Hampers for the Perfect Host

by Stewart 29. November 2014 23:01

We’re going to let you into a little pre-Christmas secret… our hampers really come into their own when you have to cater for impromptu drinks and nibbles over the festive season.

Whoever holds the key to our Taste of Christmas Carton will never be caught out. A beautiful bottle of crisp Botter Prosseco gets proceedings off to a jolly start. Nestled in beside Cartwright and Butler crunchy cheese biscuits and chili and garlic olives you will find perfect Perthshire oatcakes, light and creamy Rendles salmon and dill pate, Arran cheddar or Mrs Bridges apricot and peach preserve.

And there’s always room for a warm, aromatic mince pie, whatever the time of day.

Those who adhere to this festive motto will feel well equipped with the Wee Festive Artisan hamper. Brew a perfect pot of Super Fruit Tea whilst guests enjoy handmade mince pies or a slice of irresistible Campbell’s Bakery Christmas cake.

Last but not least, enter the Christmas Fayre Gift Bag. Complete with a scrumptious Mathew Walker Classic Christmas pudding, Rendles All Butter Palmiers baked with decadent gouda & edam cheese, topped with Mrs Bridges delicious Christmas spiced fruit chutney.

If that sounds like the perfect way to spend the festive season, then make sure you kit out your friends and family with all they need to host the perfect festive drinks soirée.

The Highland Fayre Christmas Day

by Stewart 18. December 2013 00:20

We all have small family traditions and quirks that make our Christmas day special to us; whether it’s a particular decoration or a certain TV programme there is something that signifies Christmas for all of us.
 
This week talk in our office has turned to Christmas and we’ve compiled a list of our favourite festive traditions:
 
Carol’s Christmas doesn’t start until the 24th when her and her family finally get round to putting up the tree.
 
“We’ve never had it up before Christmas Eve, it’s the last Christmassy thing that we do in our house.”

Once that’s done the family sits down to a relaxing meal together.
 
When Stewart thinks of Christmas he immediately thinks of cooking dinner with his dad.
 
“I’m 25 now and have my own place but Christmas at my Mum and Dad’s is just too special to miss.
 
“I even have to wake up there on Christmas day so I don’t miss a minute of it.”

For Sam Christmas is all about popping the champagne at an hour that would usually be considered unacceptable.
 
“I just love the sound of a champagne cork popping, that means Christmas to me.”

David has a house full of Children so his Christmas is a bit different to some of our staff!

“It’s a madhouse round ours at Christmas but having kids means that we have new traditions together.

“Our favourite is leaving reindeer ‘food’ out for Santa’s helpers; once we’ve sprinkled it around the garden the children know it’s bed time which is great for us parents!”

 Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a family dispute.
 
For Clair her favourite tradition is playing games that usually end in a barney.
 
“We play 60 year old board games in the afternoon and somehow it always ends in an argument; that’s when I know it’s really Christmas.”

If you’re missing out on a family Christmas this year then at least send a fantastic present to say sorry! Have a look at our Family Christmas page.

Secret santa gifts under £20

by Stewart 9. December 2013 20:56

Secret santa is a lot of fun at Christmas time and buying presents can be enjoyable too!
 
Have a look at our favourite gifts for under £20:
 
Gift for her
At just £18.88 this spectacular strawberry hamper is filled with lots of lovely produce and is perfect for the sweet treat lover in the office.
 
With Ahmad Strawberry Sensation tea, Forest Feast Sumptuous Strawberries and Ovidio Italian sugar almonds there will even be enough to share!


A bottle of wine
You won’t fail to get it right with a nice bottle of wine; all you need to know is which colour!
 
You can even have the bottle personalised with a Christmas message to add an extra bit of festive sparkle to your gift.
 
Our personalised Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux and Chardonnay range from £15.54 to £17.94.

 
Hip flask
A hip flask is a stylish and useful present for anyone in the office and these days they come in lots of hilarious shapes.

Gauge the personality of your secret santa recipient and then go for a design that matches; a traditional engraved flask for the more mature gent or maybe something with sparkles for the young ones.

 
A wee Scottish hamper
Have you got a Scot in your office that is missing home at this time of year?
 
Our hamper packed with Walkers of Aberlour Sultana Slab Cake, The Kindness Bakery Handmade Shortbread Bites and Mrs Bridges Scottish Strawberry Preserve will transport them home again.

At only £19.50 it’s an ideal office present.

If in doubt buy something odd
Sometimes a secret santa present should be completely ridiculous!
 
If you don’t think your recipient would like fine food or a useful gift then there are some things that will always be funny.
 
A comedy mug or a set of reindeer antlers will be sure to get a laugh around the office and they won’t break the bank either.

To browse more gifts pop over to our hampers by price page.

5 experience days for the office Christmas party

by Stewart 3. December 2013 18:47

The Christmas party can be the best night of the year for you and your staff and so it should be!
 
If you want to take everyone on an exciting trip then have a look at our 5 favourite experience days for the office Christmas party:
 
Go-Karting
 
This is a great outing if you have lots of competitive types in your workforce as there’s nothing more likely to bring out a love of winning than a racetrack!
 
Take your whole team along for a day of competitions but remember to brief them on dress code first so that they don’t all turn up in black tie.

 
Comedy club
 
If you don’t think your employees will enjoy a day of high-speed racing fun then maybe a few laughs will be more to their taste.
 
Some comedy clubs offer cheaper rates for large groups and you’re always guaranteed a hilarious night out, whether your laughing with the comedian or at them.

Paintballing
 
If the team is full of young ones then let them burn off some steam by running around a field firing brightly coloured paint pellets at each other.
 
You can split the company into teams to really amp up the competition; everyone will love the chance to get the boss

Cocktail making

This is one for everyone!

There are very few people who don’t enjoy a cocktail or two throughout the festive period and you could even have a mixologist come to your office and teach you in house.

Just remember to have virgin cocktails for the drivers.

Salsa class
 
If there’s one thing that Strictly Come Dancing has taught us it’s that men love dancing too.
 
Ask your staff to dress up and take them for an evening of dance tuition with a professional; even if they’re wary to start off with they’ll soon be polka-ing with the best of them!

For great hampers to serve at your Christmas party head over to our office Christmas hampers page.

Employee motivation at Christmas

by Stewart 2. December 2013 23:44

Here are our five top tips to improve employee motivation this Christmas.
 
1.  Give the gift of flexibility

In a survey by Canada Life Group 36% of UK workers stated that flexible working hours would improve their productivity.
 
If you can’t allow flexitime all year then Christmas is the ideal time to let your staff choose when they work; time to see family, buy gifts and go to school plays will mean your staff are focussed at work.

2. Deck the… desks

Spending eight hours a day in the office during the festive season could be depressing without a bit of Christmas cheer.

Darren Tracey of staffmotivationmatters.co.uk suggests running a competition for the most festive desk.
 
This will encourage interaction between staff and a small, inexpensive prize may be all the motivation they need.

3. Ask about their life

Paul Jewitt Harris, practice director at Lane4, says that chatting to your staff about their day as well as asking them about their Christmas plans is great for raising spirits.

If you’re a SME then financial motivation may not be possible but it costs nothing to show interest in someone else.

4. Give a gift

There’s a lot to be said for the traditional approach to staff motivation. According to a Forbes article from Vicki Salemi happy workers are 180% more energized than their unhappy counterparts.

If you want to spread the Christmas cheer amongst your staff then give them a Christmas hamper full of luxury goodies for the last week at work before the holidays; a quick mince pie can do wonders to improve happiness!

5. Remember the New Year
Even the most dedicated staff can get the January blues.
 
Wayne Harrington from Edenred says:
“Spreading the motivation programme across the festive period into the New Year banishes January blues traditionally associated with the return to work and motivates staff for the year ahead."
 
An annual membership to the cinema or national trust is a great motivational tool and lasts the whole year!


For a selection of lovely hampers visit our Corporate Christmas Gift page.

5 Christmas traditions explained

by Stewart 20. November 2013 02:48

From romancing under the mistletoe to throwing tinsel onto a tree there are a lot of Christmas traditions that we take for granted.
 
Here are our five favourite traditions explained:
 
1. Kissing under the mistletoe
Mistletoe has been special for centuries and puckering up for a kiss at Christmas time is a popular tradition in many parts of the world.
 
Kissing under the mistletoe was originally believed to lead to marriage so if you’ve got your eye on someone then the festive period is the perfect time to move in for a peck.

 
2. Leaving food out for Santa
This wonderful tradition is linked to the ancient Northern European tradition of leaving a food sacrifice for protective house spirits.
 
Nowadays we leave food out to see if Santa exists and every year it disappears by Christmas morning proving that he is real!

 
3. Bringing a tree indoors
Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, brought a Christmas tree home from Germany in 1841 and when the royal family were illustrated in a newspaper standing around it they became instantly popular.

4. Serving a cake in the shape of a log
It is traditional to light a special Yule log on Christmas Eve every year and keep it burning though the twelve nights of Christmas.
 
From this the log shaped chocolate cake was born and these days most people think of dessert when someone mentions the Yule log.

5. Presents in a stocking
The story goes that the original Saint Nicholas left gold coins in the stockings of three poor sisters when they had gone to bed leaving their stockings to dry at the fireplace.
 
Since then we have continued the tradition of hanging up stockings on Christmas Eve and waking to find them filled with presents!

 
If you’d like to lay on some luxury food for Santa then have a look at our Christmas Food Hampers page. 

 

 

Christmas gifts for foodies

by Stewart 12. November 2013 21:24

If you’re a foodie then Christmas is the best time of year and if you’re buying presents for a food lover then you’re in luck!
 
Here are our five favourite luxury food hampers for Christmas:

Christmas treats hamper

Including Mrs Bridges Christmas Preserve, Guylian Temptations Christmas Tree Artisanal Belgian Chocolates and a Matthew Walker Classic Christmas Pudding this is the ideal show stopping present for a smaller budget.

Festive fayre food hamper

McKenzie's Oval Alberts Savoury Biscuits, Edna May's Traditional Victorian Christmas Pudding and Hamlet Luxury Belgian Chocolate Assortment are just some of the treats included in this well priced hamper.

If you have a friend in mind that loves cheese, biscuits and wine then this is the ideal treat for them!

Family favourites gift hamper

If your recipient has a whole family of food fans at home then this is the perfect hamper for them.
 
With all the essential snacks for the festive period including Tyrrell's Sweet Chilli & Red Pepper Potato Chips, Paterson's Luxury Shortbread Fingers and Mackays Vintage Dundee Orange Marmalade this is the best present for a foodie family.

 
Christmas classic hamper

Filled with all of the traditional Christmas eats as well as two bottles of wine this is the perfect gift for a couple of food lovers.
 
Grandma Wild's Luxury Mince Pies and Christopher James Brandy Butter and Award Winning Plum Pudding are just three of the selection of luxury treats included in this well stuffed hamper.

First Noel Christmas hamper

The best way to splash out on the foodie in your life.
 
With two bottles of Senso wine, Epicure Assorted Cheese Snacks and Excelcium Assorted Chocolate Pralines as well as much, much more this is the king of Christmas hampers.
 
All of these products have been chosen to compliment each other and are of the highest quality.

 

You can find more hampers for the food lover in your life on our Christmas Food Hampers page.

Secret santa gifts for female colleagues

by Stewart 9. November 2013 00:39

If women think men are hard to buy for at Christmas it is nothing compared to the fear instilled in men’s hearts when they realise that they have to buy a secret santa present for a female colleague they hardly know!
 
Never fear, our top five secret santas for ladies will solve your problem:
 
1. A flower arrangement
If you know that you are handing out presents before everyone goes on leave for Christmas you can give your recipient a lovely bouquet of flowers to keep at her desk.
 
If you time it right they might even last her till Christmas day.


2. A voucher for two

If she has a significant other then vouchers for a Christmas activity are a great idea and a novel approach to secret santa gifting.
 
A ride on the big wheel or a day tasting mince pies and mulled wine are the ideal treat around the festive season.

3. A hat and scarf

Practical but useful too!
 
Ask around the office for her favourite colours and maybe even order online to ensure you are supervised while choosing the perfect present for your secret santa recipient.

 
4. A magazine subscription

If she’s forever spending her lunch hour buried behind a glossy mag then take note and order her a subscription to be sent to the office each month.
 
She’ll love the convenience of a delivery right to the door and you’ll get to have a look once she’s done!

 
5.Chocolate and wine
If all else fails you can most definitely rely on chocolate and wine.
 
A luxury bottle alongside some high quality choccies will make anyone (male or female) happy at Christmas and there’s a high chance you might get a glass and maybe even a chocolate or two!

 
For more secret santa ideas have a look at our Christmas food hampers.

 

5 Christmas gifts that aren't vouchers

by Stewart 7. November 2013 18:34

Buying Christmas gifts for your staff at Christmas time is an essential part of employee care. Kevin Kruse, contributor at Forbes magazine states that “feeling appreciated—which comes from recognition from others—is one of the top three drivers of employee engagement.”
 
We’ve thought up 5 unique staff Christmas presents that step away from the traditional voucher.
 
1. A Christmas decoration
Step away from the commercially branded baubles and think more unique.
 
A different Christmas decoration for each member of staff will be well received and needn’t mean you spending hours trawling the shops.
 
You can order a selection of high quality baubles online and package them separately.

2. Flowers
At Christmas time flowers are a fantastic addition to an office desk or home.
 
Poinsettias are a classic flower for the festive period and a plant or arrangement can be found relatively cheaply.
 
Staff will love the cheerful Christmas vibes around the office on gift day.

3. A bottle of luxury

A bottle of wine is a great place to start when gifting to staff.
 
An extra bottle of wine in the house will never go amiss with your employees.
 
If you want to be known as the best boss in the world then have the bottles personalised.

 
4. Do something nice
Why not gift your employee a service?

Arranging to have their car valeted or their house cleaned is a great surprise that shows that you have thought about their hectic life.

A clean house just before Christmas will be a dream come true.

5. A voucher… for a restaurant
There is a difference between a voucher for the cinema or a coffee shop and a voucher for a high quality local restaurant.

Not only is this showing your staff that you want them to relax it is also supporting local businesses which is great for your company as well as the others around you.


For more inspiration head over to our port, wine & cheese hampers page.

Planning a Christmas away from home

by Stewart 7. November 2013 01:43

Christmas on holiday is an exciting thought!

Visiting the snow-dusted villages of Italy or the more temperate climates closer to the equator is fantastic during the festive season.
If you want to make your Christmas away even more relaxing then choosing gifts for those left at home is an essential part of the planning process. Here are our top tips for a Christmas away.

1. Remember those at home
Leaving the parents, grandparents and friends at home might be tough so it’s polite to leave them a small gift.

While you’re carving your way down the slopes or sunning yourself at the beach your relatives will be at home wrapping presents and cooking up a storm.

To make life easy for yourself order your presents to be sent direct to the recipient and remove the hassle of fighting through the Christmas shopping crowds when you just want to be packing!

2. Send a food hamper

If you’re leaving behind elderly parents or grandparents then it’s a great idea to send them a gourmet food basket that will arrive before Christmas day.

If you pack the basket with lots of luxury food products your elderly relative won’t have to venture out into the elements because they’ll have all the nibbles they need in front of them!

3. Relax!

Once you’ve ordered all of your gifts from the comfort of your own home you can sit back and read your travel guide or dig out the bikini you thought you wouldn’t need till next summer.

Ordering gifts online means that you can be reassured that they will arrive in time for Christmas and without any extra effort on your part.

You won’t have to do anything after you’ve placed your order so you are free to focus on other things.

You can find more fabulous gift ideas for families on our Family Christmas Hampers page.

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