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Homemade Christmas Gifts in a Jar

Updated on February 3, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Whether you need a gift for a teacher or to send to friends in another part of the country, homemade Christmas gifts in a jar are the perfect solution. They are generally inexpensive, and yet can be done in imaginative ways so that they look very special. Most can be put together for five dollars or less, depending on the cost of the jars.

Tips for Filling Jars

  • It is important to push down each layer of ingredients so that they will all fight in the jar properly. This will also help with the presentation, giving you even layers of ingredients.
  • Try to keep varying the colors in each layer. For example follow a layer of flour with a layer of brown sugar and then white sugar rather than putting the white flour and white sugar layers together.
  • In general the ingredients with smaller particles like flour or sugar should be beneath the ingredients with larger pieces like chocolate chips or raisins.
  • Arranging the materials in the jar will be much easier if you use wide mouth jars.

A Variety of Types

There are a couple of different types of homemade Christmas gifts in a jar. While many people think of bread, cookie, or cake mixes as being the only types of gifts to put in jars nothing could be further from the truth. There are also bath salts, soup mixes, blessing jars and journaling jars. In fact, there are many things that fit into this gift category.

Image via Goodhousekeeping.com
Image via Goodhousekeeping.com

Journal in a Jar

If you know an aspiring writer, whether young or young at heart, a journal in a jar might be just the gift you are looking for. You print up strips of colorful papers with journal prompts on them. Fill up a jar with them and put it in a basket along with some gel pens, an ink pen, and a blank journal.

When you are creating the writing prompts make them pretty using different fonts, colored inks, and small clip art images.

Some ideas for prompts are:

  • What was your favorite summertime treat as a child?
  • Which adult impacted your life the most as a child? Why?
  • Is there a particular rainy day that you remember?
  • What was your favorite ice cream flavor as a child? Is it the same now?
  • Describe a special Christmas memory.
  • If you could spend a birthday anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
  • What was your favorite book as a child?
  • Which fictional character do you identify with the most?
  • If you were going to win a Nobel Prize what would it be for?

Child's Journal Jar

You can do much the same in creating a journal jar for children. Make the journal prompts more specific to the age of the child. For example:

  • You have created a new bubble gum. It gives the chewer the magic power of_____
  • Was there a time you felt alone? Describe it.
  • You have been given an island. What will you call it and what will you do there?
  • Write new words to the song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The prompts need not be elaborate, just something to get the imagination moving. You should plan to make about 250 to 300 prompts, or make 365 - one for every day of the year.

Blessing Jar

A blessing jar is done in much the same way as a writing prompt jar.  You can use favorite scripture verses and references, one for every day of the year (365).  The recipient will pull one out to meditate on each morning.  These can be randomly chosen from the Bible or you can have a theme, such as:

  • Promises for Moms
  • Promises for Believers
  • Provision
  • Security
  • Healing

M & M's Cookies in a Jar

Cookies in a jar are easy to do. Almost any cookie mix will work, just adjust the recipe. For example, the M&M's recipe could be changed easily to a chocolate chip recipe by substituting chocolate chips for M&M's and adding a layer of nuts. Just remember that a quart Mason jar will hold about 4 cups.

You'll Need:

  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ¾ cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups M&M's
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

What to Do:

Mix the salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour. Pack firmly in the bottom of the jar. Add the brown sugar and pack down firmly. Add the white sugar. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the sugar layer and push down firmly. Allow the plastic to extend up the side of the jar a little. Now put the M&M's in the jar and put the cover on. You can cover the metal cover with a round cut from pretty cotton fabric if you like.

Don't Forget the Tag

Attach the following instructions:

1. Remove M&M's carefully from jar and set aside.

2. Empty jar of remaining cookie mix into a bowl.

3. Add 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, 1 beaten egg and 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla.

4. Mix until blended.

5. Stir in M&M's.

6. Roll into 1-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake at 375 degrees about 12 to 14 minutes. Do not overcook.

8. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.

9. Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Dried Bean Soup Mix

Almost any dry soup ingredients will work as a jar mix. Try to layer the ingredients in an interesting and appealing way.

Add ½ cup of each of the following, in the order given, to a quart Mason jar:

  • Split green peas
  • Red lentils
  • Split yellow peas
  • Small red beans
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans

SEASONING MIX:

  • 1 tablespoon dried sweet pepper flakes
  • 2 squares chicken bouillon cubes, unwrapped
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar

Place seasoning mix in a small, snack sized zip-loc bag. Lay on top of the soup mix before putting the cover on.

Instructions (Print up and attach to the jar)

SEASONED BEAN SOUP Dried Bean Mix 2 cans stewed tomatoes Seasoning Mix ( 1/4 cup ) Rinse beans and place in a large stock pot. Cover with water and allow to soak overnight.

Next day, drain the beans and rinse. Return to the pot and add water to cover. Place pan lid on top and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. Add tomatoes and seasoning mix. Cover and simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until beans are tender.

10 cups

Orange and Spice Bath Salts

Part 1 

  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • 3 Tbsp. Baking soda
  • 3 drops of orange essential oil
  • 2-3 drops orange food coloring

Part 2 

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 3 Tbs Baking soda
  • 3 Drops Clove essential oil

Mix the first four ingredients in one jar, cover and allow to sand overnight. Mix the next three ingredients in a jar, cover, and allow to stand overnight. 

The next day place one layer of the orange scented salts on the bottom of the jar.  Follow with a layer of the clove scented salts.  Repeat layers.

Add a printed tag with these instructions:

Place a handful of the salts under warm, running water.

If you prefer, buy a small scoop to attach to the jar and use the word scoop in place of handful.

Dog Biscuits Mix

If you have an animal lover on your list this makes a great gift.

  • 1 dog biscuit cookie cutter
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt

Layer the ingredients in the jar in the order given. Close jar and tie cookie cutter on the outside with raffia. Type and print the following instructions and attach to the jar:

Dog Biscuits

Pour ingredients in jar into a bowl. Add 1 egg, ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup parmesan, ½ cup hot beef broth or hot water. Knead well until the dough is heavy but not sticky. You may need to add a bit more flour.

Knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is very elastic. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Roll ½ inch thick and cut with cutter. Bake for 1 ½ hours. Cool completely.

Presentation

Giving homemade Christmas gifts in a jar is all about the presentation. Use your computer and printer to come up with cute labels and instruction tags.  This will give a finished look to your gift.  Also tie ribbon or raffia around the jar.  Make it pretty and it will be appreciated, and remembered for years to come

Comments

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  • Novel Treasure profile image

    Novel Treasure 4 years ago from US

    It reminds me of those olive oil decorating jars that were so popular a few years ago, only these are actually edible. I always enjoy your hubs.

  • daisydayz profile image

    Chantele Cross-Jones 5 years ago from Cardiff

    the cookie mix sounds perfect for the kids in the family! Thanks

  • Gail Meyers profile image

    Gail Meyers 5 years ago from United States

    Great hub with cute gift giving ideas!

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

    Really great gift giving ideas for all occasions!

  • profile image

    Jeff_McRitchie 5 years ago

    This is an excellent Hub. People always love receiving food, especially if it's presented nicely. Voted up!

  • CyclingFitness profile image

    Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

    Great hub. I've found that by saving coffee jars throughout the year it provides a saving on having to buy jars instead of the need to purchase

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

    Hi, This is a great Hub with some good ideas. May I link this Hub into the one I am doing on making cake in a Mason Jar to send to troops overseas? Many thanks.

  • pharmacist profile image

    Jason Poquette 5 years ago from Whitinsville, MA

    Great ideas...will think about these with Christmas just around the corner! Excellent hub!

  • profile image

    maddie 5 years ago

    thanks this gave me great inspriration to create more gift in a jars!

  • profile image

    Miketysen 6 years ago

    As I reflect upon this awkward Christmas morning it remains very meaningful to me. In addition to adopting this prayer of thanksgiving; I would also like to incorporate the Christmas story scripture reading. I'm very glad you shared this tradition. For some reason it never occurred to me. Guess, I'll need to move Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph from my open Bible display.

    Hoping this Christmas will be a great memory and the beginning of a new tradition for our family.

    I love the Christmas Blessings Mix idea friendship sms messages...better get busy!

  • Dana Hinders profile image

    Dana Hinders 6 years ago

    These are great tips! I just wrote a hub about journal jars and am planning to make some of the cookie jar mixes for Christmas gifts.

  • profile image

    Chelsea Christmas Parties 6 years ago

    This is such a great idea. My husbands mother and grandmother would love this and it is something our daughter could help with. Thanks for the fab idea!

  • profile image

    Bill Russo 6 years ago

    In paragraph two, what do you mean by "Fight in the jar". I guess you meant fit. Typo?

    Probably nobody will even notice. I was a proofreader and later an editor so they just pop out at me. You can fix it and just delete my comment. I do not mind.

    Anyway I love the hub and I made a jar gift.

  • Kaye McCulloch profile image

    Kaye McCulloch 6 years ago from Australia

    What a great idea, thanks!

  • profile image

    mom of one 6 years ago

    I found your website very helpful, I also think people shouldn't be rude if this site doesn't have what you are looking for just continue your search.

  • profile image

    kdhafjsdhfjshf;hk 6 years ago

    this is a dumb website

  • Marye Audet profile image
    Author

    Marye Audet 6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

    I would say 3 months or so.

  • Marye Audet profile image
    Author

    Marye Audet 6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

    I would say 3 months or so.

  • profile image

    Lin 6 years ago

    How long does a jar gift last in the cupboard

  • profile image

    selena 6 years ago

    thanks but i am a 9 year old and i cant make them alone i wanted to make it for my mom but thanks anyways

  • FirstStepsFitness profile image

    FirstStepsFitness 6 years ago

    Great Hub love your ideas ! Christmas is quietly coming again lol

  • heart4theword profile image

    heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

    I've gotten some of these jars as gifts, they were great!

    Also there was a time in our lives, we canned apple pie filling, and gave these as Christmas presents. People loved them, all they had to do is make the crust and throw in the pie:) Thanks for sharing the recipes in the jar!

  • janddplus4 profile image

    janddplus4 7 years ago

    Wow! You just cut my Christmas shopping budget in half! And these will make better gifts than I could have ever afforded to buy, anyway! Thanks!

  • awesomeness79 profile image

    awesomeness79 8 years ago from UK

    What a great hub! I had a similar thing to the journal jar as a wedding present and I loved it!

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

    I can't wait to put one of the soup jars together. They are so beautiful so really make a wonderful gift.

  • profile image

    jenny008 8 years ago

    great idea you should see if you can copywrite it

  • jennrose profile image

    jennrose 8 years ago from Texas

    Interesting and creative ideas. I've never seen Christmas gift suggestions like these before. Very cool!

  • shanel profile image

    shanel 8 years ago from Seattle

    Woow! Nice ideas! I will try some. I love bisquits! yuuuumi

  • poorQpine profile image

    poorQpine 8 years ago from USA

    This is always perfect, food for a gift....Yummy for a round tummy.

  • JJC13 profile image

    JJC13 8 years ago from Liverpool

    A gift is a gift and it's the thought that counts. With the global financial crisis that we have, any practical gift will surely come in handy.

  • Dottie1 profile image

    Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

    I love these ideas. Never heard of the blessing jar. That is different and I love it too.

  • tinacarla profile image

    tinacarla 8 years ago from USA

    This is such an amazing idea!

  • shawna.wilson profile image

    shawna.wilson 8 years ago from Arizona

    I love these ideas...great for neighbor gifts. Can't wait to make some. Thanks!

  • RainbowRecognizer profile image

    RainbowRecognizer 8 years ago from Midwest

    These are awesome, Mary, thank you! I always love jar gifts at Christmas - they bring such a warm feeling :o).

  • Chef Jeff profile image

    Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

    Excellent ideas! I just love hand-home-made gifts over store bought. So much more personal & fun to make!

    Cheers!

    Chef Jeff T.

  • Belinda Hodge profile image

    Belinda Hodge 8 years ago from Brisbane Australia

    What a great idea! Thanks for putting this up. I've never seen anything like these before. Very creative!