An Inexpensive Holiday Gift I Gave in Tough Money Times. And People Loved It.

Back when Pam and I were dead broke and oh yes, would have been homeless if my parents had not taken us in, we had no real money to give holiday gifts.

Being broke at Christmas can make you feel really crappy. Everyone is exchanging gifts but you have nothing affordable to give. Or do you?

I’ve grown from that day I realized that the last thing I really want from anyone at the holidays is a material gift. Instead it is more meaningful to me to receive a hug, continued friendship, or maybe just time together. The material stuff is all superficial. But I digress.

So that Christmas we were so dead broke we decided to give people a dried bean soup mix that was ready to make. Dried beans are really cheap and the dollar store had the pint jars we could use to put the mix in. We loaded the jars with the bean recipe below, cut out a piece of fabric to cover the lid, tied a ribbon around it and attached the recipe to it. We printed the recipe out with a nice font and rolled it up and attached it to the jar with a ribbon.

Our families and friends knew what our situation was and giving them this gift we made with what little money we had and the love invested in it made many remember that gift to this days.

I’ve added the present cost for all the required items and it comes to $23.95. And for $2.40 for each gift, that’s a great deal for you and a great gift for the person you give it to.

Mixture for the Jars

1 pound barley pearls – $1.50
1 pound dried black beans – $1.97
1 pound dried red beans – $2.31
1 pound dried pinto beans – $1.50
1 pound dried navy beans – $1.29
1 pound dried Great Northern Beans – $1.29
1 pound dried lentils – $1.39
1 pound dried split peas – $1.29
1 pound dried black-eyed peas – $1.79

See also  My Mother's Holiday Club Account

Combine all beans. Divide into ten 2-cup packages for gift giving and present with the following recipe for Nine Bean Soup. Prepare mix according to Nine Bean Soup Recipe. Yield: ten 2-cup packages.

A new nine pack of Kerr Mason jars is about $9.62. Yes, you are one jar short on the pack. Improvise.

Pouring Beans  Mixing Beans

Recipe to Attach to Jars

Nine Bean Soup

2 cups beans – soak overnight in water 2-3 inches above beans.
2 quarts of water
1 pound of ham
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 – 16oz can diced tomatoes undrained
1 – 10oz can tomato & green chilies undrained

Add first 5 ingredients to dutch oven. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 more minutes stirring occasionally.

Jars Ready  Finished Jar


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1 thought on “An Inexpensive Holiday Gift I Gave in Tough Money Times. And People Loved It.”

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