Several years ago, in the midst of the frantic Christmas shopping and the crazy spending that goes along with it, I realized that I had really lost sight of what this holiday means to me. I decided to begin my de-commercialization of Christmas…today, we still include store-bought gifts, but we have simplified in many ways. One of the things that has become a gifting standby for me is edible gifts. Once you think outside of the box (or the Big Box, as the case may be!) there is a whole world of gift-giving that can be just as thoughtful, and often much more appreciated.
In the past, for example, I cooked a massive batch of my mom’s favorite soup, divided it among a stack of freezer containers, and transported it to her chest freezer for her enjoyment as desired. Last year, I spent a day baking cookies and homemade bread that we promptly packaged and shipped out to loved ones. This year, I wanted to try something that would not put the additional stress of quickly perishable goods on my shoulders. I also realized that people get inundated with sweets at the holidays. I love homemade baked goods, but I know I get a little tired of the endless supply of holiday cookies that call my name every night. The gift-in-a-jar concept is the perfect solution: it is still homemade, but it can be put away in a cupboard until one’s sweet tooth recovers. I found this incredibly extensive list of make-your-own mixes, did some hunting on Allrecipes, and made these two beautiful gifts in a total of about 20 minutes.
The Pumpkin Cranberry Bread (on the left) and the Pancakes in a Jar (on the right) were not only easy to put together (once I found my funnel), but they look beautiful, too. I will definitely be making more of these. If you try some, here are some helpful tips:
- Use a funnel! If you don’t have one, roll a piece of paper into a cone, tape the sides, and trim off the end.
- If making more than one jar of the same mix, do each step for all jars before moving on to the next layer (assembly line style).
- For layers that must be “packed down” (like brown sugar), bend a spoon at a 90° angle and press the layer flat.
Do you have a favorite mix-in-a-jar gift? How about other non-perishable edible gift ideas?