Gifts-in-a-Jar: Easy & Personal Presents Kids Can Make

By April Schweitzer

Gifts-in-a-jar are a great way to combine a child's love of scooping and pouring with a little creative flair to make a homemade gift for practically anyone on your list. It's like sandbox play in the kitchen!

Start with a 1 qt. mason jar. These can be found at craft stores or with canning supplies at the grocery store.

Now fill your jar with small gifts or the ingredients for a favorite recipe. Depending on what you decide to give, you may need to use measuring cups, spoons or a funnel to fill your jars.

If you choose to use a favorite recipe as a gift, make sure your recipe contains a total of roughly four cups of dry ingredients (the size of a mason jar). Layer the dry ingredients into the jar, varying colors and textures from layer to layer to create an interesting pattern just like sand art. Include a list of necessary wet ingredients and directions printed on a card that your child can decorate. Drink, dip, flavored rice, soup and dog treat mixes are variations that make great gifts. Check out for great recipes or try the following recipe for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies.

Layer favorite candies into a jar in a rainbow of yummy colors, or fill a jar with your favorite trail mix.

Jars don't need to be just for yummy goodies. Think creatively about inedible contents that would make great gifts: colorful layers of plastic fishing worms, beads in the recipient's favorite color, or any small supplies for a hobby that can be decoratively arranged. Fill a jar with bath salts, bath beads, potpourri or notes of love and encouragement.

To finish your gift-in-a-jar, slip a circle of fabric between the two parts of the mason jar lid. Or tie the lid with a ribbon and accessorize - add a cookie cutter, candy cane, or another small treat that coordinates with the contents.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Mix

1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
3 1.55 ounce bars white chocolate, chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. Layer ingredients in order given in a quart sized wide mouth canning jar. Press each layer down firmly in place. Add the flour mixture last.

Attach these directions to jar:

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Empty cookie mix into large mixing bowl. Use you hands to thoroughly blend mix. Add: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened at room temperature. DO NOT USE DIET MARGARINE. Add in 1 egg slightly beaten and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix until completely blended. You will need to finish mixing with your hands. It will take a while to mix into a smooth dough. Shape into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart on sprayed cookie sheets. Bake at 375F for 12 to 14 minutes until tops are very lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to racks to finish cooling. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

April is a teacher, mother and journalist who has recently relocated from Charlottesville where she was a staff reporter for the Observer.

The Charlottesville Welcome Book celebrates the sights and sounds of Jefferson's Virginia and provides visitors, newcomers and locals with information about dining, places to stay, art gallery openings, museums & attractions, exhibits, theatre, concerts, brewery and vineyards events. Engaging short stories about the local antiques scene, shopping, history, attractions and more make this popular online and print publication a must-read. The Charlottesville Welcome Book is the quarterly sister publication of AlbemarleFamily so you can count on the quality that you've come to trust. Follow this link to the website and digital edition.

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