Homemade Christmas Gifts in a Jar: Food & Craft Ideas

Christmas cookies in a jar on brown table

Homemade Christmas gifts in a jar are thoughtful and cost-effective presents to give loved ones during the holiday season. Choose from various themes that can be put into a large-mouthed canning jar for holiday gift-giving.

Jarred Spices for the Seasons

A great gift to give your favorite chef is a jar of your specially blended cooking spices. Be sure to include a card with directions on using the mixes and what items best pair with the spices. You may also add a recipe card if you wish to share your recipe.

Spices in a jar

Spicy Meat Rub

Yields approximately 2 cups.

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 to the mixture by using small amounts of powdered 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 in your jar, creating pretty patterns, 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 recipe card 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 before cooking. May reapply during cooking time if greater flavor is desired.

Vegetable and Meat Spice Mix Make Holidays Merry

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, one on top of the other, or mix them together before adding them to the jar. If you decide to go with layers, include "mix well before using" in the directions you provide to your recipient.

Directions for Use

Sprinkle to taste mix over vegetables, meats, poultry, and fish when grilling, baking, sautéeing or broiling. If baking or sautéeing, 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. Jars include the dry ingredients that gift recipients would need to create a sweet masterpiece. Be sure to include recipe cards that will note wet or refrigerated ingredients needed and baking directions.

Cookies or Brownies

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

A mixture of ingredients for baking cookies in a gift jar
  • The 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 festive paper, and tying the recipe card onto it with a pretty holiday ribbon.

Hot Chocolate

Desserts don't have to be treats; drinks can fit the bill as well. A dry, hot chocolate mix will be a welcomed gift in the cold winter months. Pair the jar of mix with a fun and festive holiday mug and a batch of homemade marshmallows. This recipe will yield 20 servings:

Christmas gift box with cookie and hot chocolate mix

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

In a large bowl, mix ingredients together. Place in a 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 an 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 a saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to scald the milk.
  3. Stir in the hot chocolate mix and blend thoroughly.
  4. Remove from heat just before the 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 season's sweets and give them something delicious for dinner or to use during lunch or snack time.

Cowboy Pasta Casserole

Cowboy pasta is a fun dish that is delicious and pleasing to children, making it a total win for any parents fortunate enough to receive the meal contents in a gift jar. This recipe yields 10 servings.

Pasta in Jars

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg (1.5 ounce) brown gravy mix

  • 2 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 3 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon beef bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 1/4 cup wagon wheel pasta

Directions for Jarring

Layer the gravy mix at the bottom of the jar. Layer in the spices. Place the uncooked pasta atop of the spices and tighten the lid. Attach cooking directions to the jar or include them in a gift bag.

Directions for Use

  1. Add jar contents into a large skillet.
  2. Add 4 cups of water.
  3. Add 1 cup of chunky salsa.
  4. Add 1 can of cooked black beans.
  5. Add 1 can of canned corn.
  6. Boil contents and transfer to a lightly greased 9 x 13 -inch baking pan.
  7. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 65 - 75 minutes.

Options

  • Add browned ground beef to the dish or add more spice to the meal if preferred.
  • Sprinkle cheese onto dish cooked for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Friendship Soup

The holidays are all about love and friendship, so give loved ones what they need to create a bowl of friendship soup in their home during the winter months. This recipe will yield 16 servings.

Pumpkin soup with croutons, garnished with parsley in jar

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry split peas

  • 1/2 cup beef bouillon granules

  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup uncooked alphabet pasta

Other Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • black pepper, salt, garlic powder to taste
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes - undrained
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 quarts water

Directions for Jarring

Layer the ingredients into the jar, sans pasta. Wrap the pasta in plastic and place atop other ingredients in the jar. Tightly seal the jar with the lid.

Directions for Use

  1. Brown the meat and drain.
  2. Add meat, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and soup mix in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer contents for 45 minutes.
  4. Stir in pasta, cover pot, simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Homemade Holiday Cranberry Jelly

Homemade jellies are made for jars! Why not create a holiday Jelly for someone to use throughout the season. Be sure to pair this tasty spread with a new spreader set and a loaf of freshly baked bread. This recipe will yield 12 - 8 ounce jars of jelly.

Jar of jelly with toasts and strawberries

Ingredients

  • 2?½ quarts strawberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 (2 ounce) packages powdered fruit pectin
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 5 pounds white sugar

Directions for Use

  1. Sterilize all jars and jarring components.
  2. Combine strawberries, cranberries, pectin, and margarine in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in sugar.
  4. Continue to boil pot contents.
  5. Cook for 1 minute.
  6. Remove pot from heat source.

Jarring Directions

Fill jars with cooked mixture, leaving a half-inch of space at the top of each jar. Tightly seal jars with the lids. Place jars in a billing water bath for five minutes.

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

What a perfect snack to pull out for a winter movie night. Homemade popcorn with a sweet twist is something an entire family will enjoy eating. This recipe will yield 7-8 cups of cooked popcorn.

A jar of popcorn on gray background

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus an extra 4 teaspoons of sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions for Jarring

Place the sugar at the bottom of the jar. Place popcorn kernels atop the sugar. Seal the lid to the jar. In a small baggie, combine the cinnamon, salt, and 4 reserved teaspoons of sugar. Attach the baggies to the jar along with directions.

Directions for Use

  1. Combine popcorn, sugar, and 1/2 cup of oil in a pot with a lid over medium heat.
  2. Gently shake pot contents until the popping of the kernels ceases.
  3. Remove the pot lid and pour in the contents of the small baggie.
  4. Shake contents of the pot to combine flavors.

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

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.

Bath bombs and bottle with blue sea salt

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 a 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 a fizzing reaction.
  4. Add essential oil, one drop after another, until the scent is at the desired level.
  5. Add other Epsom salt, olive oil, vanilla extract, and mix with a spoon until thoroughly mixed.
  6. If the mixture dries out, spritz lightly so it can be packed easily.
  7. Use the 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 drying for 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
Lavender bath salt with fresh flowers in a jar

Men's Personal Care 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
    Skin care cosmetics for men

Hobby Related Gifts in a Jar

Most hobbyists appreciate new items that support their interests. Think about the person you are creating a gift for and make them something that is just for them.

Crafty Gift in a Jar

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

Pair of scissors and buttons on craft paper
  • 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 Balls and Tees in 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 an 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 votives, and extra battery-operated mini lights.
  • Give the music lover a jar that includes tickets to a concert, a book about a favorite artist, and a 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 earbuds 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.

Christmas Food Plaid label
Holly jar label

Presenting a Gift in a Jar

Collect interesting jars over 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 plan to give these types of gifts to several people. Presentation counts, so make your jar special by doing any of the following:

  • 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 the jar ring over the lid, locking in the fabric and batting. Tie ribbon around ring.
  • Cut a piece of fabric larger than the 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.

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Homemade Christmas Gifts in a Jar: Food & Craft Ideas