Today I want to share my favorite Christmas gifts to give that you can make with your kids.
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.
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. Gratitude has power. And it is a gift that many tend to take for granted… Including me and my family.
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 and well, laborious and time consuming. BUT it was worth it.
Here’s what we did:
We bought 15 medium size mason jars, a can of gold glitter spray paint, and some white ribbon.
I spray painted the jars outside. I thought kids, (who were 7 and 10 at the time) and gold glitter spray paint didn’t go well together. This was just a hunch. 😉
Then my kids wrote several personal blessings on little pieces of cut out paper to put in each person’s jar to get them started! My kids worked hard to think of each individual and identify specific blessings in that person’s life to write down and add to the jar. We split up the work between days, so the kids wouldn’t get too tired in writing down all the specific individual blessings. It was an incredible way for my kids to serve those they love and stretch their own perspectives out 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 for each person’s jar. That alone was worth doing this project!
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 explains the Blessing Jars and a message that would hopefully inspire the recipient to practice counting their blessings too…
The Blessings Jar
You have a bounty of blessings to behold…
In the 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 is 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 take, as you need
Blessings to and fro.
Look with wonder at your life
And search high and low…
Even on those difficult days
There’s still a light you’ll see
Find blessings in your darkest times
When God will be with thee.
Collect these gifts in the jar
To read when you desire.
Find joy and hope, light and love
For gratitude has power.
We have filled our own jar on a regular basis, by writing down on a piece of paper what we are thankful for and putting it in the jar. This can be challenging as my kids may groan or sigh in this assignment. Even my husband and I struggle to remember the sometimes small blessings that have occurred throughout the week’s fullness and busyness. I remind them that we can find gratitude in so many little things in our lives, not just the big events or celebrations or victories.
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 our family to record and affirm with intention- true thanksgiving. I seek to further our thoughtfulness and grow 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 deep 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 life long practice, goes beyond their young lives and into their future. There will at some in their lives, 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.
Every New Year’s Day, we have opened our jar filled with a year’s worth of blessings that we have captured on paper. We read each one of them together and celebrate our abundant blessings.
I keep that jar filled with all the little papers of blessings and date the year. I hope to continue collecting these jars as we grow and learn what it means to live, bringing to light all that is worthy of praise.
*Feel free to use this little note and make your own blessing jars for friends, family, or loved ones. 🙂