101 gifts in a jar (before Dec. 25)

December 17, 2007

Did the weekend snowfall put you behind on Christmas shopping?  Happily, I was able to enjoy the winter wonderland in the comfort of my own home.  Thank God for Internet shopping.  🙂  We also wrapped up quite a few homemade crafts this year, not least because of the glue gun my mother gave M. at Thanksgiving.   (Would you believe that burned-out lightbulbs, when they have ribbon glued to their socket end, make kind of cute ornaments, if I do say so myself?)

But the quintessential DIY gift is the ol’ Mason wide-mouth quart jar filled with … something.  I had to laugh when I came across this Web site, with every kind of mix from Apple Cake to White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies in a jar.   Surfing on, I learned that there are actual cookbook series built around the “in a jar” concept, and then I was no longer laughing, because I wish I’d thought of that cash cow first.  My mom, being a teacher, gets more than her fair share of these mixes, and she reports that most of them are, in fact, quite tasty.  My personal favorite is a mix of brown demerara sugar cubes and chunky white sugar cubes — anyone who drinks tea or coffee will use it.  It’s also a lot easier to let kids help get a jumble of sugar cubes into the jars than actual layers of carefully measured ingredients (unless the kids are older than mine!).

You can also do non-edibles like wax-coated pinecone fire-starters.  I’m kind of curious to do my own colored-flame pinecones, but I’m not sure introducing the chemicals will be a good idea in the long run.  (To make them, use 1/ 2 gallon of water, add the desired chemical and soak overnight, then let the pinecones dry three or four days. For yellow- green flames: 1 cup borax, for yellow flames: 1 cup salt, for violet flames: 1 cup salt substitute (potassium), for deep red flames: 1 cup boric acid.)

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