You may save empty food containers, like jars and plastic tubs, to store small items around the house. Finding new purposes for these containers not only saves you money, but also keeps them out of landfills. Start saving empty glass jars, like those that pickles and jelly come in, to fill with something new and give to family and friends as gifts for birthdays, Christmas and other gift-giving holidays. Decorate these glass jars with scrapbooking materials or fabric to make them festive.
Journal In a Jar
Website Organized Christmas suggests pairing journal prompts with a notebook and pen in an empty jar to give as a gift. A journal in a jar is an inexpensive gift that can be made to suit anyone old enough to write. Take a large glass jar and place a small blank notebook and a pen inside the jar. Then, type up a list of journal prompts, print them out and then cut them into strips. You can also hand write the journal prompts. For an adult you might prompt her to write about the trait that she most admires in her spouse, or his favorite past time to enjoy with his kids. For a child, you might ask her to describe her favorite lesson from school, or a game that him and his friends play at recess. For a teen, you might ask her about something that she looked forward to being able to do as a child, and how she feels about that now. You might also ask him where he sees himself in 5 years. Fill the jar with the prompts, put the lid on and decorate the jar with a label made with vinyl or decorative scrapbook paper. You can also add embellishments like silk flowers, buttons or ribbon to the jar.
Homemade Bubble Bath
Give a jar full of homemade bubble bath to a friend with a particularly stressful job or to a family member who would enjoy a relaxing bath away from the kids. Mix 2 cups of soap flakes, 2 tbsp. of glycerin and 1 gallon of water. Place the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the soap flakes are melted. Take 2 cups of the mixture, ¼ cup of glycerin and 2 cups of shampoo and mix them in a large bowl. Add a few drops of the scented oil of your choice to the mixture. Pour the bubble bath into an empty jar and attach a small tag that instructs the recipient to add ½ cup of the mixture to her bath.
Baked Goods Mixes
One of the most popular gifts to give in a jar is a mix with an attached recipe card. This gift allows the recipient to make a delicious treat by adding a few ingredients to the contents of the jar and then following the preparation instructions on the attached card. Create a cookie jar mix by combining all the dry ingredients of a cookie recipe, such as flour and sugar, in an empty jar. Attach a note card with the recipe to the jar. See Resources for a list of delicious treats such as like cookies and cakes that you can package as a gift in a jar.
Jar of Buttons
An adult might only get excited over a jar of buttons if she likes to sew, but a child can use a jar of buttons in several different ways. Purchase a bag or tub of buttons at a craft store; they usually come with a bunch of random buttons in several different colors, shapes and sizes. Pour the buttons into a jar that you decorated with a label made from vinyl or scrapbook paper. Attach a few note cards that give the child ideas of what he can do with his jar of buttons. Instruct the child to sort the buttons into piles based on shape, size or color. Instruct the child to use the buttons to solve math problems that involve subtraction or addition. The child may even use the buttons for her own craft projects. Buttons less than 1¼ inches in diameter should not be given to a child under the age of 3 as they could be a choking hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns.
Use an empty jar to create a sort of miniature gift basket. Fill the jar with small items that have to do with the intended recipient's hobbies. Fill the jar with sewing pins, needles, spools of thread and a thimble for a friend who likes to sew. Fill a jar with tees, golf balls, and a golf glove for a family member who golfs. For a child fill a jar with crayons, safety scissors and stickers if he likes to create art projects.
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.