This year the budget is a little tight. This means I’m cracking down and making some holiday gifts for teachers, neighbors, the mailman and anyone who I ordinarily buy little gifts for. Each dollar adds up if you’re buying store bought gifts.
For the past few years I’ve made my own holiday air fresheners by simmering cranberries, oranges, lemons, limes and cinnamon over the stove. Oh the house smells amazing when I do this! I even reuse the same mixture for up to 4 days just adding some fresh cinnamon or a bay leaf. I’ve seen some recipes floating around Pinterest too and most are pretty similar but I thought I’d share what I made.
Like I said, I’ve made my own mixture for years but I’ve never actually created a recipe with exact measurements of this or that – I just throw together what I have and make many different variations. I found a great recipe and free printables for the Mason jar that I basically adapted to fit what I had in the kitchen cupboard and what was on sale when I went shopping. The key is to be budget friendly and so I didn’t want to buy items that were high priced or that required I run around to five different stores to find special items. I can’t say exactly what the cost per jar is but I have plenty of supplies to make 6 jars and many of the items I already had in my cupboard.
DIY Christmas Potpourri Supplies
- Vintage Pint Size Mason Jars – these are a great starting point for the whole process.
- Fresh fruit which I dehydrated in my oven (directions below) and I found the oranges, apples, limes and lemons reasonably priced while grocery shopping. If you see them on sale I highly recommend grabbing the fruit because you can dehydrate and save for later.
- Spices that were all in stock at the store or that I had in my kitchen. These included cinnamon, bay leaves, all spice ground, whole cloves and nutmeg. Most of the center aisles of the stores have these common baking spices because of Thanksgiving.
- 3 inch cinnamon sticks, which I did not have at home but found for cheap at Home Goods. Do not buy these in your grocery store spice aisle. They are far too costly if you go that route! If you plan ahead or will be using a ton of cinnamon sticks, I suggest ordering from Amazon in bulk.
- Burlap or fabric squares cut into 5″ x 5″ pieces. I found the fabric squares in the clearance aisle at Walmart so this was a score for me. Cheap is always best! I went with the fabric or burlap (burlap I already had).
- Twine or string to attach the fabric or burlap. I went with twine for a more rustic farm look. You could go fancy and do ribbon.
How to Dehydrate Fruit in the Oven
I don’t own a dehydrator but I want one (like this specific one). Maybe for Christmas but in the meantime, I decided to use my oven and it worked like a charm. I sliced the apples, oranges, limes and lemons. I lined four cookie sheets with foil and put a cookie rack on top of the lined foil. I thought the air flowing under the fruit would speed up the drying process and the drips would be caught by the foil. I could fit all four sheets in my oven.
I let the fruit dry at 200 degrees for 5-6 hours. Some of the thinner slices were dry and shriveled at close to 4 ½ hours. At the 4 hours mark I checked the fruit every 15 minutes. You don’t want to do this if you can’t be home for the afternoon to watch the oven. For not having a food dehydrator, my oven worked great and now I’ll be doing this on a regular basis to make apple chips and more!
DIY Christmas Potpourri Recipe for Easy Holiday Gifts
After you have the supplies and your fruit has been dehydrated, it’s time to put your jars together. I pretty much eye ball everything and I’m not exact. I found the recipe from Dandee Designs was a great start but my own recipe was more like this:
- 1 Teaspoon of Allspice Ground – I did not use whole.
- 1 Tablespoon of Whole Cloves (note these are expensive).
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 1 Tablespoon of Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
- 1 Bay Leaf (I had whole on hand so I used these versus the bay leaf pieces.)
- I randomly placed the dried apples, oranges, lemons and limes into the jar. I didn’t have any certain number, I just went with whatever looked nice in the jar.
This recipe is easy to adapt and play with. I highly suggest making it first and simmering it to see how you like the scents mixed together. I’m playing with other varieties of spices and dried fruit that I can’t wait to share with you in the near future.
You’ll also find a wide range of Ball Mason Jar decorations, chalk board paint, gift tags and assorted items at any craft store or from Amazon (shopping from this link supports my site so thank you if you click and buy). For me, I’m going to attach a card that explains how to simmer and add water and the reuse. I always reuse my homemade potpourri!
Please share your favorite DIY gift ideas for the holidays! I’m always looking so leave your pin or link below!