One of my fondest memories around the holidays was making special presents with my mom. Often we would make cookies, to share with our neighbors and then give them a jar with the dough mixture and special instructions for making more. In fact, I’m sharing some of the recipes from my colleagues in Kentucky, North Dakota and Iowa Extension. We used recipes similar to these when I was little. I remember making spoons with dip seasonings on a wooden spoon with a cute bow and holly. We also used jars to put together a cookie or soup recipe. We would usually present the individual with a taste treat and a little note how to prepare the next batch with their jar.
The great thing is you can do this with your children, teach them fractions and help with measuring skills, in the name of FUN! You can also help them enhance their creative skills. Decorations can be simple or elaborate depending on the amount of time you have. You are teaching them to productively use their time and sharing the great feeling of giving to others. Plus, you can include a science lesson on being a good conservationist by recycling and how you are being good to the environment. In fact, the conservation principles: reduce, reuse and recycle, can be applied to the entire gift giving process. Reducing will have the greatest impact on our environment because you are actually eliminating the purchase and use of another product. The way to do this with gifts in a jar is by reusing jars from pickles, mayonnaise and other food items. Just clean them thoroughly.
If you have limited dollars to use for gift giving, this can be a very economical option. Especially making the cute spoons for dips that the receiver would just add sour cream or mayonnaise to complete the dip. Remember when giving the gifts, take into consideration any food allergies. If you do not have the means to do gifts from the jar, perhaps a gift of your time or talent would be more appropriate than an actual product, like a coupon for mowing the lawn, raking leaves, babysitting, etc. Another option would be to share some of your favorite recipes cards, so your friends can also enjoy your favorite dishes. Other ways you can save is by reusing and recycling gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons and other packaging material.
So gifts in a jar can be a great way to have a few extra gifts under the tree for those individuals who love your cookies, candy, soup etc. It is also great for those individuals you didn’t plan for but want to give them a little something.
Special thanks to Paula Davis, UF/IFAS Bay County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and picture.
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