“Every gift of noble origin
Is breathed upon by Hope’s perpetual breath.”
The most attractive jars for jams, jellies and preserves are simple mason jars, which lend an old-fashioned charm. You can also use mason jars for a bevy of gifts other than preserves. I keep them on hand in a variety of sizes in order to send soup home with a friend, or to package flavored popcorns, nuts, well-dried fruits, homemade pancake mix, granola and the like. These traditional jars look even more lovely when their metal caps are embellished in an attractive manner. Boxes of mason jars are available in a variety of sizes at grocery or hardware stores, and are often quite reasonably priced. Or look for them at thrift shops, flea markets and yard sales. Keep in mind that if you will be using them for actual canning purposes they should have no chips or cracks, no matter how small, especially at the top of the rim.
APOTHECARY JARS: These may be collected throughout the year and added to your GIFT PANTRY™ and used to present gifts of food, or store-bought candies. (They're lovely for repacking candies and nuts bought in bulk.) I have presented this type of jar filled with individually wrapped chocolates and hard candies, as well as firm homemade cookies, sturdy fudge squares (you may wish to wrap these in cellophane or waxed paper beforehand), and nuts (flavored or plain). With an attractive ribbon around the rim, and a pretty tag hanging from the lid, you have a lovely token of your friendship to give to a neighbor, friend, hostess, or to include as part of a gift basket.
LACE DOILIES: Create a charming, finished gift package by tying lace doilies onto the tops of mason jars, using raffia, silken cord, or satin ribbon. You can easily make your own lace doilies by cutting rounds of lace from scraps you have on hand. Note: You can hem the raw edges, using a fray-reducing product (Fray Check works nicely) , or sew (or use fabric glue) satin binding along the edges.
Excerpt from Frugal Luxuries by the Season, Bantam, 2000