If you are in need of a good DIY gift your kids can make for Christmas- I have the perfect DIY gift for you -The Blessings Jar!
We call them “Blessings Jars” that you decorate and add written blessings you identify in your life and collect them throughout the year.
I base the Blessings Jar off of Phil 4:8, which if you have been reading me for a while, you know it’s one I share often.
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.
Deep and intentional gratitude is a gift that many tend to take for granted in our hurried busy lives. This is one way we can help our kids count their blessings, but also teach them how to share them with others too.
A few years ago, we decided to make a Blessings Jar for several of our family members and friends as a special gift for Christmas. I thought it would be such a neat way to share the gift of gratitude in a simple, affordable, and creative way. Although the craft itself is easy, it’s the work my kids put into those jars that made it beautiful, intentional, and purposeful…
And well, laborious and time-consuming. 🙂 BUT it was worth it.
Here’s what you need:
Medium size Mason jar. (Or however many you want to make)
Spray paint. (Or any color you want- gold or silver glitter looks festive and pretty!)
White ribbon. (Any color! I love white with the gold or silver!))
Paper, cut into smaller sections to fit in the jar.
Pen or marker.
We bought 15 medium size mason jars, two cans of gold glitter spray paint, and one spool of white ribbon.
I spray painted the jars myself. I thought my crazy kids (7 and 10 years old at the time) and gold glitter spray paint didn’t go well together. I wasn’t up for the mess or the possibility of a spray paint war between my goofballs, so maybe you would be just fine having your kids do this part in a well-ventilated room or outside.
Your call, your house, your kids. 😉
Then my kids wrote several personal blessings on little pieces of paper to put in each person’s jar! (ie: “Grandma, you have four loving daughters!” or “Aunt Janet, you have a beautiful home!”) My kids worked hard to think of each family member or friend and identify specific blessings in that person’s life to write down and add to the jar. We split up the work throughout several days, so the kids wouldn’t get too tired with writing down all the specific individual blessings. (I had each of them write ten blessings per jar/person. This depends on the ages of your kids, of course!)
It was an incredible way for my kids to serve people they love and stretch their own perspectives to consider someone else’s life experiences. I was so proud of their ability to see the blessings in other people’s lives. I was impressed with their compassion and thoughtfulness through all they wrote down with detail and diligence, describing specific blessings each particular person experienced. I believe they knew this would be a meaningful gift and there is so much joy in working on something special for someone you love.
After the jars dried and the paper slips with written blessings were added, we tied a simple piece of ribbon around the top.
I decided to add a little note that explained the Blessings Jar with a message that would hopefully inspire the recipient to practice counting their blessings and adding more to the jar in the year to come…
The Blessings Jar
You have a bounty of blessings to behold…
In every day, every hour, every moment.
Gratitude is the greatest gift we hold,
Yet, only if we open it.
Our family has a Blessings Jar
To practice this fine art.
Taking time to seek and find
Setting time apart…
To note each thing that’s praiseworthy,
Noticing God’s Hand
The task itself brings forth the gift
Unwrap it when you can…
The children began the work for you
Claiming pieces of your life
‘Blessings’ if you will,
To start your jar tonight.
Add or read, as you need
Blessings that you know.
Look with wonder at your life
And search high and low…
Even on those difficult days
Blessings there will be
Find them through your darkest times
Look and you will see.
Collect these gifts in the jar
To read when you desire.
Find joy and hope, light and love
For gratitude has power.
We also filled our own jar as a family. We would use Sunday dinners to each add five blessings to our blessings jar and share them with the rest of the family. My kids sometimes groaned at this assignment. It was the ‘writing part’ that got them. But there’s something affirming in documenting our thankfulness that seems to bring it more meaning. I also reminded them that we can find gratitude in so many little things in our lives, not just the big events or celebrations or victories. And at the end of the year, we can look back and read many we would soon forget.
It would be easy to pass through our days and weeks and months with a smile and a nod, a fluttering thought and a brushing breath of gratefulness. But I want my kids to actively identify what is “excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things” with intention. This is true thanksgiving. I hope to deepen our daily gratitude and stretch us beyond a mere “thank you”. There is always this overwhelming tide that pushes furiously to the next day, which can leave us dismissing and neglecting the art of intentional gratitude.
I want to impart the greatest treasure in living with a heart that sees and recognizes each and every moment God offers us His Greatness with hopes that we develop the habit of praising Him in every detail of our lives, always striving to “think about such things”.
Perhaps my intention in teaching my kids this critical lifelong practice goes beyond their young years and into their future. At some point, there will be darker days and moments that bind their hearts with grief or sadness or anger. There may be loss and rage and injustice and pain. There certainly will be questioning and confusion and searching for answers. It’s those times, I pray they steady their course with intentional thanksgiving, and realize its illuminating power.
On New Year’s Day, we opened our jar filled with a year’s worth of blessings that we captured on paper. We read each one of them together and celebrated our abundant amount of blessings. It was a wonderful way to reflect back on the previous year and launch us forward into the next with true thanksgiving.
It’s a wonderful, affordable way to help your children not only learn the importance of gratitude but the significance of giving too.
I think those who received this unique gift counted it as a blessing.
*Feel free to use this little note and make your own blessings jar for friends, family, or loved ones OR use it with your own kids. 🙂