Fort Worth, TX:
Well it's that time of year, but I usually wait a couple of weeks longer before deciding where my jar should go. This time I am glad I didn't.
The local bike store I shop at has a young woman that works there that has become a good friend, and just to be clear she is JUST a friend. I know her well enough to have seen the stress building in her face without her saying a word. I knew something was bothering her. Old age often gives one the give of reading the faces of the young. Though I couldn't read her mind, I could read her eyes.
When I found out she was in the middle of a divorce and she would be a single mom by Christmas, I knew where the jar would go. I knew money had been tight and how she must have been struggling.
How much was in the jar I don't know and frankly never want to. I always add a little extra to fill the jar, but how much I never know. Just put a bow on the jar, and put it in a Christmas type sack. I added a card and a copy of the book the Christmas jars as I always do. This time I added a bit more. Knowing she had a small boy at home, I added a few small toys that almost any little boy would like. A toy truck, a box of crayons and paper, some modeling clay, and some building blocks were not much but I felt they belonged with the jar. Took them to the bike store and had them deliver it.
A few days passed and my Christmas present came early. When I stopped through to see about a bike part, she happened to be working. She had no idea who had made the gift, but she had changed. I saw a smile I hadn't seen in months. Not a stressed one. Not a forced one. Frankly it was all I could do to keep from bawling and giving it away. Later I heard she was going to start a Christmas jar herself. That's no surprise either. People that get a jar are often the first when they are able to want to give a jar.
Money wise it wasn't much, but it was the biggest bargain of the Christmas season. Frankly in a way I wish I could spill the beans to thank her, not the other way around. It did far more for me than I could ever do for her.