Need a nice gift on the quick? Before you spend big money on scarves and gift cards, put some love into a jar with these easy, inexpensive homemade gifts. Scroll down for seven super sweet ways to say you care, lids included.

mason jar terrarium photo: Hamburger Helper via flickr

1. Jar Terrarium
If you live somewhere with a woodland area you can gather a few sticks, stones and moss when out on a walk. Your local garden center also sells moss and sand. The key here is to choose a plant that requires little room to grow very little water, like a succulent or our favorite, tillandsias. Also known as air plants, they just require bright, indirect light and misting once or twice a week with a spray bottle of water (or soaking in water once a week). They don’t need to be planted, as they just rest on the surface of the rocks or whatever you’ve placed in the jar. Their low-to-no maintenance makes them a great option for an office or teacher’s desk, too.

paperwhite-bulb-2photo: Erin Lem

2. Paperwhite Bulbs
Start this one early so the blooms are ready in time for the giving season. It’s remarkably easy and all you need are some stones, good light, cute jars and, of course, paperwhite (narcissus) bulbs, available at most garden centers this time of year. Click here for the full tutorial.

cookie brownie mix in a jarphoto: Sarah R via flickr

3. Cookie or Cake Ingredients
This one couldn’t be easier and is a great idea for assembling with kids. Look up any basic recipe for cookies, brownies or cake and then purchase the ingredients. Simply measure out each ingredient in a layer (alternating darker and lighter ingredients) and attach a recipe card. Your giftees will need to purchase the wet ingredients themselves, so you can say something like “just add eggs and 2 cups of milk” and stir. You can also expand this to be pancakes (cinnamon and dried cranberries are nice festive ingredients, scones or just about anything that can be dumped into a bowl and mixed!)

Tip: This one is fun to use a colorful candy, like M&Ms, in seasonal colors as an ingredient. 

I-Spy Jarphoto: Amber Guetebier

4. DIY I-Spy Jar
An easy task for any little maker, this is a fun gift for kids of all ages. Draft up a “key card” with the answers and include it in the gift. As a bonus you can use up all those party favors, broken watches and other miscellaneous items you’ve been meaning to throw away. Grab the instructions here.

pickles-ccflickr-kellyphoto credit: Kelly via flickr

5. Easiest Homemade Pickles Ever
When you think of jars you probably think of pickles, so why not give them a serious upgrade and make an easy gift for all the foodies in your life? Click here for the complete recipe and how-to.

IceCreamCake9

6. Mason Jar Ice Cream Cake
This sweet gift concocted by Evermine probably needs to be assembled on-site so it makes a fun “I’ll bring dessert” item that will delight your hosts and all of the guests. Get the yummy tutorial here.

mason jar candy photo: j bizzie via flickr

7. Easy Peasy Cookie or Candy Jar
Make or buy cookies and stack them in a colorful jar (Ball has a heritage series that includes blue, green and even purple). Just tie on a ribbon and, baby, you’re done! Just make sure you measure the jar before purchasing or measuring out the cookies (you can use the lid as a template!) Easier option? Fill a jar with candy and don a ribbon, and you’re done.

What kind of gifts-in-a-jar will you make this year? Let us know in the comment below. 

—Amber Guetebier