The past few years I’ve participated in several “Pay It Forward” activities with friends on Facebook. It’s fun to see what thoughtful gift I receive, but it’s even more fun to come up with and create a personal gift for my recipients. This is the time of year that these Pay it Forward post start to make an earnest appearance, so I thought I’d share with you one of the gifts I’ve made in the past, a Jar full of Thanks. It can also double as a hostess gift for Thanksgiving, or a beautiful Christmas gift.
In today’s hectic world with never-ending stress and go-go-go schedules it can be difficult to always sit back and take the time to be thankful for what we do have. We’ve made a Jar Full of Thanks to help us take a moment now and again to remember.
Being away from my own family is difficult, especially during times of celebration. Here in the United Kingdom, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated or even observed-officially that is. However, I have brought the tradition with me from Canada and we celebrate it together. It may not always be on the correct day because of work and evening commitments, but we make a big meal and enjoy our day together.
I usually have the children do a project where they write or dictate to me what they are thankful for and I help them write it down. I will keep these treasures for them to look back on when they are older. But our Jar Full of Thanks will take us through the year.
There are huge things that I’m grateful for – like Tristan being so healthy and well after his extremely premature birth. But there are also small, “everyday” things that come up, such as Kallista finally pronouncing “yellow” instead of “lellow”, and the little everyday achievements. I used to tell the children at bedtime each night something about them that I was happy about that day – a milestone reached, or that they’d help to tidy up without being asked, etc. As routines have changed over time I don’t find myself doing this as often anymore, so I will promise myself that I will begin to do it again on a regular basis. It’s an especially nice way to end a rough day on a positive note.
Pay It Forward Jar Full of Thanks supplies
- a mason jar, jam jar, or any other container with a lid
- pretty paper
- glue or double-sided tape
- small strips of paper to write your thanks on
How to make a Jar Full of Thanks
Cut some of your pretty paper to wrap around your jar. Then glue or tape it into place.
Use some ribbon, buttons, silk flowers, or any other embellishments you have to create a beautiful jar. For this one I chose to use Japanese washi paper as the base as I’m thankful for the circumstances that led me out of a downward spiral and sent me to Japan for two of the best years of my life.
I used a string of pearls around the neck of the jar as a reminder of the pearl earrings my sister lent me for our wedding day.
I used a silk flower on the top of the jar just to make it more interesting.
To go with these jars as pay it forward gifts, I made coordinated covered photo frames to match. To celebrate the bounty of the autumn season we filled the jars with fresh baking. Mom’s soft ginger cookies worked perfectly!
Sometimes things can get rough and I’ll have a little sneak peek in the jar, just to remind me of all the things I’m grateful for.
Now that Tristan and Kallista are older they can start contributing their thoughts to the jar. Tristan can write down his messages on his own.
Kallista draws a picture and I ‘translate’ it for her so it can be remembered in years to come. This was a picture of her family.
Kallista has really taken to this project will full force! She loves writing notes to put into the jar…it’s almost full already!
Our Jar of Thanks makes a perfect gift for Pay It Forward, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time of the year. Make one for a friend, and another for you!
Please have a peek at our Thanksgiving and Christmas ideas pages for lots of fun inspiration. And for lots of fun ideas to keep the kids busy while you’re busy crafting, you won’t run short with the Hands On: As We Grow Weekly Activity Plans book. Click on the picture below to take you through to find out more information (Affiliate link).