Homemade Holidays: Affordable gift ideas for high school students

Jayne Durnin/Staff Writer

Chocolate Cookie Mix in a Jar

This gift is simple to make and not only looks great, but it also holds a delicious recipe for chocolate chip cookies. For this gift, you will need:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 wide-mouth 1-quart Mason jar
1 gift tag to write the baking instructions
Anything you want to decorate the jar
Mix together the baking soda, salt, and flour. Layer the ingredients attractively. Start with the flour mixture on the bottom, then brown sugar, white sugar, and finally, top it off with the chocolate chips. Or you can layer it in any order you would like.
On the tag write the following baking instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Empty cookie mix into large bowl. Blend thoroughly. Mix in 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine, one egg, slightly beaten and one teaspoon vanilla. Shape into walnut size balls, and place two inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
3. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Cool five minutes on baking sheet, then move to wire racks.
Also you can include a personal message or greeting.

Homemade Ornaments

Ornaments make great presents for the holidays, but they can mean much more if you make them yourself and personalize them. For this gift, you will need:
1 cup salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup water
assorted acrylic paints
sparkles/sequins (optional)
cookie cutters: snowflakes, Christmas trees, snow men
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Mix together the salt, flour and water until a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour and continue to do so until stickiness is gone. Don’t add too much flour to avoid drying out the dough. Roll the dough flat. Use cookie cutters or a butter knife to cut out shapes. Poke a hole at the top so you can hang them when they are finished.
Bake for approximately 2-2.5 hours, flipping the cookies after about an hour so they do not curl. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Add your special touch by decorating.

Burnt CD

Everyone enjoys receiving a burnt CD. Whether it’s holiday music or just a mix of your favorite songs, this is a inexpensive and simple gift for someone.

One way to do this is to copy a CD that you already have and copy it to a computer with a CD burner and copy the songs onto a blank CD. If you have a big collection of songs in your computer’s music player, you can make a mix from those songs if you know what music the gift receiver likes. For iTunes users, a good way to find suitable songs is to use the Genius application. Find at least one song that you know they’ll love and Genius will automatically find other songs that are similar to that one. Once your CD is finished, it’s a good idea to decorate it with permanent markers and personalize it.

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