We’re in the home stretch of the holiday season. You’re busy buying, decorating, wrapping, lighting candles, trimming trees, spinning dreidels, hanging stockings - pick your holiday and your tradition, you’re doing it. There’s no shortage of invites to cookie swaps and parties. You’ve managed to figure out a way to juggle all those invites while also juggling your family's food allergies. (And if you haven’t, we’ve got a good read for you here: Tis the Season.)
And yet, even with all that hustle and bustle, there’s always that moment where you realize you could use one more gift for someone’s teacher or for the neighbor that just dropped off something for you or a meet-up with friends that includes an exchange.
Take a deep breath and inhale the pine-scented air. Prepping a few mason jar gifts ahead of time can give you an easy stash of quick gift options – and better yet, you can make them allergy-friendly too!
Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa Mix
Grab a jar and layer in 1 ½ cups of coconut milk or soy milk powder. Sure, if your jar doesn’t need to avoid dairy, you could just use powdered milk, but if you’re avoiding milk, you’ve got options.
Then pour a layer of 1 ½ cups of cocoa powder, ¾ cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. For extra fun, you could add dairy-free (or otherwise) chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Use a ribbon to tie a candy cane around the neck of the bottle. Include a card for the recipient with instructions on how to use the mix: whisk together the various powdered ingredients and the chocolate chips. Add 8 cups of water and stir to blend. Heat until it’s warm and pour into mugs. Top with your marshmallow.
Sweet Scents in a Bottle
There’s nothing quite as warm and cozy as the scents of the season wafting through the house. Fill a mason jar with ½ cup of fresh cranberries, sliced orange (1 small fruit will do!), 4 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon of cloves, and a pinch of nutmeg. Tie a few extra cinnamon sticks and a dried orange slice around the jar with a ribbon. Include a note to the recipient on how to use it – add the contents of the jar to a pot with 3 cups of water and simmer over low heat. Keep an eye on the water level and add more if it’s getting too low.
Soup in a Jar
The beauty with something like a DIY soup mix in a jar is that you can customize some of the ingredients to your recipients specific needs. Allergic to wheat or avoiding gluten? You can swap out the pasta in a recipe like this one from Favorite Family Recipes for a wheat free pasta they’ll enjoy. You could also just make it easier on yourself and go with something with this recipe from Half-Scratched for 5-Bean Soup. Faithful Plate has a great soup in a jar recipe that includes a gluten-free/wheat-free swap out of barley for quinoa.
Of course, mason jar gifts don’t need to be food gifts. In fact, there are some pretty fantastic options that are totally food-free such as:
- Sewing Kit – In addition to the odds and ends that any quilter or sewing hobbyist would love, Polka Dot Chair offers instructions on how to turn the lid of this jar into a pin cushion. It’s cute and it’s useful.
- Mini-Golf – Grab a gift card to a local mini-golf course and then add it to a jar with some golf-related treats like a small pencil, a golf ball, some snacks, and any other trinkets you can think of.
- Winter Survival Kit – Have fun coming up with small items that might be welcome on long, cold, winter days. Cute gloves, packs of hand warmers, lip balm, and toasty socks to put on your feet when you get home and you’re ready to relax.
- Take Note – Fill a jar with slips of paper. Not just any paper, of course. On those slips, write encouraging messages. Write down something you appreciate or admire about the recipient. Include a few “coupons” for things you could do together – a day at the movies, an afternoon walk at a favorite local park, or a long phone call laughing about old times.