Budget Friendly Christmas Gifts

It’s Christmas time! My husband I are a part of a “Bible Study” group at our Church that is called, Grow Group. We do study the Bible but it’s not a curriculum based group. This group is where we do Christian life together. Every Tuesday, we get together over a light snack, prayer and some deep discussion on living life as a Christian. Sometimes it’s rehashing the Sunday message or recent events but we are always opening our Bibles’, talking with each other and praying for one another always. In and out of Tuesday get-togethers. So, of course being Christmas time I like to give gifts to everyone and  that sometimes isn’t always feasible. God, of course, will always make a way.

Unbeknownst Preparation

Over the summer, I had the brilliant idea that I was going to be my middle daughter’s room parent. I was pre planning projects for the kids. I have been my older daughters room parents many times but never my middle for whatever reason. I figured with three lil diva’s I need to get a head start so I won’t feel overwhelm. That is actually my game plan in anything parenting. Start early so I can get a head start if not, I just can’t keep up. I went onto….(any guess?) Yep, Pinterest and found some really cute Hot Chocolate Snowmen crafts.

I had a slight problem I made my own baby food for my now toddler when she first started eating so, I had no baby food jars. I put out on Freecycle: “Wanted Baby Food Jars.” Freecyle: Another, awesome website for those who like to upcycle, declutter, or just get stuff for free, which I fall under all those categories. A wonderful women named Shari contacted me asking what I needed baby food jars for and how many? She was happy to save her jars for me.

Months later, Shari had collected over 100 baby food jars. The only thing was I had chickened out in September thinking that with a new toddler and two other divas. My poor middle child would again have to be slighted and I could not be room parent. Then, I got a message from Shari to come get my jars because who wants 100 baby food jars hanging out at their house.  I picked them up and stored them in my crafts cabinet where I have empty Oatmeal containers, toilet/paper towel rolls, shoe boxes, egg cartons. Quite the organized collection of stuff to do on a rainy day or last minute 6th grade diorama my daughter neglected to tell me about till 2 days before. It’s not like a hoarder’s paradise but I do have quite the stockpile.

Once, I got the invite and the snowmen popped up again it was like predestined crafters fate. I had a plan to make them for my grow group a little crafty token of the Bolton’s love. (I also made a few extras for my daughters teachers.) There are 17 people in my grow group and I only needed 34 jars more research on Pinterest led me to cute little Mug Cakes. I thought that it would be perfect Hot Chocolate and Mug Cakes and the DIY adventure began. I tried to do it with the lil divas but the perfectionist Mommy in me shamefully put them on packaging duty.


You’re going to need a few items, the reason it was so cheap for me I had all of these items available.

  • Black Spray Paint
  • White Spray Paint
  • Festive Fabric ~2 yds.
  • 2 Baby Food jars with lids per snowman (or 3 if you have the round Gerber food jars)
  • 1 Baby Food jars with lids per mug cake
  • Hole Puncher
  • Black Card Stock
  • Cupcake liner
  • Modge Podge
  • Black Puffy Paint
  • Orange Puffy Paint
  • Tacky Glue


Hot Chocolate Jars

  • Canister of Hot Chocolate
  • Bag of Marshmallows



Mug Cakes

  • Angel Food Cake Mix
  • Spice Cake Mix
  • Devil Food Cake Mix
  • Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice Chips


Mug Cake Recipes

Vanilla Cinnamon Spice Mug Cake

  • 1 Tbsp Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Tbsp Spice Cake
  • ½ Tbsp Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon Chips (or Pumpkin if you can find them)
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder


Add ¼ tsp of Vinegar (makes it light and fluffy and not dense)

Add 2-3 Tbsp of water (till moist)


Triple Chocolate Mug Cake

  • 1 Tbsp Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Tbsp Devils Food Cake
  • ½ Tbsp Instant Chocolate Pudding
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate Chips
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder


Add ¼ tsp of Vinegar (makes it light and fluffy and not dense)

Add 2-3 Tbsp of water (till moist)


  1. Spray Paint Lids:
  • Black for Snowman Hats
  • White for the Snowman Bellies
  1. Once Lids are Dry Tacky Glue Jar to tops of White Lids
  2. Hole Punch Black Card Stock and Modge Podge dots to bottom of Baby food jar for “Snowman buttons”, let dry.
  3. Puffy Paint Snowman Eyes & Mouth Black and Nose with Orange Puffy Paint, let dry.
  4. Use Cupcake Liners to trace Circles on black card stock (for snowman hats) and use lid to trace inner circle. Once Black lids are dry slide “donut looking circle” onto baby food lid.

snowman hat

  1. Fill top jar with Marshmallows and bottom jar with hot chocolate and screw lids on to jars.
  2. Cut 12’’x 3’’ strips of festive fabric and tie around snowman for scarf.

Mug Cakes

  1. Use cupcake liners trace and cut circles out of festive fabric;
  2. Tacky Glue circles onto lids and hold in place with rubber band till dry.
  3. Place Mug Cake ingredients in layers. Place dry lid on

You can use this download for instruction labels. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MUG CAKE INSTRUCTIONS

Place Mug Cake instructions in bag so that your gift receiver has “baking” instructions.

I also placed the Snowman and jars into clear goody bags and using curling ribbon to tie. Also, placed a Christmas Card in bag. Merry Christmas! I hope that you enjoyed my little Christmas DIY Project.



Original Post 12.17.15

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