I found this AWESOME article online: http://www.scrapjazz.com/topics/Themes/Holidays/Christmas/2500.php

I have been using empty paint cans for YEARS. Out local Ace Hardware carries them for less than $5 each.  Here is the article!!

Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

by Georgina Hefferman (Dec 7, 2009)

It doesn’t matter how organized you think you are, when it comes to Christmas gifts there will always be someone you have forgotten, such as a friend, a child’s teacher or a work colleague.  It can be useful to have a few spare gifts on hand – a box of chocolates or pampering set for example – but these can seem quite impersonal and if you do not use them this Christmas you will have them hanging around your house for years to come. Before you know it, the gift is out-of-date and you end up throwing it out with the trash or donating it to a raffle.  Yes, I am speaking from experience!  Anyway, it is nice to give a thoughtful gift, but also one that has a meaning for the recipient.

I have discovered a great way to plan for these last-minute gifts, but without the worry of any waste and by using things you will probably find around your house already.

It is a really simple idea but one that you can jazz up as much or little as you like.  My tip?  Go and purchase some glass jars. That’s it.  You can pick them up for very little money when you are doing your weekly shop, they are easy to store in a pantry or in a cupboard and you can use them for all kinds of storage solutions from dried pasta in the kitchen to buttons in your craft room – if you don’t use them for gift giving.

Now of course, the jar on its own wouldn’t make a very good gift, but it’s what you put inside that counts.

Here are some ideas for what you could put inside:

  1. Snowman Soup – some mini marshmallows, hot chocolate powder and a candy cane
  2. your recipients’ favorite candy
  3. homemade chocolates (see below)
  4. spiced tea mix (cinnamon, sugar, cloves, ginger and orange breakfast tea)
  5. cake or cookie mixes, layered to look pretty
  6. soup mixes (layers of dried pasta and flavourings)
  7. chili seasoning
  8. flavored, infused olive oils for cooking
  9. a journaling jar for a writer
  10. peppermint creams   (recipe below)
  11. homemade jam or lemon curd
  12. herb vinegars
  13. different colored buttons or sewing materials for crafty friends
  14. potpourri
  15. bath salts
  16. cornbread mix
  17. snack mixes
  18. popcorn (you can attach a film or cinema voucher to the outside)
  19. nail varnish, toe separators and clippers / scissors
  20. casserole mix

When you start thinking about things you could put in a jar, you will realise the possibilities are endless. You can make your jars look pretty by delving into your stash and decorating the outside with patterned paper, ribbon and a tag explaining what is inside. Cover the lids with pretty material or stickers.  You could create a few jars for one person and present them in a gift basket with some shredded paper and cellophane wrap,  You could etch the glass jar with the initials of the person you are giving the gift to using a product called Armour Etch. In addition you could add a touch of Christmas  with flowers, candy or cinnamon sticks.

If you haven’t got jars, then you may find some of your scrapbook packaging would be useful for the same thing.  I have used some old Prima flower mini paint buckets that I have decorated and then filled with homemade chocolates and peppermint creams. Here are the recipes.

Peppermint Creams

1 egg white, peppermint essence to taste and icing/powdered sugar. Mix it all to make firm dough, roll mini balls and chill.

Chocolate Truffles

You need: 300g plain chopped chocolate, 1/2 cup of cream, 2 tablespoons of brandy, 90g of butter. Melt the cream and butter and bring to a boil, pour over the chopped-up chocolate and when stirred smooth add the brandy. Stick it in the fridge and stir occasionally. After about an hour it will be firm enough for you to mold into shapes and then roll in cocoa powder. Chill and voila!

Oreo Truffles

1 packet of Oreo cookies, powdered sugar, an 8 oz package of cream cheese and melted chocolate to coat. Crush the cookies in a food processor until finely crumbled. Mix in a spoon of powdered sugar and the package of cream cheese. Mold into balls and chill in the freezer while you melt the chocolate. Cover the balls in melted chocolate and chill again.

I hope that helps you with your last-minute gift giving. Have a great Christmas!