Homemade Christmas Gifts in a Jar
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.
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.
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
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.
- 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
- 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.
Orange and Spice Bath Salts
- 1 cup of Epsom salt
- 3 Tbsp. Baking soda
- 3 drops of orange essential oil
- 2-3 drops orange food coloring
- 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:
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.
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