July is a great time to start Christmas “shopping.” This might sound a little crazy, but I give gifts to a LOT of people – mostly family, and a few friends. Gift giving is hands down my love language, so skimping on Christmas presents just isn’t my style. Ask me to wrap them and that’s another story.
So in order to do Christmas in the way that makes my heart happy without completely blowing out my budget for the entire year, I start early. I also like to gift handmade and consumable items, and they take a lot of time to create, if not a ton of money.
The first year I canned produce from my garden, I ended up with way too much (had fun learning how and kept trying out new recipes) and had a cabinet full of canned goods.
Fast forward to that December, and I had a cabinet full of homemade presents ready for gift giving and my Christmas shopping was done almost as soon as I started.
By starting on presents during the summer, I’m able to spread out the effort and cost it takes to make really special gifts. By the time December rolls around, I’m usually at least halfway done with all of my “shopping.”
Since that first year’s foray into canning and pickling, I’ve paid close attention to what gifts have been devoured (jalapeño jelly) and which are still sitting on the shelf a year or two later (dilly beans).
I’m now mindful of what others will actually be excited to receive versus get put away on the shelf to be eaten never. This way, I’m really cutting down on waste and giving a truly consumable gift. Homemade gifts are the very best, unless they become another dust-covered trinket like the last minute drug store purchase.
Homemade spice mixes has surprisingly become one of the favorite homemade food gifts I give, even though they take so much less time than canning and pickling and are definitely less fun to create 🙂
That being said, I love to give gifts that are excitedly received and used, so a large part of my homemade food gifts end up being spice mixes. Bonus – they can be whipped up last minute, like the taco seasoning above. I had a friend’s birthday party to attend that day and wanted to add a little more to her gift. 10 minutes later, it was mixed up and put in a pretty mason jar.
My favorite way to give spice mixes/other presents that don’t need to be canned but still look pretty in mason jars are with reusable mason jar lids. They’re especially great for spice mixes and I use them at home as well.
Just over 5 months until Christmas is here again. I can’t wait.