This was one of my favorite and most “loved” gifts that I gave this holiday season, and it’s surprise – not all that expensive! It has such a home-made and “loved” feeling to it while it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money, and it’s one of those gifts you could give to people you know, but people you may not know well enough to buy other gifts (teachers, mail persons, co-workers, distant relatives, etc.)
It’s hot cocoa in a beautiful jar! It’s not hard to do at all, and it’s simple to put together, and with some basic steps, it’s enjoyable for your recipient to use, too. If you’re feeling super lazy, you can buy a giant container of hot cocoa from the grocery store for about $4. However, I really recommend that you use your favorite home-made hot cocoa recipe to make the hot cocoa to put into these jars. Here are some of the recipes I found: homemade hot cocoa recipes.
- Hot cocoa (store-bought or home-made)
- Airtight container
- Mini marshmallows
- Ziploc or other plastic, airtight bags
- Twine or ribbon for tying
- Small bottle of something delicious (alcohol, syrup flavoring, etc.)
Once you have your hot cocoa, they can go into your glass jars. You could add these into cute plastic tumblers or anything that has a lid to keep the cocoa from going everywhere. I ended up with a giant tray of Ball canning jars that I got at Wal-Mart, but you could easily find some cheap tumblers or other glasses to use with your present. If you know your recipient well, you could even customize the glass to suit their personality! (Personally, I wouldn’t be much of a fan of a Ball canning jar, but I’d love a cute tumbler with a design on it!) Just remember that your container should be airtight, and if it’s not, put the cocoa and other ingredients inside smaller bags to ensure that everything stays fresh.
Mini marshmallows are the next key. You could totally just place them on top, but then how are people going to get at the hot cocoa without making a mess of the marshmallows? Instead, I placed all of the marshmallows into a Ziploc bag, put the Ziploc bag into the jar itself while it was STILL OPEN, and then squeezed the air out of the bag as I squished it into the jar. As you can see from the pictures, the bag wasn’t visible at all after the jar was shut. You can definitely try and seal up the marshmallow bag before putting it into the jar, but I found that it still left some remaining air that made it hard to stuff into the jar. I took this random picture to show how I had stuffed the Ziploc baggie into the top of the jar.
For your final touch, you can add a small bottle of alcohol tied onto the jar with some decorative twine or ribbon. I chose Bailey’s for this, but anything that would mix well (Marshmallow Vodka, etc.) would work fine. If you’re using a non-canning jar, you might have to get creative as to how you tie it onto the gift. Canning jars have the perfect shape that keeps the twine and small bottle in place once tied, though. For an under-21 version, try some coffee syrup or flavoring syrup. Torani makes adorable little bottles of their syrups about the same size as a tiny Bailey’s bottle, and during the holidays, they have ones that would be perfect for adding to cocoa like Peppermint.
If you feel up to it, you could also write out or print out a small, home-made tag to attach to the twine that gives directions on how to use your cocoa. How much water/milk should the person use with your cocoa?
For those with food or ingredient concerns, you can totally make a different version. Organic/vegan mini marshmallows are totally a thing, and it’s possible to make hot cocoa mix in an organic variety. If you do a special one along with everyone else’s gifts, though, make sure to make a special mark so you don’t accidentally give the wrong type to the wrong person.