Feature image chocolate chip cookie mix in Mason Jar

Handmade gifts are the ideal way to show loved ones you care without the hustle, bustle and environmental impact that often comes with seasonal shopping. So, if you’re looking to reduce waste and save some cash on your holiday giving this year, consider a gift made from recycled vintage Mason jars for a big wow factor with a small footprint. To help you find the perfect project for everyone on your list, Earth911 rounded up seven gorgeous reuse ideas that you just have to see.

1. Handy sewing kit in a jar.

The perfect gift for a college student, busy mom or your bestie who loves to sew is a Mason jar filled with sewing notions like small scissors, measuring tape and so on. To make your gift extra adorable, drop in some vintage buttons once you’ve put it all together. The buttons will fill up the empty spaces and add some beautiful color. Consider adding a gift card to a local sewing shop.

DIY sewing kit in Mason jar

2. Homemade beauty in a jar.

Mason jars are perfect for packaging a homemade shaving cream, sugar scrub or other DIY beauty product. Not only are they a great way to reuse your glass jars, your concoctions will stay fresher longer in glass. Put a pretty ribbon around the lid, add a cute tag, and your gift is ready to go.

DIY shaving cream in Mason jar

3. On-the-go pampering kit in a jar.

Beauty products, especially travel sizes, would make a great gift for someone you know who needs a little extra pampering. Consider a theme like spa day, mani/pedi or hair care, and package those gifts in your jar. Use organic cotton balls or chocolate kisses to fill in the spaces.

For a really cute example, check out the blog Classy Clutter.

4. Garlands in a jar.

Garlands in a jar (or jarlands, as my daughter refers to them) are a fun way to bring a celebration to a space. Make your own crocheted garland, or use fabric scraps cut into triangles and sewn together or felt shapes glued to a string to make one. Or, if you’re not crafty, buy a premade garland. A garland is a wonderful way to personalize any small space. This is a great gift for a co-worker with a cubicle. You could also add small office supplies like cute paperclips and colorful sticky notes. If you’re upcycling a jar from the recycling bin, you can always paint your lid to cover the brand of pickles, for example, that you purchase. It adds a finished look to your gift and it can be reused again and again.

DIY garlands in a jar gift

5. Recipe in a jar.

Layering the dry ingredients for a delicious cookie in a Mason jar is a great gift. Not only is it easy to do, it’s nice to get and makes baking those delicious cookies fun. This can be a really good teacher’s gift, especially if you have a bunch of wonderful teachers you want to show your appreciation for. Buy your ingredients, measure each, then layer them into your jar. Make sure your jar is big enough to hold all the ingredients. Also, a wide-mouth jar is easier for this.

Recipe in a Mason jar gift
Photo: Adobe Stock

Check out the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a jar recipe at the blog Add a Pinch. There is also a free printable recipe you can include with your gift.

6. Dried fruit in a jar.

If you live in an area that is known for a certain kind of fruit, buy that fruit in season and dry it to use as gifts. Not only is dried fruit gorgeous in a jar, you’ll be giving a healthy snack. My part of the country is known for a large variety of fruits, so I love to buy a bunch already dried (I don’t usually plan enough ahead to dry it myself), and gift a little bit of sunshine to my family back east.

Dried fruit in Mason jars

7. Baker’s helper in a jar.

Gather up some cute muffin liners, mini cookie cutters and measuring spoons, pop them inside a Mason jar, and you’ll have a great gift for that friend who loves to bake. Wrap some washi tape and corresponding baker’s twine around the lid for added charm like this one from the blog The Gunny Sack.

Using Mason jars (or any other glass jars with lids) is a gorgeous and unique way to gift a large variety of things. Once you’ve filled your jar, take a peek at it from all angles to make sure it looks good. Add some kind of filler to keep everything where you want it. An easy filler idea is to take tissue paper (I have a stash that I save from gifts we receive), cut it into thin strips and tuck it around your items in the jar. This keeps the gift looking good even if it gets jostled around before you give it away.

By Wendy Gabriel

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer based in California. Wendy's work has been featured in numerous publications and websites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox Business News and Mashable.com. For nearly six years, she was a weekly contributor on a popular radio talk show in the Upper Midwest with a segment titled “Simple Tips for Green Living.”