Group gift exchanges can be a lot of fun but the criteria is almost always the same. They usually say you must fit into a price window. Period. It’s boring and usually results in boring gifts. This year you can liven it up and organize a gift exchange that is fun and a bit more challenging. I guarantee the opening of gifts will be of a lot more interest than in previous years. When you put a little of yourself into the choosing, it makes it much more fun and lively exchange!
I participated in a gift exchange where everyone had to bring a gift that was a Mason jar. It was quite a challenge, but the gifts were inexpensive as they were mostly homemade. Most can be made weeks ahead. It was a stress free gift exchange that did not empty the pocketbook. A win/win! Here are a few ideas:
Repurposing a Mason jar into something new
Crafty people and non crafty alike can easily make trendy lotion dispensers, splash proof drinking glasses and candle holders.
For a lotion dispenser you can drill a hole into the top of a screw top lid and insert a pump dispenser and seal. You can paint or decorate the lid or leave it plain for a great country look! Fill it with your favorite lotion and it’s nicer for display. The jar is much more attractive on the shelf than plastic bottles with garish colors and printed matter designed to catch your eye on the store shelf.
You can the outside of a jar with large confetti pieces of multi color tissues to make a lovely candle holder. I used a craft glue to layer several layers of tissue in assorted colors on the outside of the jar. It created a stained glass effect for pennies. You can use a tea light candle, as there is glass between the flame and the tissue but I purchased several little artificial flames at a quarter apiece to make a flickering effect at different levels inside the jar. A wide ribbon around the top with dangling streamers using beads or bells at the end of each streamer can fancy it up.
A very easy way to make an simple Mason jar a gift is making it into a wine glass. With a dab of silicone glue and a single candlestick you can turn a Mason jar into a Hillbilly wine glass! At the last minute include a small bunch of fresh grapes inside the jar before wrapping for extra fun!
Filling Mason jars with Homemade Goodies
Another great way to participate in a Mason jar gift exchange is to fill the Mason jars with delicious homemade recipes. To decorate and seal the top of the jar, just cut a large 10 inch circle of fabric and tie it over the jar lid with ribbon, cording or twine. You can use holiday fabric or a country print. No hemming needed. It will be cute in the kitchen until it’s ready to use.
To make it special use your own homemade ingredients that offer something special without preservatives or artificial flavors and colors. Make biscuit or cookie mixes using only dry ingredients and including a recipe card to show how it is prepared. They can add their own fresh egg and water. Cocoa mixes made with dry milk, sugar and dark cocoa. Your mixes can contain your own crushed peppermint pieces, small candies, nuts or sprinkles! Everyone likes a quick and easy mix!
Using the Mason jar as a container
Here is where you can get really clever. Be sure to label the jar on the outside with a cute printed label. Here are a few ideas and you will think up many of your own:
* Emergency Candle Kit: Utility candles and matches stored together in case of a power failure.
* Office Sewing KIt: Black and white thread, needles, buttons, safety pins, elastic, patches.
* A Jar of Wisdom: Wise sayings on strips of colorful folded paper.
There are many, many other ideas! This was one of the most clever gift exchanges I ever participated in and each unwrapped jar was greeted with ooh’s, ah’s and a lot of chatter! Have fun with it! There are so many ideas and recipes online, it only takes a minimum of effort to look them up.