Every year we make many Christmas gifts ourselves…which is partially because I love doing stuff like this with the girls and partially because we have over 70 people on our Christmas Gift List.
Yep, over 70. And that’s counting some couples as one person.
We’re not complaining…we’re happy to have so many people we love and we really want to give all of them something they can use and will enjoy to let them know we’re thinking of them during the holidays. Between Sadie’s therapists and all of the girls’ teachers (class teachers & music, dance, PE, etc.), Kyla’s big family, my big family and all of our friends & neighbors, it adds up quick. We’re really lucky to have so many wonderful people in our lives, and Christmas *is* my favorite holiday, so we’ve gotten a system that makes it relatively easy to not have to leave too many people out.
Since we’re not made of money, we usually end up picking one thing to make for many of the people on our list. This year, it was homemade food goodies in mason jars. We did hot cocoa, pumpkin pie spice & pancake mix. The plan was originally to give everyone a stack of four recipes as well, but my printer was not digging the card stock I bought, so the recipe cards just went to a few people we thought would really enjoy them.
So, here’s what we did…
First I searched all over Pinterest for the right recipes. I knew I wanted to do a few jars of my homemade pancake mix. I love the pancakes I get with this recipe, and I figured it would be easy to do the dry ingredients with instructions on what else to add. I can’t remember where I got this recipe, but here is the version I’ve emailed to people who have asked.
Best Pancakes Ever
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sale & sugar
Make a well (like a crater) in the mountain of dry ingredients
Pour in the melted butter, egg, then milk
Mix until smooth
Heat a lightly oiled skillet/griddle/frying pan over medium high heat
Scoop/pour desired amount of batter onto surface
When the edges start looking solid and the center is bubbly, flip
I also knew I wanted to do a cocoa, but there are so many delicious sounding recipes out there! I ended up printing several recipes to take with me to the grocery store, and the recipe I ended up using was just the one I managed to get most of the ingredients for (I was very frazzled during this shopping trip for some reason, so I’m surprised I even made it out of there with enough ingredients to make any of them!) So, with the exception of the candy canes, this recipe from My Recipes, called “Peppermint Stick Cocoa,” was the winner.
Let me tell you…after I made the first batch, I tried some myself. And that is really some delicious hot cocoa.
Next was the Pumpkin Pie Spice. I had seen this recipe from Rachel Cooks early in the Fall and decided I needed to try it. I was amazed at how the photography made a lump of spices look positively mouth-watering. It was really easy and really yummy, so it made the cut.
* Just in case anyone is wondering, yes, I made those graphics myself, and no, I am not being paid by anyone to drive traffic to their sites. I’m just overly worried that someone will think I’m trying to take credit for their work and I like to make sure I’m as obvious as possible when giving credit! *
Next we got a ton of mason jars and the little spice jars at Hobby Lobby during their glassware sale. I really loved the small spice jars, which were really cute and a great size for the spices. I think Hobby Lobby is kind of expensive on mason jars and glass stuff usually, but at half off, these definitely fit into my budget. Later I realized I could have bought a case of the mason jars and gotten them cheaper, but I always forget I can just pick up a case of them at the grocery store!
I had intended to also get some red & white baker’s twine, but every where was out of it (presumably because they had the same idea I did), and I ended up getting the green. I’m really glad I did, because it made it look festive but not quite so in-your-face Christmasy.
Now, the labels were my favorite part. It started with my running across these gorgeous recipe cards from Love Vs. Design. These were exactly what I was looking for, and they’re downloadable for free and absolutely beautiful!
The only problem was, I needed to also make tags and labels for the top of the mason jars. So, I hop into Illustrator and basically rebuilt the recipe cards so I could then use those same graphics to make the labels for the top of the mason jars and also the tags to hang on each jar explaining what was inside.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to use that downloadable cards to redo my recipe book at some point. Those are just way too pretty!
So then I set to work making everything. I started trying to make everything in large batches but then I realized the proportions of ingredients would be off when I separated it into jars, so I really just made about 1 batch per jar. The exception to that was the Pumpkin Pie Spice, because the girls were having a great time helping me measure out the amounts of each spice. We destroyed the kitchen over the course of two days, but we had a blast!
Everyone loved the gifts and commented on how great the tags looked, and I have to say that I was super proud of how they turned out. Actually, I’m pretty sad I didn’t make enough to keep any for myself!