a gift at any other price would taste as sweet

strawberry jam

 jump to the recipe

strawberry jam recipe

I was sitting in my friend’s apartment in Montreal, chatting with the girls about the many bridal showers, baby showers, and other opportunities for gift giving around the corner. It’s not that we weren’t excited for all these upcoming happy occasions, but they were coming seemingly all at once and at such a volume that it was getting difficult to think creatively. One of the girls voiced an idea. “You could make something…”

We mulled this over. We all liked the idea, in theory. But the one nagging thought in my mind was, What if they think I’m cheap?

With the onslaught of gift cards available from shops, theaters, restaurants, and online stores, it has become mandatory to put a price on your gift, down to the cent. Now don’t get me wrong, I love gift cards. But has the pressure to be generous taken some of the value out of generosity?

homemade gift ideas

The other week some friends came to our home here in Ecuador. One of the girls was in tears over something. She didn’t want to talk about it, but what happened was not the point. Not as to how to react, that is. I wanted to give her a gift. A gift that would be simple, homemade, and filled with reassurance and love. The furthest thing from my mind was, Will she think I’m cheap?

I made her a pot of jam. It was simple, easy to make, and very inexpensive. But it was certainly not cheap.

There are many impulses that are better not to act on. An impulse to give, however, should never be ignored. And maybe, if we can manage to take some of the pressure off ourselves to give beyond our means, we will act on it more readily, and more happily.

homemade gift ideas, strawberry jam recipe

 
strawberry jam recipe (makes one gift jar)
ever so slightly adapted from dinner: a love story

2 cups whole strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
juice of one small lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a small pot. Bring to a boil, and let the mixture froth and liquids reduce for a few minutes. Remove from heat and wait for it to come to room temperature before jarring (in a lovely clean jar, of course) and refrigerating. It makes a looser, fresher jam, so plan to gift soon and eat sooner!

classic simple strawberry jam recipe

Give what you can, when you are moved to. Give willingly, give often, and give from your open, generous heart.

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23 Responses to a gift at any other price would taste as sweet

  1. I feel the same way when it comes to homemade gifts. I always make people a birthday cake. I find that at Christmas time, homemade gifts are more appreciated than for something like a birthday. Your jam looks stunning 🙂

  2. Emma says:

    Very lovely. I have gifted jam or other canned goods for most of the recent events I’ve been a part of where gifts were expected. People always seem quite appreciative, which is nice.

    Lovelovelovelove strawberry jam!

  3. A homemade gift is a great thing to turn to to help uplift a friend. Sometimes I am stumped in the instance of I want to help but am not sure what I can do or say, so this post does make me think. That strawberry jam would be a welcome sight for breakfast-yum!

  4. This is so touching. And I think I may just start doing this. It really can be a stressful thing to ‘one-up’ yourself from the last gift you gave- or- to feel in competition with the other gifters (while you love them all- you just KNOW there will be some who ‘give’ more than others because they can)

    Thanks for this wake-up call. I appreciate it Kales 🙂 xox

  5. myfudo says:

    I love receiving homemade gifts too just as I enjoy giving homemade gifts to my friends. This is a real nice recipe to try.

  6. Nothing beats thoughtful, homemade gifts. Especially for us people who aren’t talented enough to make them ourselves!

  7. Kale, this is such a lovely and moving post. I would rather receive a homemade gift over a store bought gift anytime. I bet you brightened your friend’s day with this amazing jam recipe.

    XO,

    Jennie

  8. kankana says:

    My mixed berry jam is getting over. Time to make another batch 🙂

  9. So, tonight I took dinner to a neighbor who’s sick. It’s what I do best. And she cried.

    I always say, food feeds the soul, not just the body.

    LOVE this post AND the jam.

  10. I love this blog post. You really remind me of what’s truly important. It’s the caring behing the giving, not the monetary value. Thanks for the reminder, and jam your jam is lovely!

  11. Hmm that’s a good point! I never thought of it as being cheap, I always thought of it as a nice gesture as I’ve always loved anything home made given to me. I wonder if friends think that I am being cheap?

    • kale says:

      Probably not…but that was kind of my point. So often we limit ourselves based on our own perceptions, not always reality. I think it’s great you already have that habit!

      It’s not always possible to do a homemade gift, but if there is time for it, I think the effort and thought that went into it will show through. Not that you want homemade gifts to become perfunctory either…we could end up facing a Chandler (Friends) situation, as he stretches the hanger to pass as a gift, “Yes, honey, I made it myself.” 😉

  12. Kim Bee says:

    This is not only delish but adorable. I’d be happy to walk away with one of these at any function.

  13. Brittany says:

    I love this!! Adorable gift, this is surely something I would appreciate more than words could describe. I go through jelly/jam like it’s water. I eat so much I really need to try making my own!

  14. Homemade gifts are always the best because they come from the heat. A nice jar of jam from a friend would definitely warm my heart.

  15. Bryan says:

    The strawberries are coming out in this part of the world, I know what I’ll do with them! Looks great.

  16. I love this post. So poignant. And I think these are the best kinds of gifts-ones that come from love <3

  17. I love making gifts, and this looks great. I love that it’s a manageable amount of jam. Great recipe!

  18. kyleen says:

    This is so touching! I think that gifts from the heart are the best kind.

  19. donna picard says:

    I just stumbled onto this post and I love it and the simple ingredients for the jam, and you are right it is the “little things” that often please the most.

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