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 nikibone.com/recipes/jargifts 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.

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