I believe this teaches them that Christmas is surely not just about them…it’s about giving. We spend time picking out supplies and making cards and thinking about each person we love, while we make our crafts for friends and family to open come Christmas. As my children get older, I want this to mean even more to them. I want them to really extend themselves in a way that s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s beyond their selfish worlds. I want them to practice the art of giving, not just by throwing a craft together and wrapping it up but by truly thinking about each person and how much they love them by considering the joys and hardships in their lives.
After brainstorming ideas, I decided we would make blessing jars for our friends and family! I bought fifteen jars, glitter spray paint, and a few spools of ribbon and we had all the supplies we needed to make this beautiful and intentional gift of love. (Totally affordable-another blessing!) We would add to their jars, blessings of their lives so that they could then take one out when they needed a ‘lift’ and read a precious thought and sentiment given to them by my children. They could also begin to add their own blessings in the jars as they pleased.
The blessings can be given or taken. That’s how blessings go, isn’t it?
Throughout the weeks, I asked each of my children to write down blessings that were personalized for each loved one. I cut out colored construction paper squares and put them in a bowl for my kids to grab as they went. They were able to highlight personal blessings in each life, as they thought through what that person could be grateful for: Ten blessings for each person from my fifth grade girl, and five blessings each from my second grade boy. As they thought about each person they were writing about, they managed to come up with some beautiful ideas and some great blessings!
Grandma has a beautiful garden. Aunt Cathy survived cancer. Couples that have each other. Beautiful homes, paying jobs, health, fun activities, talents and opportunities, etc. My personal favorite is: “You have Christ in your heart.” (Love!)
All-in-all, my kids wrote down 15 blessings that went into 15 jars!!! I marked Zip-Loc bags with the names of all the family members where we kept the papers with written down blessings, until we finished the jars we could put them in.
I love this gift idea for anyone at any time. Do you have someone in your life who is suffering? A friend who could use some blessings? Perhaps a family who would enjoy practicing intentional gratitude? Are you in a moms group that would like to start their own tradition with a blessings jar? Any church group you attend that would be willing to apply Philippians 4:8?
The options are endless in how you present the blessings jars. What they choose to do with the jars after that, is really up to them. But the opportunity is theirs for the taking…
This was quite laborious, and incredibly thought-ful. It took time, and effort, and I love the intention behind this idea.
My kids had to put their heart into these gifts, and I couldn’t think of a better way to teach them not only the beauty in giving… but the power of gratitude.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Click here to find a related post about the Blessing Jars by Chris over at Lori Wildenberg’s blog, Eternal Moments.
By Chris Carter
Wife to Derek, Mom of two
SAHM (Stay at Home Mom)
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Blogger at The Mom Cafe
This blog was first posted on 12-18-2013.