Non-Traditional Christmas Gift Jars

photo credit

Post by Contributing Writer, Holly

Practical gifts, gifts that someone can actually use, are GREAT finds. Figuring out what those gifts are, though, can feel like you’re looking for the needle in the haystack. I tried to come up with some non-traditional ideas for Christmas gift jars. Hopefully these ideas will help.

These gift jars are for those who are 1) passionate about living a sustainable life, 2) enthusiastic about wildlife, and 3) looking for ways to share the love of Christ. These gifts are practical, frugal, meaningful, and a couple of them can be easily assembled as a family activity.

Gift Jar No. 1: Garden-In-A-Jar
Gift Theme: Sustainable Living
Approx. Cost: $5.60* – $8.34

I LOVE this gift jar! You can give someone, gift-wrapped in jar: a canning jar, Christmas ornament, AND almost their entire garden for next spring. If they plan to start the seeds indoors, they’ll be able to put the gift to use even sooner.

Contents and cost breakdown:
$0.87 1 quart canning jar
$1.07 1 packet of seeds – watermelon
$1.07 1 packet of seeds – cucumber
$1.19 1 packet of seeds – carrot
$1.19 1 packet of seeds – _______ [fill in the blank]
$0.95 1 packet of seeds – _______ [fill in the blank]
$0.51 40” wired ribbon
$1.49 1 Christmas ornament

I purchased my seeds from Home Harvest; if you’ve been saving seeds, it’ll be even more affordable.

*To make the gift more frugal, you could tell the recipient you’re “sharing” a garden with them by giving them half packets of seeds. Give them half of the contents AND the envelopes. You can keep your half in plain mailing envelopes, labeled with the contents.

I got the Christmas ornament on sale for 50% off, AND had a 25% off coupon. The little garden shovel ornament seemed so fitting for this garden-in-a-jar.

Gift Jar No. 2: Bird Care Package
Gift Theme: Wildlife
Approx. Cost: $2.95

You probably have a few bird enthusiasts on your list. This jar is for them. Bird watchers know the importance of keeping their bird feeders stocked, so this gift will come in handy.

Contents and cost breakdown:
$0.87 1 quart canning jar
$1.00 1 quart of bird seed
$0.29 1 embellishment
$0.57 11” feather boa
$0.22 1 scrapbooking sticker

The crazy twirly embellishment is attached to the canning lid with a few blobs of glue from my glue gun. I also used the glue gun to attach the feather boa to the jar perimeter.

I think my favorite part of this gift is the feather boa. :)

Gift Jar No. 3: Food For The Body & Soul
Gift Theme: Sharing The Love of Christ
Approx. Cost: $7.59

I’ve never owned a “salvation bracelet”, but I remember hearing about them as a young girl. This gift jar is based off of that concept. Each color represents a specific truth about salvation and a believer’s walk with Christ.

Instead of a bracelet, it’s a jar of vegetables. It’s a great witnessing tool to those who don’t know Christ, and a wonderful reminder and encouragement for those who do.

The jar contents, combined with lettuce and tomatoes, make a GREAT tossed salad, or (minus the raisins) homemade pizza toppings, tacos, quesadillas, etc..

The meaning of each color:
Black – our condition before trusting in Christ (Eph. 5:8)
Red – the shed blood of Christ (Heb. 9:21-23; Rom. 5:8-11; Joh. 3:16)
White – white as snow – our condition after we trust in Christ’s payment for our sins (Isa. 1:18)
Blue – water of believer’s baptism (Mat. 28:19)
Green – growth and maturation in the believer’s life (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 5; Joh. 15:1-17)
Gold – streets of gold in our eternal home in heaven (Rev. 21:21)

Contents and cost breakdown:
$0.87 1 quart canning jar
$0.43 ½ c. black-“ish” raisins (or use cooked black beans)
$1.48 1 c. red pepper (diced)
$0.55 1 c. white onion (diced)
$0.51 40” blue ribbon
$0.78 1 c. green pepper (diced)
$1.48 ½ c. yellow pepper (diced)
$1.49 Christmas ornament (same sale)

This jar is a great option for giving a meal to a neighbor during a busy season! Consider giving it in a basket, along with some homemade pizza dough & jar of sauce, or taco shells.

You might consider typing the above color meanings, and some of the complete verses below each color description. For a little extra cost you could laminate it and use it as a gift tag/message combo. (Packing tape is an affordable laminate substitute.)

The food shown in this photo was kept unrefrigerated for over 2 hours, then refrigerated in this jar for 7 days. After the 7 days, I poured some of the vegetables onto a pizza (without the raisins) and then mixed the rest of the contents into a bowl and used in a salad. Delicious!

Some other colorful food options are black beans, red cranberries, green/yellow banana peppers, just to name a few.

Which gift jar do you plan to give as a gift? What other homemade gifts will you be making?

Holly is a wife to her loving husband, John, and a “mother” of 3 canine “children.” She loves sharing her faith, gardening, and fascination and appreciation of animals (birds, bats, butterflies, and the cute furry ones too) over at Your Gardening Friend.

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15 comments to Non-Traditional Christmas Gift Jars

  • Oh, I’m so excited! My in-laws gave me a box of jars that I have sitting on my table… and I’ve been trying to decide how to turn them into lovely gifts. These are such wonderful suggestions! I feel inspired now.


    Holly Reply:

    Thanks, Natasha. They were a lot of fun to make. I still think the feather boa is my favorite part of all the gifts. 😉


  • Really original ideas! Thanks!


    Holly Reply:

    Thanks, Adrienne.


  • Brittany Pingist

    Why don’t you use black olives instead of the raisins in the veggie jar? Then you could just use the whole jar as a pizza topping instead of having to seperate the raisins out.


    Michele Reply:

    Olives are a great idea! :)


    Holly Reply:

    Yes, olives are a great idea!

    Also, since raisins are “sticky”, and they were crammed into the bottom of the jar, only some of them came out when emptying the jar. I had to scrape most of the raisins out with a spoon, so that helped. For those who enjoy sweet pineapples on their pizza, they might like the raisins. 😉 Yeah… maybe a little too crazy of an idea.


  • Amber

    I also love the feathers!! The bird seed is a good idea this time of the year!!


    Holly Reply:

    Thanks, Amber! The birds will love the gift. :)


  • Heather

    Holly, these are such neat ideas. I have a box of canning jars too. I was hoping to learn to can veggies, but I think that project is a year or two away. I think I could get these gifts ready throughout the year for my kids’ teachers and such. I LOVE the ornaments! Where did you get them? I bet I could find a bunch right now at after-Christmas sales. You could also put a pair of gardening gloves in place of a couple of seed packets. If I were to do the salvation jar I’d definitely print up the color meanings, maybe as a bookmark. Good ideas, Holly!


    Holly Reply:

    Thanks, Heather. They were so much fun to put together too.

    I got the ornaments at JoAnn Fabrics. The prices I listed were a result of a sale and coupon.

    Doing these throughout the year is very wise planning. Yes, I imagine with the jars you already have, and the after-Christmas sales, you’d be set for next year.

    Thanks again.


    Holly Reply:

    Oh, I meant to say in my earlier comment – the garden gloves, in lieu of a couple seed packs, is a GREAT idea!! Clever, indeed.


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  • rachael

    Love it! Where did you find the feather boa? Did you buy it by the yard? I’ve never seen anything like that, but I love it!


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