Put your recycled jar at the center of a gift bundle for a memorable gift. A gift bundle combines contents the recipient will use now with a container he or she can use later. The key to creating a good bundle is to start with a strong, unifying theme and apply it to the contents and the decoration.
Can you cook? The sky's the limit. Preserves, jelly, chutney, and salsa -- almost any treat can go into a jar. (Remember to use strict food-safety practices with home preserves; you don't want to give your loved ones botulism for the holidays [source: Penn State University].) A decorated jar can be a lovely way to present dry foods as well, such as peanut brittle, toffee, drop cookies or roasted or candied nuts. Pair it with Christmas ornaments or candles for a festive, colorful gift bundle.
For other gift bundles, think about ways to package an entire experience. Some examples are:
- A jar of popcorn with a favorite DVD
- A jar of bath salts or bubble-bath beads with a loofah, scrubber or foot massage roller (For a real winner, try putting all these gifts in a basket with a color-coordinated hand towel and a scented candle or lavender sachet.)
- A jar of gourmet cocoa powder with a jumbo mug
- A jar of loose tea with a pair of cups and a tea strainer
- A jar of dried beans -- a bean soup mix -- with a spice packet and a recipe (Lentils, pinto beans, red beans, black beans and white beans will look beautiful in layers. For color and extra kick, you may want to add a mini ristra -- a garland of dried habanero peppers.)
For any gift bundle, presentation is important. A basket is almost always inexpensive and attractive. Depending on the contents, a cloth wine-bottle gift bag can be a striking way to bundle gifts. Focus on reusability in the container as well as the contents. Add a ribbon or some raffia, and you have a handmade, heartfelt, one-of-a-kind gift.
Chances are, once you've started thinking about ways to reuse glass jars, you'll never throw one out again. Have fun, and don't forget to share the results.
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