Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Christmas Jars

***Edited to Add: If any of you get the urge to pass this idea along, please feel free to do so. As I said, I "borrowed" the thought from Kathy at Remembering the Moments and she got the idea from a message board. I read her post and thought "oh what a great idea", but didn't think of blogging about it myself until she responded to my comment and actually suggested I could do so. Thank you, Kathy!!!

Kathy, over at Remembering the Moments, did a post the other day about the book Christmas Jars. A brief synopsis of the book is as follows:

In the book, a journalist happens upon a human interest story that winds up teaching her lessons about love and forgiveness and renewing her own faith in human kindness. On Christmas Eve, twenty-something Hope Jensen is quietly grieving the recent loss of her adoptive mother when her apartment is robbed. The one bright spot in the midst of Hope's despair is a small jar full of money someone has anonymously left on her doorstep. Eager to learn the source of this unexpected generosity, Hope uses her newswoman instincts to find other recipients of "Christmas jars," digging until her search leads her to the family who first began the tradition of saving a year's worth of spare change to give to someone in need at the holiday. (The above information was taken from a review by Publishers Weekly on Amazon)

More than just it being a Christmassy type story though, what really grabbed my attention was the actual concept of having a Christmas jar. I think it's a wonderful way to touch someone's life during the holidays. When I think back on all the hard candy Christmases before I met Randey when I couldn't afford anything special for Nicholas (and later Des, when she came along), I ache a little bit inside at how alone I often times felt. Luckily, I did have people to help me. My mom, Aunt Ginger, Uncle Mike, my grandparents, my sister and brother-in-law...all these people (and others) reached out and helped to give my children some happy memories of opening presents on Christmas morning. And even after Randey and I were married, when Kaleb and Jacob came along, we had some pretty tough Christmases then, too. Again, we had family that reached out to help us. But, after hearing of these Christmas jars, I thought how wonderful it would have been to have received the kindness of strangers. The thing about family helping is that sometimes, you think they probably feel obligated to help you. Do you know what I mean? I'm not saying they didn't help out of love, but sometimes I had to wonder if they felt like there would never come a time when we didn't need their help to provide things for our kids. I think that to have had a stranger, a total and complete stranger, reach out to us during the holidays would have felt...oh, I don't know how to say it...like someone out there saw us for what we were...a young family struggling to give our children happy memories of that most special holiday. And that someone decided to help us with that. Not because they felt sorry for us or because they knew us or because they wanted recognition for making our lives just a tad bit brighter, but because they just wanted to give joy. Period. I don't mean to lessen the love and the help given to us by people we knew. I'm merely trying to explain how it might have felt to have a stranger look on us with kindness at a time when the world could feel awfully big while we felt awfully small. Anyway...this concept of the Christmas jars has captured my attention in a big way. I read that some people are even giving a copy of the book along with an empty jar to people on their Christmas list so that they, too, might come to understand and participate in what could grow to be a treasured Christmas tradition for their families. Me and mine will be talking this over. I just have to convince Randey that all his change should go towards a complete stranger instead of towards his "mad money" stash. lol He's kind of a softie at heart, though, so I don't think it'll take much convincing. And Kaleb's always generous of spirit so he's a shoo in, too. Now Jake...Jake may take some talking to....lol

Look what I saw when I turned around after having checked my e-mail. Sydney the Wonder Dog had followed me upstairs...that part's normal...but he usually curls up on his giant pillow or on the couch. This morning, though, I guess the baby Vader and baby Yoda looked like good company because that's where he decided to spend his morning. Is this not the cutest dog in the whole wide world? Yes, he is. Say it. Yes, Sydney the Wonder Dog is the cutest dog in the whole wide world. There you go. It's good to tell the truth now isn't it?


  1. Okay, now that qualifies as one of the best posts I've read this year. You and Randey have so much to be thankful for now. I'm sure Des and Nick have wonderful Christmas memories, how could they not, look who their mom is...The Queen of Christmas (Texas Division)...love ya bunches
    Aunt Sandi

  2. Oh, and one other thing...whilst Sydney is just the cutest thing ever, if I were needing protection, warmth or a good laugh, it's Blu, hands down...I think I suspicion a little prejudice here, too...does Blu run from the camera or something? Or is Sydney just always posing? Prejudice, pure and simple...oh and please run, don't walk, over to T*mmy's for the best laugh you'll have today...Barbie indeed!

  3. I love the idea of the Christmas jar.We have started a jar this year and will be giving our donation to Oxfam to buy a gift of textbooks to children in Africa.I love your dog

  4. The Christmas jar sounds like a great idea. We usually either mail some cash anonymously or give the pastor some money to give to a certain family in church anonymously each year at Christmas. We started this about 11 years ago right after my husband was laid off and we were trying to start up a new business. Weird time to do it, but we felt so blessed to help someone else out.

  5. YAY! I am so glad you decided to post this on your blog as well!

    Your post is so touching! It's great to hear your story.

    I also have to convince the hubby to give up his change! LOL He usually is the one who has all the change to begin with because I normally don't carry any cash on me. I'm a debit card girl! LOL I plan to change that.

    I finished reading the book yesterday and loved it. I had tears in my eyes several times.

  6. I love jars. You can do so many things with them.
    I read something similar the other day. I absolutely believe that this is the time to give and share. Thank you for this excellent inspirational idea and motivation.

  7. Kari,

    I think that sounds like a great idea. And the book looks good also. Love a good Christmas book. And I love, love your new Christmas background. I've been collecting pictures for my banner of different Christmas things and can't wait to put them up also. And Sydney the wonder dog is cute. I guess he needed some buddies to take a nap with. Cute!

  8. Love the new Christmas "look" around here...I wondered if you would wait till after Turkey day or do it before...especially after you spoke recently about your love of Christmas.

    I have my look "locked and loaded" on my practice blog but I think I will wait till after Turkey day to launch it...lol!

    That is a cute doggie!!

  9. Love the idea of the Christmas Jar. I just have to do this (but of course, next year). If I did it this year, the poor family would probably wonder what other destitute person gave up a small amount of change!!!

    Sydney is really cute. But right now Abby Cadabby is listening so I can't call him the cutest.

  10. Now that I've gotten over my start at seeing those wee little babes so alone in the chair save for the attention of Sydney the Wonder Dog, I can honestly say that he is very cute. :) (Goodness, those dolls are lifelike!)

  11. We usually saved our change all year, then gave it to the kids to count out for their own spending money on summer vacation (once it was well over $250.00!) but I really love this idea! I donated 4 cereal boxes into the collection cart at the grocery store the other day...the little boys reaction (a cub scout) was overwhelming to me. You'd have thought I just threw in the latest video game or something. I walked away with a HUGE lump in my throat!
    Oh the sweet joy of giving!

  12. You have such a sweet heart..I also bet that butt isn't as wide as mine. I am the only one that eats divinity,but yum I love it.
    Sydney is a doll, but Java says I can't say the cutest hehe.

  13. Great idea and giving in a way I had never thought of. Since my daughter was wee tiny, we always pick an angel from the Salvation Army Angel Tree and give to that one child. It has taught her that if you have enough, there is always a bit left over to share!
    Thanks for keeping all of this in the front of our minds, dear heart!


  14. You have the best heart and the sweetest soul. And I love this picture SO much.

    We have always done the angel tree and many years we adopt a family through one of the churches. This year we are buying gifts for a young military family who is staying at the Fisher House (military version of Ronald McDonald) due to an ill child...and buying for a family with a disabled son. I love doing this because it is anonymous and that makes it even more fun!

    You are just one of the best people I know...I am proud to know you!



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