Hip2Save This Holiday Guest Post Submitted By Reader Brandy…
Several years back after my husband and I first got married, we noticed that every few months we would accumulate a large amount of spare change in the jar sitting on our bedroom dresser. And like clockwork, every few months we would take that jar of change to our local grocery store and deposit it into a “coin-counting machine”, cash out, go home, and continue living life as we always had – not thinking twice about it.
One day in 2008 we came across a book entitled Christmas Jars by Jason Wright. It was such an inspirational book that captured the true spirit of Christmas and the true spirit of giving. If you haven’t read it yet, I won’t spoil it for you, but it is definitely something everyone should read. There is a young woman who had been feeling down and out due to the recent loss of her mother and to top it off, she was robbed on Christmas Eve. Just as she thought her world was going to crumble around her, she discovered that someone had left her a jar full of coins and paper currency. Wondering who left this jar for her, and why it was left, she embarks on a journey she will never forget.
After reading the book we couldn’t help but think of our own situation and how fortunate we were in our lives. From that point on we decided to take that spare change in our jar…and keep filling it all year long – Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars – whatever is left over in our pockets at the end of every day. The jar is lovingly titled “Christmas Jar.” Being that we now have 2 children of our own, the tradition has become more special being that my 3-year-old can now participate and contribute to the Christmas Jar.
At the end of every year around Christmas time we take the jar (which usually has about $75-$100 in it at that point) and add in a few more dollar bills and sometimes a few coupons for freebies if I have any) and add a bow and a note that says “Merry Christmas” and attach a copy of the book Christmas Jars. During the evening we all jump in the car as a family – Christmas Jar in hand, and take it to the house of a family we know is in need – whether they know us or not. This is the funnest part for us because the anticipation is so high – knowing that you are doing something great for someone else and trying to not get caught in the act (since we are supposed to remain anonymous). As we slowly drive up with our headlights off (being very careful, of course), one of us gets out of the car, runs up to the front door, leaves the jar and the book on the doorstep, rings the doorbell, and runs as fast as he/she can back to the car. and drive away. Sometimes if we have enough money we’ll separate it into two jars and share with two families in need. We never get to see the looks on their faces, but it still gives us that “warm, fuzzy feeling” to know that we just may have made someone’s day.
Being that this particular tradition requires our participation all year long, it always serves as a reminder to us that we are very blessed as a family – no matter our circumstances we’ll always have enough to share with others; every penny that goes into that jar will be going to someone who needs it more than we do. It is a tradition that I am proud to pass down to my children in hopes that they will learn the true meaning of Christmas and in hopes that those receiving the jars, no matter their circumstances, can feel the true spirit of Christmas.
Even though it may be a bit late for some of your readers to start saving for their Christmas Jars, anyone can still make their own jar full of change or they can even fill it with a few coins, more paper currency and a few coupon freebies. Or they can even start saving for next year. I have attached a photo of our Christmas Jar this year, although I will admit it is a lot smaller than most years since my husband has been out of a job this year – But we still want to keep the tradition going to remind us that we are still very fortunate – and that there are many people who are have far worse circumstances than we do). I know it doesn’t look like much is in the jar, but those coins add up fast! And also pictured are two books – our copy, and one for another family. Happy Holidays! :D