are bending to help them up.....
Page 1
  • adelight
    • #2
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:05 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:05 AM
    That sounds quite nice to me really. Maybe some small jars of jam, chutney, mini xmas puds, nice biscuits and little boxes of chocs and some HM toiletries gift sets. Giving toiletries sets is really common and quite nice- i like getting them and so does my nan! You could buy a selection of different things in similar fragrances and wrap them up together in cellophane like a homemade gift set or fit them all in to one of those wire toiletry holder things and wrap that all up. Or just buy a gift set. The body shop have some good offers online and discount codes floating around, you can make up gift sets in store and they have bubble bath, moisturiser, hand cream, lip balm, deo, soaps, body spray all in the same ranges/fragrances so you can make a really nice set.
    Living cheap in central London
    • RAS
    • By RAS 10th Dec 11, 11:23 AM
    • 27,996 Posts
    • 48,414 Thanks
    • #3
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:23 AM
    • #3
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:23 AM

    Please don't put chocolates in with smellies as they will taint it.

    My thoughts would be some nice soap, bubble bath and some hand cream. You can bulk it out with something like cotton wool balls and a new flannel (thats what the store do).I

    Regarding meals, you will know what she like to eat (and it sounds like you are making her main meal already?)

    Without knowing her taste in food, it is hard to know what to include.

    Nice jams and chutneys would allow her to boost otherwise boring food? Also some nice biscuits can be nibbled when needed. They could be home made in a nice tin?

    If you can find small tins or jars of sauces, either cook in or pouring?

    Does she like pesto? Good for adding to soups, potato salads, veggies or over pasta, so adds flavour to simple basics which can be produced quickly. Again, small jars would be best.

    A lot of supermarket "steamed" puddings have 6 month shelf lives and microwave well.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
    • Grimbal
    • By Grimbal 10th Dec 11, 11:30 AM
    • 2,188 Posts
    • 3,441 Thanks
    • #4
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:30 AM
    • #4
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:30 AM
    what a lovely idea for your MIL !

    I was in T*sco this morning,and noticed that they had reduced their small (100g - so individual/couple) sized finest Xmas puds

    I'd also include little things to nibble on - biscuits/cheese crackers/nuts etc
    "Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it" Einstein 1951
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 10th Dec 11, 11:31 AM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    • #5
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:31 AM
    • #5
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:31 AM
    Please don't put chocolates in with smellies as they will taint it.
    Originally posted by RAS
    Totally agree with the above .... what about a nice hamper with "smellies" in (I think just about everyone loves these) and separate one with some "tasties" in.

    For the smellies one, you could get a lovely warm fleece (or similar) blanket and use this as the base in which to put the other bits in - sure she'd like one to put over her knees on chilly evenings, especially if she's a bit on the lean side with using her heating. Lots of places are selling these at a very reasonable price just now.

    Marks & Spencer have some lovely toiletries just now - there are the expensive ones but they also had a huge isle of ones that were 1 each or BOGO1/2price (so 2 for 1.50). Various different "flavours" in bubble bath, shower gel, hand wash, body lotion etc etc so you could quite easily (and cheaply) make up a lovely set:

    For the tasties, some nice chutneys and biscuits is lovely and often the first things that people cut back on when funds are tight.
    Grocery Challenge 211/455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: 125/250
    1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 3.96 / 1,000
    Vet Fund: 410.93 / 1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • Merry Wanderer
    • By Merry Wanderer 10th Dec 11, 11:45 AM
    • 426 Posts
    • 588 Thanks
    Merry Wanderer
    • #6
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:45 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:45 AM
    Nice chunky soups in tins are a bit of a luxury and practical too.
    • findingmyfeet
    • By findingmyfeet 10th Dec 11, 11:51 AM
    • 494 Posts
    • 5,666 Thanks
    • #7
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:51 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:51 AM
    hi northern princess- my 18 year old dd is getting a toiletries hamper as one of her gifts this year. she is at uni and i thought by christmas she would be glad of a top up and save her some money too. ive been buying all the basics-shower gel/bubble baths, dettodorant, hairspray etc but also slipped a few luxury items in : lush bath bomb, fancy tights, nail polish etc.

    i have also done a small food hamper for my brother and family because they are struggling too this contains: tinned ham, salmon,tinned fruit, pasta, rice, hm jam, chutney, pickled beetrrot/cabbage etc then tin of nice choc biscuits and a tin of Celeb*ations for the kids. at the last minute i will add hm cake, quiche and whatever i fancy baking on the day.

    i think you should go for basic store cupboard items and tins that can be stored or stretched out until needed and add a few more luxury things nice chocs, biscuits, mini xmas cake, nuts or possibly make a small fresh fruit hamper too.
    good luck im sure she will appreciate it.
    sealed pot member no :435 2011- 306.68 2012-304.36 2013- 387.44 2014 - 441.43 482.30
  • rachbc
    • #8
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:51 AM
    • #8
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:51 AM
    How about a keepwarm hamper - a fleece or blanket and maybe a hat and soem fingerless gloves would be great too if she is anxious about putting the heating on - also how about a heat pad/ wheat bag so she can have that on her lap to keep warm, really good sheepskin slippers have been a godsend for me this winter.

    Foodwise - high calorie nutrient dense stuff - older people often have smaller appetites so bits to snack on - cheesy crackers, nuts, cakes and biscuits, puddings and tetra packs of custard, meaty soups etc
    People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • Mikazaru
    • By Mikazaru 10th Dec 11, 11:58 AM
    • 367 Posts
    • 589 Thanks
    • #9
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:58 AM
    • #9
    • 10th Dec 11, 11:58 AM
    I think it's a lovely idea, I do a sort of similar thing for my mum sometimes, I put in a few magazines and little puzzle books and a diary and calendar for the new year. Toiletry wise I put in bubble bath, hand creams, body lotion, nail stuff etc. - just slightly nicer makes than she'd treat herself to. If you are worried about her being cold how about a hot water bottle and nice cover or one of those toys you can put in the microwave and a blanket.
    Food wise how about a mix of basics that she uses a lot mixed in with some 'posher' items? Some nice hot chocolate/tea/coffee, biscuits, tins of soup, a home made cake?
  • Aarons mummy
    I love hampers, they are so practical and easy to make up and can be cheap with lovely toiletries especially with Body Shop glitches etc.

    Soaps are nice and can be picked up cheaply. Do you have a 1 store, they have lovely little candles in jars, jar of coffee, box of teabags, nuts, crackers, cheese (there are some festive ones in Asda for 1), tins of meat, potatoes, veggies, noodles, pasta, hot chocolate, shower gels, bubble baths, face cream, hand cream, perfume (I love Next ones but there are also lovely ones online for 2.99 each), tins of tomatoes, bottle of squash, fresh juices even little cartons, tins of things like meatballs, curry etc if she is happy with things like that, a little box of chocolates (even the ones at 1 from Asda etc) packs of biscuits. What about a small bottle of wine at 1 odds if she drinks as a treat.

    Just include anything she will use, I'm sure she will be more than grateful for whatever she receives
    Credit Card: 796 Left/900 October 2011
    Store Card: 100 October 2011
    Declutter 100 Things In January 100/100
    No Buying Toiletries 2012
    • SpikyHedgehog
    • By SpikyHedgehog 10th Dec 11, 1:14 PM
    • 1,000 Posts
    • 10,083 Thanks
    Would she appreciate joky things from Grandchildren (if there are any...), like Christmassy kitchen roll & toilet roll, as a way of getting them for her without looking like you're getting her kitchen roll & toilet roll?
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #37 - waterproof wearing cage customiser, chief of cable ties and duct tape

    It's me, DS1 (23), DS2 (15), and the lurcher, and DS1's leopard geckos.
  • dunworking
    i have done a hamper this year for my 40 year old son who lives alone.included wine posh curds and pasta from waitroise .as a joke put a box of farleys rusks in he as loved these from being a baby . i have packed it in a bright green paper recycling bag from poundland
  • Northern Princess
    Thank you so much for your replies. I didn't know chocolate would taint if I put it in the 'nice' basket, so thanks for that tip. I hasn't thought about Christmas loo roll and kitchen roll as a 'joke', what a fab idea and she will use it. I also hasn't thought of the pesto, pasta etc or the warm items like fleecy blanket, water bottle again which she'd use. I've made a list of all the things you've all mentioned and lots of them have jogged my memory of things she'll love but never buys for herself. I had also never thought of adding fruit or fresh items which I'll do as well as some magazines and puzzle books which she loves. I've made chutney's and jams but think I'll put them into much smaller jars than I already have them in, that way she can use use what she needs and not worry about large jars being used up. My friend has loads of baby food jars so I think I'll ask her for some of these, their a perfect size.

    Once again thanks so much for all your help - I now have a huge list so shopping for me it is tomorrow
    Never look down on anyone unless you are bending to help them up.....
    • suzybloo
    • By suzybloo 10th Dec 11, 4:48 PM
    • 1,079 Posts
    • 8,715 Thanks
    I have been doing this for my mother-in-law who is 84, as it saves her going out when the weather is bad, or struggling to carry home shopping. I always put in coffee, tea, sugar, oval tin ham, tin peas, tin potaotoes, Fray Bentos Pie, tin salmon, tinned rice & custard, tinned fruit, tinned soup, biscuits, jam, marmalade, tinned mince, tinned carrots, packet of Smash, these little sponge puddings, cornflakes, along with some shortbread and a small christmas cake - thats just an outline. I also make up a seperate hamper of washing powder, fabric conditioner, fairy liquid, soap, kitchen roll, toilet roll with a nice new dish towel and hand towel.
    For my own dad, due to arthritis he finds preparing somethings awkward , I buy three pound each of mince, stew, sausages, and make these for his freezer, along with a big pot of soup - all divided into little tubs, and frozen peas, veg, fillets of fish, mashed potatoes, etc so his is really a freezer hamper, and my sister does his dry goods hamper.
    We found this was much better than buying jumpers etc that they didnt really need, and they know they will receive it around the 15th so that they dont have to go and brave the crowds in the shops or the bad weather.
    On christmas day they receive a small gift to open.
    Last year for an old couple who live nearby I made up a fresh veg hamper of carrots, onions, potatoes, leeks, turnip and included stock cubes and a pack of broth mix and oatcakes, along with two soup bowls - it looked great when it was all tied up with a bow - she said it was a great gift especially give the weather. I am hoping to do that one this year again, but will change the soup bowls for dish towels or something similar.
    Every days a School day!
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 10th Dec 11, 5:15 PM
    • 3,287 Posts
    • 36,174 Thanks
    My dad lives in London and I live miles away....I was going to send him something like an M&S hamper....until I looked at the website and saw how much you didn't get for 75.

    I went online at Asda (my account, just changed the delivery address) and ordered him and his girlfriend a shop that should last them them a fair while for the same amount. Lots of tinned things, but my dad likes tins (sigh!) and bacon, sausage, black pudding etc. The tins were things like carrots, peas, potatoes, ham, corned beef. I even managed to sneak in a tin of Roses for the long suffering girlfriend. My dad has a dodgy knee, so can't carry loads and walk, and his girlfriend is getting on a bit. It means that my sister and I can enjoy Christmas now, safe in the knowledge that the pair of them have plenty of food no matter what the weather does. I included a bottle of wine, some meat for Christmas, and some beer as well as some proper spuds in the hope that he will begin to see that tins are not the only option

    My dad is known as "Ebeneezer" at this time of year, but even he was impressed by what was available from Asda for the same price as an M&S hamper.
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 10th Dec 11, 5:57 PM
    • 16,752 Posts
    • 143,510 Thanks
    As not only a pensioner but someone who likes to give small hampers to my friends, tea bags,a jar of instant coffee,1lb sugar,marmalade ,jam, small tins of fruit,evap milk, beans, a small tin of corned beef,sardines or salmon anything really that will help to make a meal for a single person who maybe doesn't feel like cooking.Its also handy as a 'filler' if the weather turns bad in January and they can't get out to the shops.I have several friends who not only live alone but have few family visits as their families often live a good distance away so I like to keep an 'eye' on them .A nice bar of cadburys milk chocolate is appreciated or a tin of cocoa.When you get older for some reason everyone buys you 'smellies 'very nice and I enjoy the ones I get but I also love the fact that some of my grandchildren will buy me a nice tin of ground coffee as they know its my treat at the weekend.really its anything that will bring pleasure.One year someone gave me a subscription for the Radio Times which was brilliant and lasted for a year.I also like to give a small hyacinth bulb in a pot as its nice to see it grow during January and the smell is gorgeous.Every year one of my presents to my youngest DD has been an amaryliss in a pot which she has had yearly for about 25 years last year I left it too late, and boy did I get it in the ear all day Christmas Day "But you always buy me a nice bulb Mum "I got hers earler this year just in case
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • meritaten
    • By meritaten 10th Dec 11, 6:16 PM
    • 23,092 Posts
    • 60,819 Thanks
    some lovely Ideas above - but, I do have an idea of how you could include some cash for her if you would like to.
    You know those saving cans? The ones you can only open with a tin opener? if you can get one labelled 'In case of Emergencies' or 'My Treat Fund'. put some cash in and hide it under all the other cans and goodies - then she will have accepted the pressie and hopefully wont find it until you are well clear - and as she wont know whats in it.....will hopefully not try to give it back!
    • Valli
    • By Valli 10th Dec 11, 6:27 PM
    • 21,119 Posts
    • 238,979 Thanks
    Following on from Jackie O's post why not include a small bottle of longlife milk (or two) then if the weather DOES go bad she's covered IYSWIM

    I don't tend to 'stock up' much but this year, having been snowed in last year, I have longlife milk, longlife fruit juice and cat food stashed away (2 cats). Having said that even if I can't drive I can walk to a few shops. (Although don't ask DD about this as she dragged it all on the sledge from Mr Ms while I trailed behind like a feeble person!)
    "I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness" Emily Dickinson
    Janice 1964-2016

    Thank you Honey Bear
    • Cat501
    • By Cat501 10th Dec 11, 6:27 PM
    • 1,165 Posts
    • 7,107 Thanks
    I was struggling to think what to get for my mum, can't believe I didn't think of hampers, so thanks OP and thanks to everyone else for the brilliant ideas! Am already thinking, a bit of stilton, and the puzzle books is an excellent idea. Could even do this for DDs too. Does anyone know where you can buy cheapish baskets?

    NO idea what to get for dad though, he's always impossible to buy for!
    • Valli
    • By Valli 10th Dec 11, 6:30 PM
    • 21,119 Posts
    • 238,979 Thanks
    For baskets try Dunelm, Matalan, Wilkinsons. Ikea but look out for those fancy storage boxes (poundland type places too or Home Bargains if you have one; we don't) with lids as they make nice presentation boxes, too.
    "I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness" Emily Dickinson
    Janice 1964-2016

    Thank you Honey Bear
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

351Posts Today

4,272Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • So how much work do I actually do on the MSE weekly email these days, now I?m in the exhaulted position of ?Executi?

  • Dear gumtree - I feel I've been sold a kipper. You're advertising has my face on it but I don't do adverts. If yo?

  • RT @MoneySavingExp: ????This chap ????@MSE_GuyAnker is responsible for delivering MSE's Weekly Email to 14 million people, 52 weeks of the year.?

  • Follow Martin