10+ Christmas crafts you can make with a mason jar

The classic mason jar has been a classic essential canning and pickling supply for over a century, as farmers and gardeners sought to preserve their produce to enjoy over the long winter. Their popularity persists as modern farmhouse style aficionados use them for everything from holding flower bouquets to votive candles. The quart jars can be ordered by the dozen for less than $30, the smaller jars allow for individualized gift giving (think coworkers and classmates) and the vintage appeal they lend to a home’s interior -- or exterior, for that matter -- is considerable.
Mason jars are particularly charming when are incorporated into holiday vignettes and can be used in scores of ways. Whether recruited as receptacles for holiday treats or other festive uses, the glass vessels offer nearly unlimited ways for crafty revelers to express themselves. These projects will test the wills of their makers: They may be intended as gifts, but ultimately they wind up in the crafter's “permanent collection.”
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This little light of mine
Mason jars as candle holders hold infinite possibilities – votive candles fit snugly into smaller jars, while pillar candles work in taller ones. Red, green and metallic candles ramp up the Christmas spirit while keeping the scheme monochromatic and make an elegant centerpiece or mantel accent. Keep it simple or wrap jars with raffia, felt or patterned grosgrain ribbon for a richer effect.
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Incredible edibles
Mason jars make pretty containers for parfait style edible holiday gifts, both sweet and savory. Layer sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows for a “just add water” hot chocolate mix, or beans, dried onions and spices for a comforting chili. To paraphrase a familiar adage, the fastest way to a gift recipient’s heart is still the stomach.
The scenic route
A holiday tablescape’s impact is enhanced without excessive sweat equity (after all, the meal is the real star of the evening) by the simple addition of a half-dozen mason jars of various sizes. Simply fill with tiny ornaments, bells, or pine sprigs and berries, screw the tops back on, and set in a row or randomly for a more casual vibe. There’s nothing like a pleasing centerpiece to keep guests lingering long after dessert.
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Altruistic idea
A mason jar is the main ingredient of a lovely Christmas tradition inspired by Jason Wright’s book entitled "The Christmas Jar." The idea is to collect loose change and place it in the jar over the course of a year. Over that amount of time, $100 or more can be amassed -- and any amount can help someone in need. The recipient of the jar can be a friend who has a financial crisis or a total stranger. The point is that the giver must never be known. Whether placed in a mailbox or dropped off at a shelter, it’s the epitome of holiday heart.
Christmas tree beautifier
Use small mason jars for this project, and start by drilling a small hole through the lid of the jar. Take a length of holiday ribbon, slip through the hole and tie a knot, then tie a bow in the top portion for hanging. Fill the jar with ribbon, tinsel or peppermints, twist the cap back on and hang.
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Photographic memory
Sepia-toned photographic images never fail to elicit warm and nostalgic feelings. This project is simple but packs a meaningful punch. Print copies of pictures of Christmases past cut to the height of the mason jar, and carefully place in the jar (photo will conform to the curved shape of the jar).
Theme theory
A mason jar can beautifully unify a grouping of small gifts. A manicure-themed jar would contain nail polish, emery boards, nail scissors, nail decals and other gifts, or a reading-themed jar’s contents could include a bookmark, bookstore gift certificate and perhaps even a pair of socks with Shakespeare’s visage on them. Simply match a jar’s contents with the recipient's passion, and they’ll be touched by the thought.
Summer in winter
Mason jars figure prominently in a gift that’s certain to be loved by any committed cook. Buy a basil, rosemary or dill start and some potting soil. When planted in a mason jar, it’s a practical and pretty gift. Better yet, give the recipient several, and there’s a ready-made winter kitchen herb garden.
Cookie keeper
After the cookie swap, have a mason jar decorating session. Hot glue foam snowflakes, bands of glitter, ribbon or fabric to jars, and place a mix of Christmas cookie classics, from sugar cookies to macaroons, into the jars. Christmas gifts for neighbors and workmates? Check.
The simple life
How about using mason jars as they were intended? Fill with homemade jam, fudge sauce or spiced nuts. This gift proves that there is beauty in simplicity.
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Heavy metal
Another striking table centerpiece idea is simple but dramatic. Flowers placed in mason jar vases that are spray painted gold or silver infuse a holiday dinner with glamour and glitz. This makes an ideal hostess gift in a season of party after party.
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