What is a Hamper Party?
The Christmas Hamper Party is an event we started in Toronto in 1995. It’s basically a festive open house during which we create beautiful Christmas hampers from the menu items (listed here) which each of you brings. As part of the party we decorate everything to create real Christmas gift hampers—not just utilitarian hand-outs. At the end of the party, the Salvation Army will collect the hampers for delivery to needy families. The families that receive our hampers will get all the healthy, fresh ingredients they need to cook a traditional Christmas turkey dinner in the privacy of their own homes, with enough to share with their friends and loved ones.
We start at 1 pm. People drop by throughout the afternoon to deliver the menu items they’ve agreed beforehand to bring, from non-perishable food items to turkeys to fresh produce to ribbons and bows to decorate the hampers. Light refreshments and live entertainment are provided throughout the afternoon for volunteers. At 6 pm the Salvation Army comes to pick up our filled hampers for delivery to needy families.
People can either drop off some goodies, hang out and visit for an hour, or work like crazy till everything’s packaged up. All contributions are welcome—from a frozen turkey to a can of cranberry sauce—and collectively it really adds up. Cash donations are also a godsend, enabling us to send out “runners” at the end of the day to buy any items the hampers still need.
Every year since 2010, we’ve together created 130-180 bulging hampers, complete with turkeys! We know that the Salvation Army has come to rely on our donation, 10% of their hamper total; each year we try to break last year’s record so that no family requesting a hamper will be turned away.