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Hello friends.  Christmas Day is almost here, and I’m feeling festive.  The tree is lit, the Nativity Scene is out and there are gifts and wrapping paper and fresh-baked cookies all over the kitchen.  It’s going to be a busy night of packing the four boxes that need to be shipped North to family and arranging the plates of cookies that we’ll need this week for various events here in town!

A few nights ago, I was working on homemade Christmas gifts for two local friends.  How I wish I could have made these same gifts for my faraway family, but the shipping would outweigh the frugality and fun…and that wouldn’t be cool.

And what are these three tried and true homemade Christmas gifts in jars???  Why, the first is Christmasy Cowboy Cookies in a Jar.  The basic idea was originally Bakerella’s so please visit her site for detailed directions on how to go about accomplishing this awesome little project.

I did doctor up her original plan to make it more Christmasy…and mine.  I left out pecans, tossed in a heapin’ half teaspoon of cinnamon and reduced the amount of M&Ms by a quarter cup.  Ugghh…that was difficult to do.  I seriously don’t know how she got all that stuff into a quart jar (other than the fact that she’s pretty awesome…I’m impressed).  Granted, she did recommend using a wide mouth jar, but since I didn’t have any wides to spare…I had to go with narrows.

Oh, and I baked a batch for us to taste test.  Oh yeah, they were delious.  I’ll be making them again.

The other 2 tried and true Christmas gifts in jars were homemade ranch dip/dressing mix and homemade taco seasoning mix.  The credit for those two mixes goes to another one of my favorite blogs…Heavenly Homemakers.

Both the ranch mix and taco seasoning recipes are well loved here at our home.  The ranch dip/dressing mix is most often used for…you guessed it…ranch dip and dressing (I add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar to thin it out and add a bit of zip).  But my all time personal favorite use is when I make oven baked french fries.  I sprinkle a 1/4 cup or so over a baking sheet full of olive oil coated sliced potatoes.  Then pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Yummers.  As for the taco seasoning mix…well, I can’t imagine ever buying a packet of taco seasoning for our taco meat again.  We’re fans.

Arranging the final presentation of these gifts for our friends will be part of tonight’s crazy gift wrapping, box packing, cookie arranging madness.  I bought two of the prettiest Christmas gift bags and plan to fill each one with a jar of cookie mix, a jar of ranch dip mix and a jar of taco seasoning mix…along with printed directions for each recipe (including a few of my tips), a wooden spoon and copious amounts of festive tissue paper.

How about you folks…any great ideas for cool homemade gifts in a jar???