Friday, December 03, 2021

Christmas in a can


Yesterday I promised to share about my second favorite handmade gift that I've ever given.  So today, I'm going to share my original inspiration for this gift -- I wrote about it on my Christmas blog in 2007 -- and then tomorrow I will share how I adapted the idea.  I'm sure some of my readers will be interested in the first idea as well as the second, so that's why I'm including both.

Many years ago I came across this idea on a site I was visiting. I wanted to do this for my married kids and their families. It was several years before I actually got around to doing anything about it, and my results ended up being quite different from the original idea I had found, but thought others might enjoy hearing about this early Christmas gift anyway.

The original idea begins with a clean, unused, gallon paint can. You can cover the outside with Christmas themed kraft paper or any Christmas wrapping paper. You can make a label with clip art and a nice font that reads “Christmas in a Can” and add “Packed with care” or whatever else you like. You can make a similar label, only round, for the top of the can.

Then the can is packed with items to get a family in the Christmas spirit. Suggestions include:

* Microwave popcorn
* Wassail or spiced cider mix
* Hot chocolate mix
* Candy canes
* Cookie cutters
* Cookie mix
* Ornaments
* A short Christmas story or memory, printed in a neat font with clip art, folded in half and rolled up like a scroll.

For the microwave popcorn, you can make holiday wrappers that fold right around the packet of popcorn. Same with individual packets of hot chocolate or spiced cider mix. If using larger amounts of hot chocolate or a dry wassail mix, it was suggested to package 1 to 2 cups of these in the holiday printed plastic bags you can buy and staple a card stock label, with instructions, to the top.

Items in packets will obviously fit in the paint can a lot more easily than items in boxes or jars.

This site also suggested including a gingerbread cookie mix, which is simply a spice cake mix taken out of the box but left in its packet. Then you staple a card stock label to the top, with these instructions:

Mix one medium egg, 2 Tblsp. water, and 1/4 cup soft shortening with cookie mix. Makes a stiff dough. Mix well, chill dough. Roll out on floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375º for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and decorate as desired.

You could probably think of other ideas. When you finish packing the can, place the lid on top and give to the family of your choice.

I thought this was a really neat idea for a family gift!  It would also be great to adapt for a college student or possibly even for someone in assisted living or a nursing home.   I hope someone else will have fun with this idea.


  1. What a fun creative Christmas gift idea!

  2. I love, love homemade and especially food ideas as those are so much safer regardless of of different taste in decorating and collecting! We all love food!

  3. That is a great idea! I love it. You could also use those Christmas popcorn tins that may be left over from the previous year if you don't have any gallon paint cans. They would hold a lot of stuff too, and you wouldn't necessarily have to cover the outside since they usually have nice Christmas designs anyway. Maybe just cover the lid so they don't think they are getting just popcorn!
    This is a fun idea. Thank you!


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