- Homemade Jar Mixes – Everybody loves homemade gifts, right? It’s tangible display of your love through time, effort and decision making, and we all know how hard that is! But why not try these simple recipe in a jar mixes for your loved ones? They’re sure to appreciate it. Cheap and easy, delicious and festive! Simply layer the ingredients in a jar and decorate with a bow or ribbon and your gift is ready to go.
Hot Cocoa in a Jar – The following recipe yields 15 cups which can be packages in 15 small canning jars and divvied up amongst friends and family. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and, if you’d like, add a twist by crushing candy canes and mixing them with the cocoa powder in a food processor or by using a flavored non-dairy creamer, then store in an airtight container. Don’t forget to add mix-ins such as marshmallows, sprinkles, candy canes, mini chocolate chips or treats like biscotti for dipping and anything else you may think of to add a little something extra to this warm, winter drink.
10 cups dry milk powder
4 ¾ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¾ powdered non-dairy creamer
To make a cup of hot cocoa add ¾ cup hot water or milk into a cup with 3 tablespoons of the cocoa mix.
Cookies in a Jar – Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl then place this mixture in a 1-quart jar, layering the rest of the ingredients in the listed order. Remember to press down firmly using a utensil with a wide, flat bottom after applying each ingredient. You can use additional ingredients or substitute in place of the chocolate chips such as candies, sprinkles and nuts.
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ tablespoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
Remember to include a card with the recipe and instructions: Preheat oven to 375° F. Beat ¾ cup softened butter or margarine, 1 large egg, and ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until well blended. Add cookie mix and mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then move to wire racks to cool completely. This makes about a dozen cookies.
Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar – In a 2 quart glass jar layer the following ingredients from the bottom of the jar up:
¼ cup red lentils
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 ½ tbsp. chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. dried dill weed or dill seed
1/8 tsp. of celery seed
1/8 tsp. of garlic powder
1 cup of medium egg noodles
1 bay leaf
Include the following instructions on a card for preparation: Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Stir in jar of soup mix. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Discard bayleaf and stir in 1 ½ cups of frozen corn or mixed vegetables and 2 cups of cooked and diced chicken or turkey. Simmer for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender and meat is heated through.
- Massage/Spa Day - Is your giftee is in need of a day devoted to relaxation and rejuvenation? If so then perhaps a gift card for a massage or to a spa is just what you need. Many spas have holiday specials and gift card packaging, such as at Massage Envy, where gift cards come in a delicate purple gauze bag with a lavender candle. T. Carlton’s Spalon in Smithtown, Amethyst Rose in Islip, Rain Spa & Boutique in Syosset, Red Bell Day Spa in Hicksville and Spa 190 in Mineola are all terrific spa options or use SpaFinder.com to locate the spa closest to you.
- Restaurant Gift Cards – Restaurant gift cards are perfect to allow your giftee to enjoy a special night out distressing after the holidays. Many restaurants have special discounts and promotions with the purchase of a gift card. Check out Restaurant.com for deals or browse over the following suggestions.
The Cheesecake Factory awards purchasers with a free slice of cheesecake for everything $25 they spend.
TGIFridays offers $5 back for every $25 spent on a gift card.
Ruby Tuesday gives a $15 bonus card to those who purchase a $50 gift card.
- Wine - Much of Long Island is dotted with vineyards so why not take a last minute trip out of the beautiful East End and pick up a bottle at one of the local wineries. LIWines.com contains a list of more than 40 wineries, most of which reside on the North Fork of Long Island, complete with descriptions, locations and hours. You may also consider wine accessories, such as wine opener sets, stoppers, and stemware charms.
- Lottery Tickets/Scratch Offs – Lottery tickets and scratch offs are inexpensive gifts that, in the end, may be worth millions. Who wouldn’t love a chance to win big? There are a variety of tickets out there so you can pick just the perfect one and they work great as stocking stuffers.
- Gift Cards/Certificates – When it comes down to it, you can never go wrong with a gift card or gift certificate. Whatever the receiver’s passion may be, there is a store or service dedicated to that very passion. If your giftee is a movie buff why not get them a gift card for Netflix or one of the many movie theaters on Long Island? Visit moviefone.com to find theaters in your area. For the big spender, a gift card to the Tanger Outlets, located in Riverhead and Deer Park, or to the local malls (who generally offer gift cards that are useable in any store within the mall) is the perfect gift of guiltless spending. For the avid reader we suggest gift cards to stores such as Book Revue in Huntington or Barnes and Noble, which has over a dozen locations all over the island.
- Magazine Subscription - A magazine subscription is the gift that gives all year round. Go to your local book store or news stand and purchase a magazine that mirrors your giftee’s interests. Order a subscription to the magazine in the person’s name and wrap the copy you purchased or place it in a festive holiday bag to give to them on Christmas day.
- Give the Gift of Music – Sometimes it’s hard to guess what music people are into these days and that’s ok. With a music download card your intended receiver will be able to make their own selections. This also saves you from getting the receiver something they already own. iTunes gift cards are available for purchase at many large retail stores.
- Gas Cards – With gas prices reaching record highs this season any driver of a vehicle will praise your thoughtfulness when you hand them a prepaid card guaranteeing that a tank of gas, or at least a portion of one, is already covered. This makes for another great stocking stuffer.
- Give to Charity – Whether making donations of doing volunteer work, charity is always an acceptable gift. Visit the following links to donate in a loved one’s name or adopt an animal in need of a loving home this season.
Local Volunteering and Donations:
- Island Harvest
- Long Island Cares
- Make-A-Wish Foundation, Suffolk Chapter
- National Cancer Center
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Long Island Chapter
- Newsday Charities Help-A-Family Campaign
- Ronald McDonald House of Long Island
- United Breast Cancer Foundation
Local Adoption Shelters:
- Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center
- Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center
- Kent Animal Shelter
- North Shore Animal League
- Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center