Black Friday just passed and hundreds of thousands of people waited outside to get the best deals on this year’s hottest items. Many people think this is the absolute best time for stocking up on Christmas presents for loved ones — where else are you going to find an affordable yet desirable gift?
But what about those of us who just couldn’t afford to buy all the best-priced electronics (that even when on sale are much more than we can possibly spare)? Or what about those of us who after finally getting a homecooked meal and day full of family just were not able to get our cozy selves out of our bed to face the lines in the frigid 3 a.m. air? What about those of us who missed these holiday deals by necessity or by choice?
Well, I am here to say if you missed out on all those holiday gifts (or if you didn’t get something for everyone on your list), you are better off because there are some fantastic gifts still left to give.
I propose, this year, you re-think the electronics and ties that few dads actually wear, and make a gift that nourishes both the soul and the stomach.
I may be taking a slight jump in assuming everyone even knows what a holiday gift jar is, so for caution’s sake, I’ll explain. A holiday gift jar is a jar full of a half-built recipe. These recipes can be for soups, breads, cookies, drinks of almost anything. All the dry ingredients are tactfully placed in a jar and instructions are attached to inform the recipient how, in just a few easy steps, they can make something that will leave their tastebuds with in gratitude.
Holiday gift jars are not only wonderful to receive, but are also quite enjoyable to prepare. These gifts are the single best way to fight the holiday blues of loneliness sinking in, and are quite kind to the pocketbook as well.
If you decide to make holiday gift jars as presents this season of giving, you most certainly will be pleased. These gifts create multiple events in which people can come together in the spirit of giving.
The first step is hosting a jar-making get together — nothing too fancy; this isn’t a snazzy soirée. Instead, fix a little spiced cider, put some jingles on the stereo and BYOI (Bring Your Own Ingredients). If you prepare with friends, you can buy ingredients in bulk and get an even better price, as well as a much needed escape from studying and finals.
Then there is the big day — the gift exchange. When people receive this type of gift, they not only realize No. 1 you actually got them a gift this year, but No. 2 you spent the time to prepare this gift for them — I mean, those ingredients didn’t take themselves out of their original packaging!
Even after the gift exchange, there is still a promise of another get together with this type of gift. The recipient will have to make the recipe and in doing so can even invite you over to share in it. If your jar is filled with the steps to make delicious cookies, they even have the possibility to once again invite others to share in the joy of the season. I told you, there will be no holiday loneliness attached with these gifts.
Here’s a recap in case the shining yellow lights of Best Buy are luring you in. A holiday gift jar promises a good time even as you prepare it, saves you money so on Jan. 1 when your credit card bill comes you don’t keel over in horror, provides an excuse for others to come together to actually make and share the recipe and you might even get to share in the goodness. The way I see it, there really is no downfall to these jewels.
Why not take a study break, invite some friends over and get started in the spirit of giving by testing out the Cal Poly Sand Art Brownies?
Cal Poly Sand Art Brownies
Layer the jar as follows:
2/3 tsp. salt
5/8 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. yellow m&m’s
1/2 c. green m&m’s
1/2 c. walnuts
Instructions to place on the jar:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9 inch by 9 inch baking pan.
2. Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl and mix well.
3. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup vegetable oil and 3 eggs. Beat until just combined.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.