Mason Christmas gift jars

Simple Gifts in Mason Jars – great last-minute Christmas gift idea

Mason Christmas gift jars

Today I’m wondering…..do you have any last-minute gifts to give?

Perhaps you’re going to someone’s home for the holidays and need a small token of your appreciation. Maybe you are looking for just the right “something” for your child’s teacher. Or do you have some close friends or church small group members to whom you’d like to present with a little gift of love and appreciation?

Well, you’re in luck, even at the last minute, especially if you have a supply of mason or other decorative jars at your disposal. While last-minute Christmas shopping is less than appealing to most people, and DIY gifts are too time consuming at this point in the season, this simple make-it-yourself gift is an exception.

By the way, if you like jars like some of us do, I highly recommend stocking up on them when you see a good price or sale, find a great deal on Amazon (like these colored mason jars or these fun, whimsical jars), or come across nice jars from products you use and yard or other sales.

I have purchased several different colors of mason jars (mostly pints), from stores like Target and Christmas Tree Shops. I keep nice-looking jelly-jars and other interesting jars from products I buy or receive. Even dollar stores offer either mason or other interesting jars. And if your family and friends know you love and use jars, they may even offer you some they have hanging around.

If this is truly last minute and you don’t have any appropriate jars, head on over to your nearest supermarket or other local store and I’m willing to bet they will carry an assortment of canning jars for you to purchase.

In a pinch, you can also adapt some of these ideas to other cute or pretty containers you may have or find. (For example, here are some colorful, practical, plastic containers and these organza bags are nice too (and not just for a wedding, as suggested).

empty colored mason and other jars

Once you’ve assembled your gift-giving jars or containers, next you need the gift contents.

In this post, I am presenting any and all ideas I can think of that would make a nice and/or useful gift. I would choose items that you love, especially that you know would suit the one to whom you’re giving the gift, and/or items that you have purchased, received or collected for this purpose.

(I will provide several links to ideas on Amazon, but you may find suitable gift items from just about anywhere: dollar stores, online stores, supermarkets, gift stores, drug stores, big chain stores, warehouse/club stores. Ideally, you may wish to be collecting these items as you go along as well; you never know when you will see a great sale or clearance price on items that can become part of a lovely gift. You’ll stretch your precious dollars most when you can prepare in advance.)

The ideas I’m including here are simple, quick and economical. (Yes, you could fill a jar with precious jewels, money and/or a collection of gift cards if that works for you, but most of us need more affordable ideas.)

Assorted goodies to fill gift jars

Ideas for filling your gift jars:

  1. Hot cocoa mix: layered cocoa (I wrote a whole post about this last year), homemade mix (using a recipe such as this), or even store-bought cocoa mix topped with mini-marshmallows and/or crushed candy canes (crush your own or purchase pre-crushed candy canes.)
  2. Assortment of holiday and/or other tea-bags: maybe you have some at your home already or you can buy some to share
  3. Hot chocolate packets: add marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and/or candy canes to mix in
  4. Votive or tealight candles: fill up the jar with different colors and scents and perhaps some match sticks
  5. Small toiletry items, nail polishes, and/or make-up items:you can include such items as small nail files, individual eye-shadows, bath salts/bubbles, travel size shampoo or hand lotions, cute socks (rolled up)
  6. Christmas candy and/or nice chocolates: my absolute favorites are Lindor truffles; any individually wrapped candy or chocolates would be nice
  7. Combination or theme jars: combine some of the above ideas that work together (tealights, bath crystals, and a shower pouf; tea, hot cocoa packs and truffles; Christmas tea, candy and a small ornament)
  8. Homemade trail mix, granola, or snack mix: make up your own mix with dried fruits and nuts or follow a recipe idea (This Pinterest page has many interesting Christmas recipes for both trail and snack mixes, while this looks like a nice recipe for healthy, homemade granola.)
  9. Small arts and craft supplies: beads and jewelry making supplies; stickers or craft supplies for a child; small crayons and/or drawing supplies; assorted mini gel pens, small colored pencils, markers or crayons and tape or glue sticks
  10. Decorative office supplies: colorful and/or decorative paper clips, pens/markers/pencils, mini stapler and staples, small tape dispenser, shaped or designed erasers, sticky notes or flags

Hopefully this list will provide you with a starting point for designing gift jars that are fun, meaningful and low-stress gifts for friends and loved ones.

Now all you need to do is decorate your jars with ribbon, tags or labels (here are some cool chalkboard labels), or simply top with a bow and enjoy giving them away!

mason jars filled with items for quick gifts

layered cocoa gift jars 2

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Have you ever given a gift in a jar? Do you have any ideas to add to my list?

 

Layered Hot Cocoa Gift Jars

Layered Hot Cocoa Gift Jars

Just in time for next Christmas 😉

Layered Hot Cocoa Gift Jars

Work with me here, folks.

I know it’s a little late to share a Christmas gift jar idea, but I just launched my blog, it’s taking me a little bit to learn the ropes and get into the swing of it, and my head was overflowing with so many Christmas ideas that I could write about them for weeks.

But I won’t do that to you.

So if you’re a Christmas Day purist (in the sense that the day after Christmas you start taking down all the decorations, refuse to listen to one more Christmas carol, and throw out the uneaten holiday cookies)….then you’re NOT going to like this. You can stop reading right now (and whatever you do….do NOT look at all the nice photos below that may contain “Christmasy” stuff), and maybe by next year I’ll catch you again before the holidays.

However, if you’re like me, there’s still just a little bit of Christmas spirit left unexpressed that can’t quite wait for another whole year. I’ve just seen a couple of pictures on Facebook of people with a Christmas tree still up; so I’m not that bad! (OK, now that I’m finally finishing this post mid-January, even I am ready to be done with Christmas…..but bear with me.)

The best thing about this idea is that it’s not just for Christmas!

Sure, my photos will demonstrate mostly “Christmasy” looking jars, but they can be decorated for any other appropriate holiday (Valentine’s Day Hot Cocoa Gift Jars, anyone? In which case, you’re actually EARLY.)

If you need a little housewarming gift or something to take to a hostess this winter, these will fit the bill.

 

So let’s get started.

 

First, you need to assemble a collection of jars. I used pint-sized mason jars, and adjusted the amounts from this recipe

I also used an assortment of colors, including both blue and purple “vintage” colored jars for my gifts. Since the beauty of using jars for gifts is that they are reusable, I thought that some of my friends would love to receive a tinted jar.

tinted mason jars

 

For each pint jar, you will need the following ingredients:

 

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup powdered milk

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup miniature chocolate chips

¼ cup miniature marshmallows (you could also use a dehydrated marshmallow such as these)

 

Each pint gift jar makes six servings.

 

ingredients for layered cocoa jars

 

Gather up your ingredients, clear a nice, big space on your kitchen counter or table, and get layering! Start with the sugar and end with the marshmallows.

 

layering cocoa gift jars

layering cocoa gift jars 2

layering cocoa gift jars 3

layering cocoa gift jars 4

Here are some notes to make filling your jars a success:

-Use a canning jar funnel to help pour each layer into the jar.

-Be CAREFUL when adding each layer. It’s difficult to make the layers nice and even (even for a recovering perfectionist, like me), so take care and take your time, so as not to mix the layers.

-GENTLY tapping the jar and/or carefully “stirring” or smoothing the top layer with a utensil may help to even the layer you’re working on.

-Add extra marshmallows to the top of the jar to fill it completely. This will look better and more importantly, keep the ingredients from sliding around and mixing when moved.

 

filled cocoa gift jars

 

Next, decorate your jars as you wish, including tying festive ribbons around them, and possibly a doily or sticker to adorn the lid. Attach a pretty tag with these simple instructions (I simplified them from the original recipe, per my husband’s advice): Mix contents. Use ⅓ cup cocoa mix per 1 cup boiling water (or milk). Store airtight.

 

decorating layered cocoa jars

decorating layered cocoa jars 2

Here are some Christmas tags I designed for my jars that I would like to share with you. 🙂

(*stay tuned…download coming soon!)

Obviously, if you’re not giving these for Christmas, you’ll need to “de-Christmasify” (that’s a word, right?) your tags.

(*download for winter tags coming soon!)

 

making cocoa gift tags

 

You could cut and paste these paper tags onto card stock or other heavy-weight paper for your tags and hole-punch them, or simply use appropriately sized store-bought gift tags like I did. (Do NOT buy them at full price, though, PLEASE! That’s a post for another day.)

 

layered cocoa gift jars 2

Notice how some are “Christmasy” while others are just “wintry”?

 

You can really use any hot cocoa mix recipe you like or any size jar, but you’ll have to do the calculations to figure out how much of each ingredient to place in each different sized jar. You could also change up the add-ins if you like.

The hot chocolate mix recipe on this page looks like another version I may try next time. The addition of crushed candy canes looks festive and delicious.

I think my gift recipients all really liked their cocoa jars. We tried the cocoa mixture here at home and decided that it is REALLY chocolatey. That’s why I added the idea of using hot milk rather than hot water. I may try to adjust amounts a little differently next time around.

So that’s it, folks! Enjoy making and sharing these heart-warming presents with someone you love.

Have you ever made layered hot cocoa in jars, or do you have another exciting layered-in-a-jar recipe you’d like to share?

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