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DIY gift idea: 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar

Looking for small, yet thoughtful DIY gift ideas for Christmas? Then you’ll love my 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar! It’s budget-friendly and easy to make, with tons of ways to personalize your gift in a jar. And best of all: You’re giving someone 15 minutes of Christmas peace.

DIY gift idea: 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar 2

Never did I try to cram so much into the weeks leading up to Christmas as I do now as a mom. There is a endless list of things I have to do, want to do, should be doing. Writing Christmas cards. Getting thoughtful gifts lined up and perfectly packed. Tastefully decorating our home.

Baking Christmas cookies. Attending Christmas gatherings. Making little DIY thank you gifts for teachers, neighbors, acquaintances. Singing with the kids. Taking a walk through the brightly lit neighborhood. Enjoying Christmas time.

Busy weeks before Christmas

Now that’s already quite a list for just a few weeks. But, it’s not like we’re on a full-board, Butler-assisted, luxury holiday during those weeks. Laundry still needs to be done. Dinners need to be cooked. Groceries must be gotten. School lunches should be packed. Ideally, even the house would get cleaned… some – not a lot.

Looking at the demands that Christmas season is placing on us, it’s really no surprise at all that many consider this to be the most stressful time of the year. So wouldn’t it be nice if someone gave you a break for just 15 minutes?

Something that kindly forced you to slow down, breathe, relax and enjoy the season? If you’d love that, chances are so would the people around you. And that is why I created 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar.

Christmas in a jar as a small gift

The idea is to give someone a complete kit with everything they need to enjoy the Spirit of Christmas even just for a few minutes. What gets most people to calm down while highlighting the Christmas season?

A hot drink and a candle, a treat and a short story to read. These simple components contain everything needed for a moment of self-care during a busy season. That is why this DIY gift idea emanates an incredible sense of tranquillity.

Christmas gift in a jar for neighbors & teachers

Its simplicity makes it a great little thank you gift for neighbors, teachers, the helpful staff at the doctor’s office, and dear friends. This DIY gift is fairly inexpensive, quickly put together and comes with neverending options to personalize it.

However, what I like best about this thoughtful gift in a jar is how it shows appreciation with little risk that the other person will feel obligated to gift back.

Spirit of Christmas in a jar elements laid out on a board

15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar – the essential components

I created printables so you can decorate all your components to match, which you can get for free in my VIP area. However, it is entirely up to you how much time and effort you want to invest. You can keep it really simple with store-bought treats and packaged drinks. Or you can go all out and hand-sew a star-shaped tea bag.

Well, let’s not get carried away… First, let me give you the main components as well as ways to customize your DIY gift in a jar.

#1 Hot drink

My favorite go-to is a tea bag because it’s small, inexpensive, looks fairly pretty and, well, I like tea. But not everyone is into tea, so there are several other options:

  • Instant espresso sticks or ready-made coffee mixes are great for coffee lovers.
  • Chocolate aficionados would probably enjoy a store-bought or homemade hot chocolate mix.

Really, any hot drink that can be whipped up in a few minutes will work well.

#2 Candle & matches

I like the simplicity of a tea candle decorated with washi tape. But maybe you know someone who loves beeswax candles? Then swap some beautifully shaped candles for the tea light.

If you’re giving this gift to someone working in an office or other public space where a real candle wouldn’t be allowed, consider using a small LED candle instead. Matches are optional, but when decorated with washi tape, they sure add to the look of this gift in a jar.

Scented candles would make this 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar experience even more sensual – provided the recipient enjoys those. If you’d like to add some scent without the somewhat artificial smell of scented candles, I have more options for you:

Add a few drops of wild orange essential oil to a dried slice of orange – or cinnamon and clove essential oils to a stick of decorating cinnamon. Or you could use a small cone and add a few drops of pine essential oil.

#3 A treat

The most obvious choice would, of course, be a homemade Christmas cookie. But in the interest of lower stress levels, store-bought cookies will work just as fine. A small gingerbread cookie, decorated cutout cookies or even homemade slice & bake cookies are a great way to treat someone.

For the health-conscious people in your life, a treat wouldn’t have to be a cookie. A small bag of coconut chips makes a great alternative to conventional treats.

Cookies and boxes to use in Spirit of Christmas in a jar presents

#4 Short Christmas story

Christmas is an inherently Christian holiday so naturally, adding the biblical Christmas story might be considered a no-brainer by some. However, a less religious story might add more to the relaxing and pensive mood you are trying to set with this gift. Here are links to a few Christmas-themed stories which you could choose from – or pick your favorite story or poem and print it.

Yield: as many as you need

15 minutes of Christmas in a jar

15 minutes of Christmas in a jar

Here's what you need in order to make the 15 minutes of Christmas in a jar gift. My templates contain labels for matchboxes, the instructions on how to use the 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar, labels for a treat, as well as a wrapper for a regular-sized tea bag. It also comes with a page of pattern you can print to decorate the top of your mason jar lid. Or cut it up whichever way it helps you to cover unsightly packaging.

I'm not much into green and red colors which is why I strayed from the traditional Christmas colors. However, if you prefer a variation of the green-red theme that Christmas has going on, pick the green printable.

If you want to make more than one of these, I suggest you work in batches, doing each step for all jars before moving on to the next. Consider making an extra Christmas in a jar for yourself to enjoy when you need it the most.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • Treat
  • Hot drink
  • Candle & matches
  • Christmas story or poem printout
  • Washi tape
  • A pint-sized mason jar
  • Printables printed on paper or carton (get the free downloads)
  • decoration like dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, small cone, essential oils (optional)
  • large matchbox (optional)
  • gift wrapping & decorating material (optional)


  • Scissors
  • Duct tape or double-sided tape
  • Glue
  • Hole punch
  • Gift ribbon
  • Stapler


  1. Print the templates
    You can print on regular paper or, for a more professional look, on white or cream-colored cardboard. Surprisingly, photo paper works, too, but might be less budget-friendly if you're making a bunch of DIY gifts in a jar.
  2. Cut out the parts you need
    To create a cover for the mason jar lid, use the lid to trace a matching circle on the pattern paper. If you prefer to add the instructions to the lid rather than attaching it with ribbon, trace a circle around the instructions.
  3. Decorate the tea candle and matchbox
    Using washi tape, decorate your candle and small matchbox.
  4. Package treat
    Place your chosen treat in a large matchbox (order them here) or a clear cookie bag. If you choose the bag, use the closure flap template and fold it in half. Now it can be stapled over the opening of the bag or attached with adhesive tape. Decorate the large matchbox using the two covers on my printable. You might want to add matching washi tape to the small sides but that's totally optional.
  5. Package and decorate the drink
    If you're going for the tea bag wrapper, fold it at the dotted line and keep in place with adhesive tape. Place the tea bag inside and close, using a small sticker or piece of washi tape. If this is too fiddly for you, use the template for small matchboxes to cover the tea bag label from both sides. Use the same small matchbox covers to decorate a stick of instant espresso or coffee. A homemade hot chocolate mix can be added to a small ziplock or gift bag and decorated with the cookie bag cover or any of the labels that you like.
  6. Print out the story
    Cut or fold your printed story to fit the size of your jar and roll it up. Secure with a ribbon, sticker, or washi tape.
  7. Decorate the lid
    Glue on the patterned paper circle or instructions. If you'd like to cover the sides of the lid with string, cover them with double-sided sticky tape and then circle the string around neatly.
  8. Assemble your 15 minutes of Christmas in a jar gift
    Starting with the largest component, place each item in the mason jar. Finally, add any extra decoration and close the lid. Decorate with ribbon, washi tape and, if you didn't put it on the lid, attach the instructions. If you'd like, add the gift tag that comes with the printout.
different Spirit of Christmas jars from above

Further variations for Spirit of Christmas jars

If you want to send these gifts by mail, use a gift bag instead of the mason jar. You could even make your own by using the patterned page of the printout. Here’s a link to a video tutorial on how to make gift bags the easy way.

If you have no suitable clear gift bags to use for your treat or drink, you could make your own using clear gift wrapping foil. Simply follow the tutorial for paper gift bags.

I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned the hand-sewn tea bags. If this is your way of showing love, go ahead and follow this tutorial. If you wanted to, you could use a star-shaped template like this one.

For an extra wow effect on your gift in a jar

For an extra wow effect, you could bake matchstick cookies and place them in a large matchbox. Here is a recipe if you are feeling up for it. I must warn you, though: I did this for 40 gifts one year and came to regret it. So only do this if baking is a way for you to wind down.

I hope I was able to show you, that the 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.

My simple balance tip:

If you’re pressed for time, use purchased treats, gift bags, and washi tape to keep things as simple as possible. Keep the more elaborate version for another year. Also, reduce the number of recipients and consider buying something small for a larger crowd.

But no matter what level of effort you choose – these 15 Minutes of Christmas in a jar DIY gifts will most definitely bring lots of joy to the people who receive it.

If you’d love to get more tips that make life easier and more enjoyable, simply sign up for my newsletter This will also give you free access to my VIP area. Within the next few weeks, you’ll see more resources added so be sure to join my list. In addition, I’ll send you simple balancing tips straight to your inbox about 2 times per month – for a little extra encouragement that I don’t share on here.

Find what you need to make this gift:

Floating Star Votive (20 Candles) 100% Pure Beeswax Pillar Candle - Long Lasting, Clean Burning, Buy Local, Made in The USA, Bridal, Wedding
Floating Star Votive (20 Candles) 100% Pure Beeswax Pillar Candle - Long Lasting, Clean Burning, Buy Local, Made in The USA, Bridal, Wedding*
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Ball Mason 'PINT' Jars Wide-Mouth Can or Freeze - 12pk (by Jarden Home Brands) WM 16 Oz
Ball Mason "PINT" Jars Wide-Mouth Can or Freeze - 12pk (by Jarden Home Brands) WM 16 Oz*
Ball wide mouth pint jar; Ideal for preserving jams, jellies sauces, mustard & flavored vinegar
Wilton Clear Treat Bags, 100-Count
Wilton Clear Treat Bags, 100-Count*
Clear bags great for wrapping cake pops, candy and other small treats; Includes silver twist ties for easy gifting
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American Crafts Extreme Value Bakers Twine Variety Pack by | Brights | 24 Pack
American Crafts Extreme Value Bakers Twine Variety Pack by | Brights | 24 Pack*
INCREDIBLE VALUE: 24 premium quality spools of twine at an amazing price.
Printworks Matte Photo Paper for Inkjet Printers, Printable on Both Sides, 8 mil, (5 pack bundle) 150 Sheets, 8.5' x 11' (00544)
Printworks Matte Photo Paper for Inkjet Printers, Printable on Both Sides, 8 mil, (5 pack bundle) 150 Sheets, 8.5" x 11" (00544)*
Smooth, no-gloss finish creates everyday prints rich with detail; Built-in Tru Color Technology ensures vibrant colors and sharp details

Last update on 2024-07-12 at 21:17 / As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Tuesday 9th of April 2019

very informative and awesome gift ideas for Christmas gift. this kind of gift will be liked by all.

Heidi Rabbach

Sunday 9th of June 2019

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment!

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