DIY -- Triple the Holiday Goodness!

Happy New Year, Travellers! Hope your holidays were filled with fun, food and family (and maybe a little bit of baked brie -- yum! Good thing the holidays are a once in a year kind of thing, no?)

We stayed in our pjs more days than not and took a two week break from deadlines, schedules and apparently, Canada's Food Guide.

No matter, things are back on track now and everyone's ready for 2012.

Before our holidays, though, our house was as crazy as the next, with long gift lists, craft shows, pagents and parties to attend. Here's one way we combined gift giving with some family time -- and as an added bonus, ended up with a few stand-by hostess gifts on hand.

We made holiday cookies-in-a-jar.

First, we found our recipe. (I got my copy from a magazine, but their website didn't have the recipe.) Then, we bought a dozen pint jars (mason jars). Then ... we bought our ingredients. I actually had the kids help with the math so we'd have enough for twelve batches.

I set up an assembly line with oldest kids handling flour mixture, me funneling cocoa in over top and the younger two carefully pouring in the larger, less messy ingredients. (We washed hands and used utensils and funnels throughout. There may have been some eating of stray M&Ms afterward. I cannot confirm this, though.)

We designed tags with the recipe and required "wet" ingredients (eggs, butter, vanilla) and assembled our jars, wraps and tags.

On the Tuesday before school ended, out they went in backpacks and the kids came home thrilled with their teachers' reactions. Everyone thought the colourful and layered jars looked beautiful.

The leftover jars? They didn't last long, either.

Twice we had kind neighbours and friends drop by with little gifts and cards, and the kids immediately knew their go-to cookies in a jar were on hand to reciprocate.

(Oh, and for the record, they were really yummy. We had to test them out before gifting them, of course!)

If you'd like to download a copy of the tags I created, you can do that here. (Just print out on 8.5 x 11" heavier card stock and trim.) Happy baking!