Gifts In A Jar | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Gifts In A Jar

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gifts In A Jar

Do you ever struggle to find the perfect gift for someone?  Ever have a "hard-to-buy-for" person you need to give a gift to?  Or that person who has everything?  It can be overwhelming coming up with new and creative gift ideas.

These gifts in a jar are the perfect solution!  {Check out the link at the end of this post for a Christmas version too!}

I've mentioned previously that we give a lot of gifts. Most of the presents we give are store-bought, but for teachers we usually make jars with cookie mix, so we know we are giving something unique and appreciated.  Teachers get a lot of gifts and, let's face it, many of them are repetitive (how many "#1 Teacher mugs" does a teacher really need?!).   We've also given these to grandparents for Mother's Day or Father's Day or for hostess gifts and Christmas gifts. 

We have a few books with recipes:

I'm sure there are lots on the internet too but we were given these books so we use them (you can find them here and here).  If you're not familiar with the concept, all the dry ingredients for a recipe go in a jar, with a tag telling the recipient what wet ingredients to add and how to bake these yummy treats.  There are books for muffins, squares, and even dinners!  We usually stick with cookies since they are universally loved!

These jar gifts are REALLY easy to make, which is one of the reasons we love doing them.  The kids can help measure, pour, and push ingredients down, as well as decorate the jars afterwards. 

Here are the steps we take:

1.  Choose recipes for each teacher.  This time we made two jars with Wholesome Peanut Butter Cookies, 1 jar with Ginger Rounds, and 1 jar with S'mores Squares.  We have 4 teachers we're making them for this year (my daughter has 3 teachers for kindergarten and my son has one for grade 2).

2.  Buy mason jars (we bought extras when we purchased jars for storing our leftover paint but we also had a few assorted shaped ones so we're using up a few of them this time).

Note:  Make sure you use the right size jars for the recipe you've chosen.  There is a real variety of sizes and shapes of Mason jars out there.  We actually had to change that small one for a larger one because when we started putting ingredients in we realized it wasn't big enough.  Good thing I bought extras!

3.  Gather all the ingredients for the recipe(s) you've chosen.

4.  Measure the ingredients and put them into the mason jars in layers.  Sometimes you need to pack them in tightly (especially brown sugar).  We use an ice cream scoop because it's not as pointy as a spoon when it's inside the jar. 

Here's the Wholesome Peanut Butter Cookies recipe in a jar.  You can see the layers of ingredients.

Note:  Sometimes the recipe says to mix all the dry ingredients together first and then pour them into the jar (it seems to happen mainly when the ingredients aren't very colourful or textured so then it looks nicer to just have them all pre-mixed). 
Here is the S'mores Squares jar.  You can see the layers of graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.  Mmmm...

5.  Screw the lid on top of the jar and decorate it if you'd like.  We sometimes use tissue paper or coloured cello wrap.  This time we used pieces of material.  Aren't these animal prints cute?!

I used an elastic to help hold the fabric in the centre of the lid while I tied the ribbon in place.  Not pretty but it works.  

Once the ribbon was tied tightly I removed the elastic.

6.  Attach a card with the directions so the person who receives this gift in a jar can make the yummy recipe.  The books we bought have several tags for each recipe but whenever we use the last one we make sure we copy it so we can have it available in the future.  You could also copy them on cardstock or print them up yourself.

The backside of the cards is blank so you can write a note to the recipient if you'd like.  We usually wrap these jars in a gift bag and include a card so we don't usually write on the tags.  My daugher put stickers on hers instead :)

7.  Give the gifts in a jar to the teacher and enjoy their appreciation for a thoughtful and unique gift!  We have never had anything but positive comments from our kids' teachers.  Everyone can use these gifts because everyone enjoys homemade cookies or muffins!  And even if the person doesn't enjoy baking very much, these are so simple to make that anyone can make them :)

That's it!  A great gift in a jar.

My hubby has always made these with our kids (my daughter especially looks forward to it - she loves to bake!).  And they love giving them to their teachers and seeing their smiles.

If you're looking for Christmas gift jars, click this picture!

Knowing we always give these gifts in a jar to our kids' teachers takes away the stress of figuring out what to give or make each Christmas and June.  It's simple and organized, just the way I like things!

Have you ever made gifts in a jar?  What gifts do you give to teachers?  If you are a teacher, what's the best (or worst!) gift you ever received?

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!