Christmas Gift Ideas: 13 Ways to Fill Mason Jars

Three mason jars full of multi-colored candy.

Mason jars filled with goodies make great, inexpensive Christmas gifts for teachers, family, and friends. Attractive and useful, the jars are always well received. Here are some quick and easy gift ideas for filling your jars.

1. Chocolate-dipped Pretzels

Chocolate-dipped pretzels are easy to make. Using a double boiler, melt white, dark, or milk chocolate. Take a table fork, specially designed dipping fork, or skewer to remove the pretzels once they're coated and let them harden on wax paper. Pack one flavor or layer two or more for an attractive and yummy gift.

2. Hot Chocolate

A cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows

Whether you make your own mix or repackage a bulk sized can from the store, cocoa mix is another filler that would be appreciated during the winter months. Fill the mason jar with the chocolate, and tie a bag of mini marshmallows around the lid with red ribbon for an extra treat.

3. Soaps

Fill jars with scented, colorful mini soaps. Use a decorative facecloth instead of fabric to decorate the top of the jar. You'll give a gift that anyone can use, and it looks great in the bathroom, too!

4. Bead Kit

Do you have jewelry or bead enthusiasts on your Christmas list? Make them a mason jar filled with all the essentials of their craft. Buy colorful plastic or glass beads in bulk, fill the jar, and top. Tie a spindle of wire or string to the jar with a pretty ribbon, or tuck a narrow spool into the center of the jar full of beads. This is a gift your crafting friends are sure to love!

5. Potpourri

Potpourri dish

Make your own or buy it in bulk. Under the jar lid and fabric round, place a circle of netted tulle. When your recipient wants to scent their home or office, they need only to remove the lid and replace the mason jar band over the tulle for a cover that will emit the wonderful smell while keeping you potpourri safe inside.

6. Nuts

Go nuts! Look for recipes for maple flavored nuts, curried nuts, roasted, or simply repackage a bulk bag of mixed nuts into a great looking mason jar. Tie on a ribbon or decorate for a gift your friends can snack on or use as holiday hors d'oeurves for guests.

7. Almond Bark

Almond bark is a simple-to-make treat. All you have to do is melt chocolate labeled for candy molding or almond bark and pour over a wax paper lined cookie sheet spread with almonds (peanuts or any other nut can be used as well). When the chocolate hardens, break the bark into small pieces and fill the mason jar. Almond bark is similar to peanut brittle, but a little easier to make. Of course, peanut brittle works equally well.

8. Bite-size Cookies

Small cookies in a decorative basket

Homemade cookies are a special Christmas gift. Bake your favorite holiday cookies in bite-size servings. Fill the mason jar with the sweet morsels and decorate.

9. Molded Chocolates and Truffles

You may not have known how easy it is to mold chocolates, but it truly is a simple process. Choose a holiday themed mold or one that suits the gift's receiver. Using the double boiler again, simply melt chocolate, pour into molds, and let it harden. Package into the mason jars when the chocolates are cooled. If chocolates are difficult to remove, place the mold in the freezer for a few minutes. However, you'll need to let chocolates return to room temperature before packing them in the jars, or condensation will be a problem.

10. Candy

Candy hearts

Any commercial candy can be a quick, simple filler for mason jar gifts. Don't underestimate how attractive a jar full of gumballs, mints, peppermint stars, or colorful Lifesavers can look. These won't cost you much, especially if you shop for bulk sized bags. Pack a small rectangular box or basket with raffia straw and three jars filled with different candies. It'll look so great, you don't even need to make a fancy top for the jars!

11. Snack Mix

Looking for a healthy choice? Try a trail mix or dried fruit. They are just the right size and just the right "rustic" look to compliment your mason jars. Dried fruits and trail mixes are a much appreciated alternative for those watching what they eat for weight or health reasons.

12. Bath Beads

Give a spa treat! Marble-sized bath beads filled with moisturizing oils or relaxing and muscle soothing bath salts are not only a great gift idea, but make nice bathroom displays as well. Bath beads will need to be purchased commercially, but many melt and pour soap suppliers have easy to use recipes for making your own bath salts with a combination of fragrance oils and Epsom or sea salts. Package these two with the previously mentioned personal sized soaps in the basket and raffia style of the candy jars for a full spa set.

13. Baking Mixes

You can't really talk about mason jar gifts without mentioning the layered baking mixes that started it all. Get out your favorite recipe, layer the dry ingredients and attach a recipe card with the ingredients and remaining baking instructions. Create a "before and after" twist on the theme by giving a jar of baked cookies in the bite size fashion, and a jar of the dry mix to enjoy later. A length of hemp or twine string tying on a cookie cutter is a nice additional packaging touch.

It doesn't all have to be about cookies, though! Give your friends and family an easy Sunday breakfast by mixing up the dry parts of a pancake, waffle, or muffin mix. Make it a boxed set and include the syrup or coffee accompaniments! Brownies, quick breads, and more; nearly any recipe will work!

Top it Off

Decorated mason jars

Attractive toppers complete individual mason jar gifts. A simple circle of a nice fabric in a plaid or holiday theme is really all you need. Place the upside down jar onto the fabric and trace your circle two to three inches larger all around to allow for overlapping the neck of the jar and a little hanging beneath the band for decoration. For a puffy top, put a small handful of cotton batting on top of the metal lid and under the fabric round. Add any ribbon or lace to suit you theme for a finishing touch.