Do you ever find yourself invited to the home of someone who doesn’t drink wine? *gasp* Believe it or not, such people exist. (editor’s note: I only drink a bottle per year, mostly on Valentine’s Day when I make my annual chicken marsala) Heading into the holidays there are so many different social occasions that might necessitate a little bit of gift giving. Not to sound too cheap, but my default of wine can get rather pricey if I am giving it out to neighbours, committee volunteers, building supervisors and the like. Up here in Canada, there’s no Trader Joe’s two buck chuck to be found. Most of the wine that I drink is in the $10-15 range. Half a dozen gifts at $15 a pop is $90 gone, just like that.
Obviously, if I am going to a dinner party and will be consuming wine myself, I will still take some, but for the other occasions, and to mix it up a little bit, I also like to make host and hostess gifts. They can be extremely cute, and also rather affordable. Plus, as much as we all love cookies, cakes and treats, most of us are a little overwhelmed by the time mid December rolls around… and our bellies are starting to roll around as well! So, a gift of baking, which isn’t baked yet and can be put off until January or February, is always welcome.
Pros of Giving Mixes as Gifts
- Can be made in advance so they are “grab and go”
- Can be very cost effective
- Last a long time
- *Cough* can be re-gifted easily
- Have that “homemade touch”
- Look very lovely
- Work well at bake-sale tables and to donate to fundraisers
- No risk of you burning the cookies
- I’m encouraging you to give them, so I’ll just make the assumption that there aren’t any cons. :)
Collect mason jars, generally of the 1L variety, throughout the year. Sometimes you can get fantastic prices on them during off-peak canning times, at thrift stores or at garage sales. My parents live in an area where there are lots of senior citizens downsizing, so my Mom manages to scoop them up for great prices for me.
Search ye olde internet for recipes, check out a book from the library, purchase a book online (aff.) ,or in a store. Here are a few places online which have some recipes:
There are a whole variety of contents to choose from, such as beverages like cocoa, soups (fantastic to use after a day on the slopes, chopping wood or sledding!), muffins, breads, dressings, scrubs, oils, cookies and brownies.
I recommend making several jars at one time. If you have a canning funnel, put it to use to help avoid getting flour all over the counter, or sending dried peas into every crevice in your kitchen. Once you have filled your jars, seal them with a regular canning jar ring and lid, or a plastic reusable jar lid. For a nice touch, take a piece of burlap or nice fabric, cut it about an inch bigger than your lid in all directions and tie it on with a ribbon. On the ribbon, you can affix a gift tag, or the rest of the instructions.
Make sure that you include the instructions for the recipe! You can print them off the computer, or put them on a regular recipe card. On the back of the mason jar, you can usually tape a full size recipe card.
As long as you do not use overly festive wrapping, these gifts will last for a few months and you can use them whenever you need a little thank-you or hostess gift.
Anne spends most of her time writing at Unique Gifter about frugal gift ideas and ways to add a personal touch to what are sometimes boring gifts. If you are looking for stocking stuffer inspiration, she has compiled over 500 stocking stuffer ideas for adults, teens and seniors!