Give a Christmas Jar as a Caring Holiday Tradition

Anonymous Christmas Jar
Give an Anonymous Jar this Holiday

A Christmas, Holiday Money or Giving Jar is a lovely tradition to share with family and friends.

It is a way to remember the reason for the season, to think of others and encourage acts of kindness and generosity. This tradition helps “to think of others rather than ourselves” by giving.

Christmas is a tonic for our souls.

It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.

B. C. Forbes

To find out easy it is to share the spirit of the holiday season and start a giving gift tradition jump to the ‘how to‘ section of this page.

Note: The material for this page was originally written in 2008 and has lived on two different platforms before arriving at The Costume Detective.  The idea and the tradition is such a wonderful one that it needs be passed on and shared, so we’ve included it in the Holiday section of this site.

Holiday Jar on Pinterest

Christmas Jar
Our Christmas Jar Graphic

I’ve had the honor of sharing this heart-warming idea for a caring family tradition with many people when the jar graphic I used on one of the original articles (see right) took on a life of its own on Pinterest.

Over the last three years, people have liked, pined, repined and shared the idea as a tradition for their family and the word spread.

Two of the most repinned images featured the following explanations for saving and posting the idea:

Collect change in a jar throughout the year and give it anonymously to someone in need at Christmas time.

Great family tradition! I cannot wait to do this!!

~ Melissa Smith

What a great tradition to start…. Have family put money in mason jar throughout year. At Christmas time, choose someone to bless (anonymously).

On Christmas eve, deliver by Ring and Run. Must read the book … it explains how it all started.

~ Jennifer White

For the updated version of the original “Give a Christmas Jar or Anonymous Holiday Jar” article on this page we’ve created new graphics and an infographic to make the pinning and sharing even easier to spread the idea to even more people for this holiday season.

Jar Image composite from Microsoft Image, Corel Images and Recycle 2 by jaylopez, FreeImages License.

What is a Christmas Jar?

Christmas Jars
Jason F. Wright’s Xmas Jar Book

The Christmas jar is a way to bless others and create cherished holiday memories with your family, children and even grandchildren by starting or continuing this tradition of anonymous giving.

In 2005 author Jason F. Wright wrote his story of the Christmas Jars and a gift giving jar tradition started. This heart-warming story, which became a New York Times Best Selling Book, is about the power of hope and how giving can transform a person—the giver and the recipient.

The concept is simple. Save up a year’s worth of spare change to pass on to someone in need during the holiday season. This tradition of gifting spare change at the holidays can be carried on for many years and shared with family and friends.

The book, now celebrating a 10 year anniversary, has inspired many to keep and give their own jars during the holidays.

You may want to include a copy of the book when you give your Holiday Money Jar.

Coin Jar in a Window
Keep the Giving Jar in a window and add spare change during the year

Coin jar at the window from KASKA. Used under morgueFile License.

How to Make a Christmas Giving Jar

Making your own holiday money or giving jar is easy. You can make one using supplies (jars and tags) you already have or make an extra special custom version with fancier materials.

Jar of coins
Start with a Jar. Fill with coins


  • Jar (applesauce, pickle, canning, recycled)
  • Spare coins and bills
  • Tag and labels
  • Ribbons, bows
  • Christmas Jar book (optional)


  1. Take a clean jar (glass or plastic).
  2. Set the jar somewhere it is visible.
  3. During the year drop in your spare change and bills. (Once the money is in the jar leave it there).
  4. Let the change add up over the course of a year.
  5. During the holiday season, find someone to give it to anonymously.
  6. Decorate your jar with labels, ribbons and bows to make it more festive.
  7. Consider adding a note about the tradition of the holiday giving jar or a copy of the book.
  8. Give your jar away.

The week before Christmas look around and choose someone to give the jar to anonymously.  The purpose of Jason Wright’s tradition is to focus on the blessing and secretly give the gift away, a concept referred to as “Gift and run.” He writes about jars being left for the recipients in the middle of the night, handed to strangers in hospital parking lots and magically appearing on kitchen counters.

One may never know the full impact of giving a money jar anonymously to someone, but it is likely their holidays will be a whole lot brighter from receiving the unexpected gift, or blessing.

Christmas Giving Jar
An Unexpected Holiday Blessing

Images coin jar and bow from mconnors. Used under morgueFile License.

Possible Recipients for Your Anonymous Money Giving Jar

There are many different people, places and organizations where you could give your holiday giving jar or anonymous money jar. Often times someone will come to mind, or a situations will arise where it is obvious where the jar needs to go.

Money Jar
Anonymous Money Jar

Here are some of the ones that I have thought about. You will likely have more and may discover as you are collecting change, who needs to received the jar.

  1. A deserving person or family in your neighborhood.
  2. A worthy person or family associated with your church or place of worship.
  3. A children’s hospital.
  4. A senior’s center.
  5. A hospice.
  6. A women’s shelter.
  7. An animal shelter.
  8. A strapped college student.
  9. Your child’s teacher.
  10. Your favorite local charity.
  11. A homeless center.
  12. A volunteer community organization.

Other suggestions based on comments to the past article have been to give them to those who have experienced a recent tragedy—a disaster survivor, a cancer diagnosis or other health crisis.

The gift of extra change at the holidays may be enough to be a bright spot for someone who has had a tough year.

Money Jar from Holger. Used under Creative Commons License 2.0

How to Make a Christmas Jar Infographic
How to Make a Christmas Jar Infographic

Sharing the Spirit of the Season

Illuminated coin jar
Illuminated Holiday Coin Jar

To me the holiday season is the season of generosity, a time for caring and kindness. It is the time of year when one hopes for peace on earth and goodwill towards each other.

The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness.

It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.

Thomas S. Monson

The message of these giving jars is in line with part of what I try to focus on during the holidays—finding ways to illuminate the season, bless others and keep the holiday spirit alive year ’round.

Illuminate Jar by Trica. Used under Creative Commons License 2.0

Our DIY Christmas Spirit Craft and Gift Giving Ideas Board

We’ve pulled together a collection of simple crafts and gift ideas so you can share the spirit of the season. These heart-filled gifts will keep the holiday spirit alive all year long.

Follow The Costume Detective’s board DIY Christmas Spirit Crafts and Gift Giving Ideas on Pinterest.