Gifts in a Jar; or (almost) fool-proof quick gift ideas.

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‘Tis that time of year when a wife, mother, worker bee, Santa, and blogger has to choose at least one hat to sit on the shelf, and that hat is the blogging hat.  I have some projects in the wings which will be posted all in good time (like, when I finish them and have a chance to wrote about them, but for the moment I harken back to Christmases of yore when I gave the kid’s teachers gifts in a jar. Ah yes, ye old gift in a jar.  I don’t know what fascinates me about this concept, but it’s just so clever.

S’mores in a Jar:

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Yes, that’s Mary Poppins in the background


Last year I searched and searched, and found a recipe for S’mores in a Jar.   It is basically teddy grahams, brown sugar, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows layered in a jar and later mixed with melted butter and baked in a pan.  I made a nice label to cover up the glue and paper I was unable to scrape off.

I willfully ignored the part about the size of the jar required, only to find I did not have a jar big enough to make a full pan of s’mores, so I made these ridiculous instructions to fill muffin tins (about 2 or 3) with the mixture.  In retrospect, maybe a different gift in a jar would have worked out better, especially since I didn’t get to test the recipe.  Neither of my kids were flunked out that year so I guess they went down ok.  However, I did have about 4 teachers to make gifts for and I was a little pressed for time so  . . .

Other quick gift ideas:

Relaxation in a Tin

I realized I forgot a teacher, and so I whipped up a gift in a tin, which was some Bigelow tea bags, some biscotti, and a scented candle, and of course some fancy ribbon.  I whipped it up so fast I did not take a picture.   I also made some foot scrub from sugar, olive oil, and lavender essential oil, and created a laminated label for the jar with my printer, paper, and some clear contact paper.  I also spray painted the lid of the jar — “pickle relish” and “foot scrub” do not read well together. This was truly a gift in a pinch.

Pasta Dinner on Me

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For out neighbors, I had some across some baskets at Michaels that were 50% off.  I bought a jar of pasta sauce, a box of pasta, and included some of the biscotti tied with twine.  If I was sure if they drank wine I would have included a bottle of wine.  I packed this all in the basket and added a card saying dinner on us as a way of thanking them for all the dinners they provided us when my husband was sick and in the hospital.  They are such great neighbors.  I meant to include our recipe for Pasta Bake, which is a deconstructed lasagna in a casserole dish:

  • layer of cooked pasta (any kind — rotini, penne, farfalle)
  • layer of ricotta or cottage cheese
  • sprinkle of mozzarella or monterey jack
  • layer of meat sauce (we use ground turkey in vodka sauce)
  • a little more cheese on top
  • bake in the oven at about 375 till heated through and cheese is melted.

Bam — dinner to feed the masses or enough to freeze for later.

I of course forgot to do this but this is what the instructions would have looked like:

pasta bake recipe

So these are just a few different ideas I used last year for those gifts for the people you appreciate in life but never get a chance to say thanks for all you do for my kids, or for the helping hand you gave us this past year.  You’re a fool if you go with the old fruitcake stand-by.