spread the joy with 4 diy gift ideas in a jar
Author: Simone Quenneville
Looking to give your loved ones a homemade package-free gift this holiday season? Bare Market blogger Simone has some tried and tested recipes to inspire you to gift something handmade (and low-waste) this season!
Every year it’s the same situation. When holiday season is getting into full swing, I rack my brain for gift ideas for friends and family. It can be hard to find gifts that they will enjoy and that I also would enjoy giving, while trying to keep an eco-conscious and only-buy-what-you-need mindset. The holiday period is often characterized by mindless consumption and waste, so why not be a renegade and buck that trend.
This is where homemade gifts come in. They are low-waste, can often include upcycled items and your friends and family will be thrilled to receive such a thoughtful gift.
Whether or not you’ve got a creative side, these homemade gifts are sure to please and are fun to put together too. Give it a go!
What you’ll need:
- Jars! (Use some that you already have on hand or raid your local thrift shop instead of buying new. Just be sure to sanitize them first.)
- Bulk store ingredients
- Gift wrapping to add a personal touch
1. Soup Mix
Who doesn’t love a warm hearty soup in the winter? Give the gift of comfort (and convenience) with a homemade soup mix. Get creative with your favourite combinations from the list of ingredients below!
- Dried pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, etc.
- Uncooked grains like barley, rice, quinoa, pasta, wild rice, etc.
- Spices and seasoning (onion powder, garlic powder, curry powder, paprika, dried herbs, etc.)
Directions for making soup: Add soup mix to a pot of boiling water, broth, and/or coconut milk (or other preferred liquid). Simmer until all ingredients are cooked through and enjoy. For soup mix inspiration click here!
2. Cookie Mix
Nothing says “I love you” like gifting the smell of freshly baking cookies. Make it even more special by making the cookies together! This recipe comes from My Baking Addiction and makes about 20 cookies to share with family and friends.
Layer these ingredients in a jar:
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
- ½ cup chocolate chips (white, dark, or semi-sweet)
- ½ cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts or other)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
- In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter, 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
- Add the entire jar of ingredients to the butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix all ingredients until fully incorporated. This may take a little effort, but it will come together.
- Use a medium cookie scoop (about 1 and a half tablespoons) to measure and drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Chai Tea Mix
There’s nothing like a cup of warm chai tea to sip on as you watch the snow fall outside. This gift saves anyone from having to leave the house and face the winter cold in order to enjoy a hot drink! The below recipe is from Food Retro.
- 2 cups black tea leaves (ground or whole)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons each of ground cinnamon and ginger
- 1 teaspoon each of ground cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice
Directions: Mix a tablespoon of powder into a cup of warm milk or hot water. Sip and enjoy!
4. Granola Mix
My all-time favourite granola recipe is this one adapted from Baked By Rachel. It’s super simple, delicious and makes for a great-looking gift!
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1-2 teaspoons spices of your choice (I like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
- ½ cup liquid sweetener such as maple syrup, honey, agave, etc.
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (canola oil has a nice neutral flavour)
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup nuts like almonds or pecans
- Optional: any other ingredients you enjoy in granola such as dried fruits or seeds!
- Preheat oven to 375 C. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl until evenly coated. Spread onto baking sheet while pressing down on the oat mixture.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet another 45 minutes.
- Break into pieces and package into mason jars!
I like to keep the wrapping of these items simple so that you can see the contents of the jar. Add a nice bow or ribbon and tie it around a handwritten card with the ingredients and directions (if needed). You can use upcycled pieces of paper or cardboard for the cooking instructions and upcycled pieces of fabric, ribbon or string for gift wrapping. Or go super low-waste and incorporate some winter foliage!
Your family and friends will be overjoyed to receive these homemade goodies and you will have successfully avoided creating waste and contributing to unnecessary spending and consumerism. It’s a win-win!
About the Author: Simone Quenneville is a graduate of the University of Toronto Master of Public Health program with a focus on nutrition. She is currently pursuing a career as a registered dietitian but was drawn to the Bare Market blog as a way to keep her passion for the environment and sustainability alive.