The once-humble mason jar is now a party queen, appearing everywhere from uber cool cocktail bars to dessert menus. If it's not in a jar, then it's simply not cool.
So you can stay ahead of the curve, here are some great Christmas decorations and gifts that come in jars. And where will you find these jars? Everywhere – simply Google mason jar and you will find them everywhere from your local grocery store to eBay. Or you can simply recycle glass jars from your pasta sauce and pickles.
Cookies in a jar by Abby (image credit: Mark O'Meara)
Gift: Cookies in a Jar
You often see these at fetes but these cookies-in-a-jar make great gifts for Christmas as well. They can be made in advance, they look great, and you can use different recipes for people who are gluten-intolerant or who don't like fruit. Another bonus is that they are easily within the capabilities of kids who might want to make some gifts for their teachers or friends.
Try this recipe for choc-chip and craisin cookies or come up with your own. Make sure the quantity you use is the perfect fit for your jar, or else the layers will mix together, and that's not quite the look we're going for. Don't forget the instruction card.
These buildings remind me of a wintery Christmas (image credit: Fellow Fellow)
Decoration: Houses by Night I love the simplicity of this idea by Claire on her stunning blog Fellow Fellow. Can you imagine a row of these beautiful, glowing houses lined up on Christmas Eve?
I have already been to the calendar shop (which you can find in the middle of shopping centres everywhere this time of year) to buy a calendar which meets her requirements. Mine happens to be of Parisian landmarks and I can't wait to get started.
I want to use mine outdoors so rather than simply glue the pictures into a cylinder, I will be gluing the images to a mason jar, which will add weight so they don't blow away in the breeze. The jar will also mean I can use real candles rather than electric tea lights.
How easy are these balloon covered jars? (image credit: brit.co)
Decoration: Balloon jars I can't think of a simpler way to create mood lighting than this great idea from brit.co. Ok, so the idea is originally from a Halloween Party, so with a little imagination you could come up with different colour combinations that evoke a more Christmassy feel.
Simply stick with red and white (use multiple balloons to make stripes), red, green and white, or whatever colours to suit your colour-theme this year. The trick to these is using smaller jars, and buying the best quality balloons you can afford.
This jam goes brilliantly with almost any Christmas meat
Gift: Home made chilli jam I first made this chilli jam by Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin a few years ago, and it has been so popular with friends and family I now make it every year. The quantity in the recipe makes about 4-5 cups, so if you double the recipe you can easily make gifts for 5-10 people depending on what size jar you find (my suggestion: look for 250ml jars).
This version has less chillies than her original recipe and I upped the sweetness a bit: but it's still hot. This is one of those things you make when you have a whole afternoon of little jobs to do, as you will need to keep pottering back to the stove to check on it as it cooks. Another great thing about this gift is that you can make it in advance, it keeps well, and you can make it in bulk. (Hint: I found the little jars at Ikea).
Kids will love to make these easy stained glass jars
Decoration: Stained Glass jars for Carols by Candlelight
This is a great project for kids and it's really cheap to make, although it can be a bit messy. You can use any type of jar for this and you don't need lids.
Simply tear coloured tissue paper into random shapes (approx. 1 inch square is good) and using craft glue, paint sections of the outside of the jar and stick bit of paper on, so they overlap slightly. Cover all the jar and leave to dry for a day or so.
For older kids and adults you can make them very special by limiting the number of colours you use, or by cutting the paper into fancy shapes (ie. stars and hearts). Pop an electric or real tea light candle inside and use for carolling or just to decorate your house and garden at night time. If you have really little kids and you don't want to use glass jars, try the plastic containers that 'tinned' fruit comes in.
You could make a collection using different sized jars (image credit: DIY ready)
Decoration: Prism Jar Light
These evocative lights would be beautiful lined on a window sill, around the edge of a balcony, or in front of a large mirror. Using the glass decorating pebbles you can find everywhere from discount shops to garden centres, this is a fabulous idea from Stephanie at DIY ready.
These are really a grown up version of the tissue paper lights mentioned previously, and you could choose between the elegance of a single colour of pebble, or go festive with stripes and random patterns.