Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Country Christmas Jars

Most people associate Mason jars with the country. Those old enough to remember can still recall cellars of jars filled with summer's produce. What a gift to have a cellar full of jars.

I've been thinking about Christmas and giving. I have read some creative ideas about low-cost gifts, crafts and other things that make lovely gifts and bring great personal joy for both the giver and the receiver of the gift. What about ways to spend nothing more than what we might already have on hand (on in our hearts) and still give something meaningful and welcome?

We all know that our home-canned items are welcome to most people. There are few who would frown at a jar of homemade pickles or jam! But what about children? and what about grown children like mine who can raid my cellar anytime?

This morning as I was driving to work I had an idea. My Christmas shopping is pretty much finished for this year because I buy and hoard away gifts all year. So this idea isn't for me to use this year except for a few people, but I want to share it with you. I hope some of you can expand on what I'm thinking.

Here it is: many of us know how to make or do things. Many of us have little things we've treasured. Many of us have stories we haven't yet told.

Why not make up a "giving jar" as a gift? It can be any size from half-pint to half-gallon. Decorate the lid, tie on pretty ribbons; maybe you even have some of the older blue jars or the ones with the glass or zinc lids on hand. Whatever jar you have, you could fill it with things like:

*a favorite piece of your jewelry that you know a daughter or granddaughter loves, along with the story of where you got it

*a recipe that a son or grandson likes, complete with a promise to make it for them--or even better, to make it with them

*a story written by hand that you've not yet told to someone special; including a photo or two would be a nice touch

*your favorite seashells, rocks, or other little things that you keep just because you like them--your grandchildren will probably love the"jar of mysteries."

*a photo of you at a place you like to visit, and a promise to take a loved one there with you sometime during the year

*a small craft made by you, with a promise to teach your special person how to make it or an offer to make one to their special order

* a list of twelve of your favorite books and a written review of why you like each one, along with the giftee's local library's website and telephone number.

*twelve of your favorite recipes on recipe cards

These are just a few ideas. I'm sure there are many more out there.

Let's make it fun, and a challenge--Add your suggestions to the comments and your name will go into a drawing for a copy of one of my books! (Now that would make a nice Christmas gift!)


Janet, said...

These are good ideas that you have, Susanne. This summer at vacation Bible school I had the adults make verse jars. Run off Bible verses on the printer, cut them out, fold them and put in the jars. Add instructions to take one out each day to read. Another is a journal jar. Type questions out on the printer, cut and fold them and put in jar. Also give them a notebook or journal. Tie instructions onto jar that reads-take a question out daily or weekly, tape the question onto the page of your journal or notebook and write your answers. This is a good way to spark a person's memory with questions about their family history. The family genealogist can gift it to family members and when they are finished they can gift their journal back to the giver. A great way to learn about your family history. You also decorate these jars like you mentioned in your post.(sorry for the long comment)

Granny Sue said...

These are great suggestions, Janet. I especially like the genealogy jar. What if the person who gives the jar actually answered the questions as well? That would give a family member a part of their family history in the jar.

Laura said...

What great ideas. I'm trying to do quite a few handmade items this year. The jars are great. I'm going to post a link to your site!

Granny Sue said...

Thanks for the link, Laura. I think many of us are looking for more meaningful, less expensive ways to tell people we care about them.

City Mouse said...

This is a great push towards a gold old fashioned tradition that seems to be vanishing! I remember I used to see a lot more handmade gifts and gift jars at holiday time. Excellent ideas!

Anonymous said...

Not exactly a gift in a jar, but when my children moved out of the house and didn't open doors on Advent calendars, I sent them seasonal poems and holiday stories via email, a new one for each day until Christmas. Each season brought new readings. Batsy

Deborah Wilson said...

Good ideas, Sue - and many women have extra mason jars on hand.

Speaking of the old blue ones, they are now rare. I found one at the flea market in Murphy, North Carolina, paid $5.00 for it. I keep it full of little things that belong to the grankids.

Tiger Lady said...

I don't have anything to add. But I do think its a great idea. You know me - I to give presents I've made. Which really has me thinking and I do have an idea but I can't tell *wink*.

In anycase, you know the quickest way to mine and Aaron's heart and it through that cellar. I was excited to shelve all the goodies I brought home this last weekend. BTW, I love the pears - mmmm... they were good. The red potatoes were awesome in the slow cooker yesterday with your pork chops that fell off the bone. And tonight - deer meat. I'm a happy daughter-in-law.

The Tile Lady said...

I received a potpourri ball one year (it was pewter, and filled with the potpourri) and was told that it was a gift you pass on...this year it was potpourri for me, and then the next year I give it to someone else with something else inside, etc. If I am reading you right, this is the idea you are following, but instead, using a Mason jar! It's a great idea, and I would suggest potpourri, especially some you made yourself (it's very easy to do if you have access to dried floral herbs, and buy the fixative), or two potholders you made, or photos with favorite quotes written on the back, or even bookmarks or small ornaments for their tree that are handmade as well. I love this idea and may adopt it myself as a "thing" to do in our family! (And I'm hoping I win the book, too! :-) Thanks for the give-away!)


Granny Sue said...

Wonderful suggestions, all. I'm away from home on a storytelling trip (and making fruitcakes!), but I'll do the drawing as soon as I get home Sunday.

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