Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (Oh my gosh can you believe Christmas is less than four weeks away?) I can publicly admit that I have already decorated for Christmas.  My kids are especially excited to get the big holiday started so we have begun planning our lists of gifts we plan to give.  Now, being cheap I hate to spend money, besides homemade gifts are always the best in my opinion.  Which is great because that list of people who deserve gifts is always growing.  We have a few standby gifts that my kids help me with that are fun to give (and frankly fun to make and receive and partake in while making them). 

Jar gifts are always a big hit.  Some of our favorites include cookies. Simply gather up all the dry ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe and layer them into a mason jar.  I like to have my kids help measure the ingredients and pour them in the jars so they feel like they are really a part of the gift giving process.  Attach a tag with instructions on how to finish of the recipe (don’t forget to include cooking times!) and you’re done.  My kids always decorate the tags and write the name of the recipe on top.  We also do hot chocolate in jars.  Layer hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, and some candies and voila!    Our newest favorite jar gift has been cake in a jar.  All you need is to make a cake, grab (or make) some frosting.  Let the kids smoosh up the cake so it’s mostly bite size pieces.  Alternate layering cake and frosting into a small mason jar.  It’s pretty, it is tasty, it’s done!

On our list this year are Oreo Lolly pops.  These are super easy.  You’ll need Oreos, lolly pop sticks, dipping chocolate, lollypop bags, and wax paper.  It’s super easy, open up your Oreos, stick the end of a stick into some melted dipping chocolate then put it on one side of the opened Oreos.  Grab the other half of the Oreo and close it up.  After I’ve done the whole package of cookies we refrigerate  them so that the chocolate has a chance to harden and seal the cookie together.  Next you’ll dip each sucker into the chocolate covering the whole thing and set it on the wax paper to dry.  Then let your kids use sprinkles to decorate.  Once the chocolate has completely hardened stick them into a lollypop bag and you’re done. 

I hope you can use some of these ideas to get into the gift giving spirit, and even better, to get your kids into the joy of giving a gift!  Watch their faces when someone they love opens a gift they made.  It’s priceless!

-Stephanie Wright

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