I don’t know about you, but I’ve had more than my share of Christmas seasons where I could barely scrape together enough money for a holiday dinner (no matter how few people I was feeding) and had to become very creative at providing gifts. As I put on my thinking cap, I came up with some fairly inexpensive ways to make gifts and in the end, discovered that these gifts were some of the most treasured.
I know that a lot of people today are trying to opt out of excessive consumerism and hyper-inflated spending and I hope to get your creative juices flowing with the ideas I’m sharing here. I will do several articles covering different avenues of homemade gifts that are great for giving – it will just be up to you to decide who the worthy recipient will be.
For the mix:
- 1 c. powdered coffee creamer
- 2/3 c. milk chocolate chips
- 1- 1/3 c. sifted powdered sugar
- 1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2/3 c. powdered milk
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl; stir till the mixture is well blended. Ladle the mix into half-pint canning jars. Decorate and attach a gift tag with directions for preparing the Hot Chocolate. I like to take cotton balls and glue them to the lid, cover them with scrap material to give the top a puffy look. You can either glue the material on or tie it with raffia, ribbon, or whatever you might have on hand. I usually prefer to use card stock for the directions but something neat to use is old Christmas cards. You get the Christmas scene on the back of the directions and it’s also sturdy enough to stand up to handling. Here are the directions to include with your mix:
Place 2 tablespoons of Hot Chocolate Mix in a mug. Pour 8 ounces of boiling water over mixture. Stir until mix is completely dissolved. Garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or unsweetened cocoa powder.
To individualize these a little more, here’s one more tip. If you’re making these for children, you can put the mix in a pint canning jar and include a baggie of marshmallows with the mix – include coloured ones for a little more fun. You could also include Christmas cookies with the mix.
For adults, tie a small bottle of Bailey’s, Creme de Menthe or whatever you might fancy in your adult hot chocolate. Voila – gifts for pennies!
For the mix:
- 1½ c. orange breakfast drink (like Tang)
- ¾ c. iced tea mix
- 1½ c. white sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
Stir together all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into a pint or quart jar (a funnel would be useful for this but isn’t necessary), screw top on securely. Decorate the lid however you like and add a decorative bow. Include the printed directions and this would be fun to tie some cinnamon sticks on with some ribbon. Here are the directions to include with the mix:
Place 3 tsp. tea mix in a cup. Pour boiling water over mix and stir. Garnish with a twist of orange or lemon peel and a cinnamon stick, if desired. Serve hot.
If you feel that you don’t have a creative bone in your body, use the tools at hand to find ideas – the Internet, the library or your friends. Get together with your friends and make some gifts to share and you’ll have a lot more fun doing it. Use pinking shears to cut the cards for your directions, glue ribbon or lace to the cards, the lids or even the jars. Both of these recipes would be appreciated by anyone who likes to settle down with a warm cup on a chilly evening.
Do you have other ideas for these types of mixes in jars? I’d love to hear your ideas.
This post is from Mary Cunningham.