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Homemade Holiday Gifts for Parents and Loved Ones

By Beth Newingham on December 19, 2012
  • Grades: 3–5

I am always looking for new ideas when it comes to the gift that my students make for their parents or other loved ones during the holiday season. The gift that I have chosen to have my students make for the past few years is "Cookies in a Jar."

I use quart-sized jars with lids and the ingredients necessary to make a specific type of cookie. During one afternoon, I pour the ingredients into large bowls and call students over to a table in my classroom in groups of four or five at a time to add the ingredients to their jars. I ask parents to send in sets of measuring cups and measuring spoons for students to use for the special project.

While I walk small groups of students through the sequential steps necessary to make their "cookies in a jar" gift, the rest of my class reads quietly at their desks or completes a purposeful assignment that I have explained prior to the cookie-jar project.

Once all students have added the ingredients to their jar, they attach a circular piece of festive material to the top of the jar with a rubber band and tie a ribbon around the rubber band. Finally, students attach a gift tag to the ribbon to indicate the recipient ofthe gift. The recipe is printed on a label and stuck to the back of the jar so that the cookies can be easily made by adding butter and eggs when the recipient chooses to make the cookies.

Since the holidays are such a busy time of year, parents tend to appreciate the ease of having a pre-made cookie mix that can be used to entertain holiday guests. It is also a fun way for students and parents to spend time together at home baking (and enjoying) the cookies.

I like this gift idea because it can be altered for students who celebrate any holiday. I purchase different types of inexpensive cloth from a fabric store including material with holiday designs, winter themes, and basic designs like polka dots, stripes, and plaids. You can also tie the holiday project to lessons in math to reinforce concepts having to do with fractions and measurement.

Now that I know I will be doing this project each year, I look for good sales on ingredients and on quart-sized jars all year long. I have found great deals on the jars and on the ingredients prior to doing the project in my classroom when I have planned ahead!

You can find specific directions for making a variety of "cookies in a jar" at allrecipes.com.  Download my "Holiday Cookies in a Jar" recipe, my holiday cookie instruction labels for jars, and my "Cookies in a Jar" gift tags.

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