Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homemade Holiday Gifts in a Jar

I was inspired by one of my friends telling me that she was going to make all of her Christmas gifts this year. In the past I've done all-used Christmas gifts. One year I did a lot of knitted gifts, but I think I still bought some stuff.

Since making the big lifestyle change where my family of four is living on one part-time income, buying gifts just really isn't in the budget. Having anticipated this (and because my local recycling doesn't take glass), I'd been saving jars and lids for the past month.

In looking at jar mixes, I was very inspired by this recipe. I chose not to make cookie mixes because I didn't think it would be very cost effective. Even though when I make cookies I never buy chocolate chips. Instead, I buy a family size dark chocolate bar and chop it up.This makes chocolate chip cookies MUCH cheaper, but still not cheap enough for me to mass produce.

I was over at a friends house and her kids asked for hot chocolate. She replied that they were out. I promptly informed her that I could whip up some mix for her in no time with only three ingredients. I remembered this story and wondered, "Who doesn't like hot chocolate?" Thus, our Christmas present of choice this year!

We started by removing the labels from the jars with alcohol.

This is proof of my husband's love for jam!
 Then I let the kids paint the jars, personalizing each one.

The kids painted names and holiday scenes on the jars.

Then we filled them with ingredients

A piece of clean paper serves as our funnel

We made two versions:


2/3 cup powdered rice milk
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
1 cup powered sugar


1 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup powdered cocoa
1/2 cup powdered sugar

The Snowman is my favorite

Finished products

Next year, we'll probably branch out to other jar mixes. I found recipes for spa scrubs which seemed pretty easy. I also think I'll give the kids more guidance in the decoration department. Rather than just letting them paint anything they like, I think I'll have them cut out and glue on shapes to make an agreed upon snowman or holiday scene.

Other homemade gifts I'm giving this year are homemade laundry soap and knitted items as well as a couple of used and re-purposed items. Who else is taking a cheaper approach to gift giving this year?


  1. We have a tendency to shop for xmas gifts all year long as we thrift store shop and yard sale. We don't give a lot of gifts. We have one couple of old friends that we exchange gifts with. This year they're getting: an old but unused book of crossword puzzles that I pickup up somewhere for probably less than a buck, a funny book I found on line for $4.00 including shipping, a pair of beautiful vintage pale green champagne glasses I found at a yard sale for less than a buck (she collects green glass) a little ceramic turtle from a box of Rose tea (these are giveaways when you buy the tea, I found it at a yard sale for a quarter) (she also collect turtles) And various other books we knew they'd like on subjects like banana slugs and the proliferation of unnecessary quotation marks, a book about bungalows (she likes architecture) that we either picked up at the library book sale for a dollar or 2 each or got at our local used book store using our in store credit for books we had brought in to trade. They'll also get homemade toffee and caramel corn. Since this shopping is spread out throughout the year it doesn't tax our budget.

  2. Forgot to mention: I gave each of my 4 nieces a cross stitch book mark I made myself. 2 had nice pictures with flowers and such and 2 had sayings: "Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend, inside of a dog it's too dark to read" (this one has a dog and a silhouette of Groucho's head since it's his saying) and "the smallest feline is a masterpeice" with a picture of a cat, this is a saying by Leonardo da Vinci. These last 2 went to the dog and cat lover's in the group.
    I'm enjoying your blog, kind of reminds me of the Tightwad Gazette.

  3. Great ideas, Mary! It truly is the thought that counts most. I enjoy a gift when I can tell the person thought about me and who I am when buying it or making it. It sounds like you do a wonderful job at that! Love that Groucho quote!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
blog comments powered by Disqus