Homemade Christmas Gifts in a Jar

Sally Painter
jar with Christmas gift tag

Homemade Christmas gifts in a jar are thoughtful and cost-effective presents. Choose from a variety of themes that can be put into a large-mouthed canning jar for holiday gift giving.

Jarred Spice Mixes

A great gift is a jar of your specially blended cooking spices. Be sure to include a card with directions on how to use the mixes. You may also add a recipe card if you wish to share your recipe.

If you don't have a favorite recipe, use the ones below.

Spicy Meat Rub

Yields approximately 2 cups

Spices in a jar

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary powder

Add more heat using small amounts of powedered cayenne pepper, chile pepper or jalapeño peppers in 1/2 teaspoon increments until you reach your desired amount of heat.

Directions for Jarring

You can layer all the spices or you can mix them together when adding to the jar. If you choose to layer them, be sure to add "mix well before using" to the directions you provide to your recipient.

Directions for Use

Apply one to two tablespoons of dry rub per pound of meat. Rub or sprinkle onto meat prior to cooking. May reapply during cooking time if greater flavor is desired.

Vegetable and Meat Spice Mix

Yields approximately 4.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion powder
  • 2 cup paprika
  • 1 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup salt

Directions for Jarring

Layer the spices or mix them together before adding them to the jar. If you decide to go with layers, include "mix well before using" to the directions you provide to your recipient.

Directions for Use

Sprinkle to taste mix over vegetables, meats, poultry, and fish when grilling, baking, sautéing, or broiling. If baking or sautéing, use extra virgin olive oil with the mix.

Desserts in a Jar

A popular Christmas gift to give in a jar is a yummy dessert treat.

cookie mix in a jar

Cookies or Brownies

Use a special brownie and cookie mix recipes meant for jarring as gifts. Layer the dry ingredients in the jar as directed and then include:

  • List of wet ingredients to be added to the jar ingredients to create the batter
  • A recipe card with instructions for mixing and baking

Finish off the jar by screwing on the lid, covering it in paper, and tying it with ribbon or festive fabric.

Hot Chocolate

Desserts don't have to be treats - drinks can fill the bill as well. Dry hot chocolate mix will be a welcomed gift in the cold winter months.

This recipe will yield 20 servings:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups white or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions for Jarring

Hot chocolate in a jar

In a large bowl, mix ingredients together. Place in food processor and use pulse feature until mix is a fine powder consistency. The mix can be stored for three to four months if kept in airtight container.

Hot Chocolate Directions

  1. Use 1/3 to 2/3 cup of mix to eight ounces of milk or water. The rule of thumb is six ounces of mix to eight ounces of liquid. For the best taste, use four ounces of half and half and four ounces of whole milk.
  2. Stir milk/half and half in saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to scald milk.
  3. Stir in hot chocolate mix and blend thoroughly.
  4. Remove from heat just before milk comes to a boil.
  5. Serve the drink in an eight ounce mug. As desired, top with whipped cream, toppings, or stir with a flavored stick.

Special Extras

If you're serious about hot chocolate, then get creative by adding a few things to make it extra special:

If time doesn't allow mixing your own hot chocolate or cocoa mix, opt for a delicious gourmet hot chocolate blend to place in the jar. Alternatively, place several hot chocolate sticks in a jar with peppermint crunches or peppermint patties.

Other Food Gifts in a Jar

Give the recipient a break from all the sweets of the season and give them something delicious for dinner.

Pasta

Colorful and interestingly-shaped pasta is another good option to put into a jar as a gift. Also consider adding another jar containing the dry ingredients for a favorite sauce. Tie the instruction card to the jar mouth with raffia or a red ribbon and put both jars into a decorative basket with a new oven mitt.

Jams and Jellies

Christmas Jam

Jams and jellies are gifts you can make yourself and present to your friends, family members, and neighbors. Consider picking your own berries during their peak season and canning some jams or jellies so they are ready for the gift-giving season or you can buy fruits at the store and make them during the season. Use your favorite recipe or give a new recipe a try.

Salsa

Try picking up ingredients for delicious salsa while visiting neighborhood farmers' markets in the summer or an indoor one during the colder winter months. Make multiple batches of salsa in one afternoon, and store the jars in a cool, dark place. When the busy holidays arrive, all you'll have to do is add some decoration to the jars. Within minutes, you'll have a present with the fresh taste of summer to give to teachers, neighbors, and members of your book club. Write "Feliz Navidad" on the jar label for an authentic Mexican touch.

Soup

Include all dry ingredients required to make a tasty vegetable soup or another favorite. Include all dry ingredients required to make it and may give it along with a jar filled with all the ingredients for a loaf of fresh bread. Consider giving the gift of a couple of new soup bowls with the jar or tie a decorative soup spoon to the mouth of the jar with ribbon.

Personal Care Gifts

Put some personal care and beauty products in a jar to give as a gift that will allow the recipient to pamper herself and recoup from a busy day of Christmas shopping.

Bath Fizzies in a Jar

Bath Fizzie

You can style this bath favorite to a specific form using mint tray forms, small muffin trays, ice cube trays, small cups, a melon scoop or ice cream scoop. You can mix up the recipe as long as you maintain the 2:1 ratio for baking soda: citric acid. When these two ingredients are combined with water, it creates bubbles due to the chemical interaction.

The fizzies can be in a jar all by themselves or you can wrap individual fizzies with cellophane and ribbon to include in a jar with other items.

Tools

  • Form/shaper
  • Sifter
  • Metal spoon
  • Dropper (typically comes with essential oils)
  • Spray bottle

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (can use raw cane sugar)
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 to 10 drops essential oil (personal choice)
  • 4 to 6 drops vegetable food coloring, depending on saturation desired
  • Distilled water, enough to fill the spray bottle

Directions

  1. Fill spray bottle with distilled water and four to six drops of food coloring.
  2. Mix citric acid and baking soda together and sift into a glass bowl.
  3. Spritz colored water onto mixture until damp, being careful not to over-spray because it will create fizzing reaction.
  4. Add essential oil, one drop after another, until scent is at the desired level.
  5. Add other Epsom salt, olive oil, vanilla extract, and mix with spoon until thoroughly mixed.
  6. If mixture dries out, spritz lightly so it can be packed easily.
  7. Use shaper you selected and mold the mixture.
  8. Place onto waxed paper or, if using a tray form, place trays out of way.
  9. Allow to dry two to 12 hours before removing and placing in jars.

Spa in a Jar

Fill a jar with items that will allow the recipient to pamper herself. Top it off with the homemade bath fizzies in her favorite scent. Possibilities include:

  • Travel size body lotion
  • Nail clipper, file, and polish
  • Small scented candle
  • Single-use face mask
  • Hand cream
  • Luxurious travel size body wash

Men's Personal Care Jar

travel sized items for a jar

Create a jar just for the men in your life. Bath fizzies work in this jar as well - just be sure to pick a manly scent, like sandalwood, for the fizzies. Also include these types of items:

  • Small aftershave
  • Manual razor
  • Travel size deodorant
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Shoe polish
  • Nail file
  • Breath mints

Hobby Related Gifts in a Jar

Most hobbyists appreciate new items that support their interest.

Crafty Gift in a Jar

Delight your favorite crafter or child with a jar chock full of supplies to support his or her favorite craft. Consider including items such as:

  • Beads or buttons for those who make jewelry
  • Glitter
  • Strips of ribbon
  • Embellishments for a scrapbooker
  • Acid-free glue
  • Stickers
  • Craft sticks
  • Glass stones or plate chips for someone who works with stained glass or mosaics

More Hobby Gifts in a Jar

Craft items aren't the only things that fit easily in a jar. Consider any of the following ideas for making the enthusiast in your life smile:

golf accessories in a jar
  • Put an assortment of fishing lures in a jar for the fisherman in your life.
  • Add tees and golf balls to a jar for a golf enthusiast.
  • Pack a funky-shaped jar full of guitar picks in all shapes and sizes for your favorite guitarist.
  • Include some dog biscuits and a small dog toy in a jar for a dog owner.
  • Movie rental store gift certificates, popcorn, and individual bag of candy make a great gift for the cinematic lover in your life.
  • Fairy garden enthusiasts might like additional small pebbles or glass stones, LED candle voitive, and some extra battery-operated mini lights.
  • Give the music lover a jar that includes tickets to a concert, book about a favorite artist, and gift certificate to download more tunes.
  • Add a small journal, assorted luxurious pens, and a mini thesaurus to a jar for a writer.
  • Energy bars, moisture-wicking socks, and new ear buds can be put in a jar for the fitness fanatic on your list.

Free Printable Jar Labels

Use Adobe to download the free labels for your jars so your friends and family will remember what's in them and who they are from. Size them to fit your jar and securely tape them on.

Presenting a Gift in a Jar

Collect interesting jars over the course of the year, or visit your local craft store for more options. Even dollar stores often carry a selection of jars in decorative shapes. You may want to buy some jars in bulk if you are planning on giving these types of gifts to several people. Presentation counts, so make your jar special by doing any of the following:

decorative jarred gifts
  • Tie a piece of raffia or ribbon around the neck.
  • Attach a decorative bow on the lid to give it a festive look.
  • Place jar in a gift bag or Christmas stocking with related items and a card.
  • Cut fabric with serrated scissors, place cotton batting over jar lid and cover with fabric. Push jar ring over lid, locking in the fabric and batting. Tie ribbon around ring.
  • Cut piece of fabric larger than jar and cinch top with ribbon to create a cloth wrapping.

Jar Gifts for Homemade Christmas Presents

Those on your Christmas list will appreciate the time and thought you've put into your homemade gift. The jar will offer an ideal way to store until the contents are used. Be sure to make the outside look as attractive as the inside.

Homemade Christmas Gifts in a Jar