When I asked my readers for any frugal tips for holiday gift giving, Loni replied with, "2 words - jar gifts!" :) I, personally, haven't made jar gifts in the past and asked Loni for some recipes. Here's what she said:
I just started doing jar gifts last year, so I don't have a ton of recipes yet, but the ones I have used so far are hot cocoa and this year will be sugar scrub (and maybe more hot cocoa- it was good). The recipe I used for hot cocoa made a huge batch- I just made it in a big bowl and then poured it in however many jars I needed (and kept the rest for us at home)!
10 cups dry milk powder
6 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
Just mix these ingredients together, though I recommend putting the dry milk through the food processor to make the granules finer (it won't make much difference in taste, but if you don't, the cocoa in the jar could have larger white chunks in it). You can also layer chocolate chips, mini mashmallows, crushed peppermints or whatever on top!
For decorating, make sure you put a label on it with instructions for making the cocoa: "For 1 serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve." I just printed instructions with some clip art pictures on a piece of computer paper, cut them apart and put them on with clear packing tape. Then, I used pinking shears to cut out a circle of holiday fabric, and used a rubber band to put that over top of the lid. I, then, put a piece of thin ribbon over the rubberband so it looked a bit nicer, but not necessary! Other ideas include fixing 1 or 2 candy canes or a chocolate-coated spoon to the jar to stir it.
For a sugar scrub , all you really need is sugar and an oil. I take a baby food jar and fill it most of the way with white sugar, then I add in coconut oil - keep adding it and letting it travel down through the sugar until all of the sugar is moist. If you're impatient, you can stir it up as you put the oil in. You can add extracts (vanilla, peppermint) or essential oils (like lavendar) to make it smell nice, but coconut oil will have a mild, slightly coconut smell by itself that's rather pleasant to me.
The sugar will help exfoliate the skin and the oil will moisturize- just scoop some out and use on hands, face, or feet to make it feel silky smooth. You'll want to massage it on and maybe let it set a couple minutes, then rinse off. Decorating ideas are the same as above. You can also do the person's name on the jar (i.e. "Kelly's Sugar Scrub") to personalize it to them. There are tons of recipes online for sugar scrubs and you can make it as complicated as you want, but that's all you need (and you can use other oils if you can't use or don't have coconut oil).
Thank you, Loni! I may just need to try a couple jar gifts this year! Has anyone else made jar gifts? I'd love to hear your "recipes" and ideas, too!
To submit a frugal tip for Christmas gift giving, food prep, or decorating, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your tip here! I will be featuring (and using) these frugal tips for the holidays as they draw near!