Thursday, October 15, 2009

Operation 1,001 - Empty Jars to Christmas Jars

(Well, she did it! My dear friend Laurie Paisley, without poking, prodding or help from me, met her goal of placing 1,001 empty Christmas Jars on counters all across the country. With the support of friends and family, Laurie spearheaded the effort to not just find homes for 1,001 jars, but to place at least one in every state! Below is her account of the journey. I know you'll enjoy.)

OPERATION 1,001 - EMPTY JARS TO CHRISTMAS JARS

October 14, 2009

I stand here in my kitchen as I did five months ago, wondering what just happened!! Five months ago I had this incredible feeling to share the Christmas jar tradition with a 1,001 people. Today I mailed jar #1,001!! 

If I’m honest....I never thought I could find 1,001 people to fill an empty jar by Christmas! I don’t know 1,001 people!! I have an amazing family, incredible friends and very patient co-workers at Barnes and Noble. 

They’ve all had to put up with me since I discovered the book, Christmas Jars, by Jason F. Wright, four years ago. I say “put up with” because they have endured thousands of conversations I’ve had with friends and customers and every year they’ve helped me achieve numerous sales goals for the book. Of course I’ve dealt with a lot of jokes, eye rolling and “whatevers” from them too! However, everyone of them has a jar! Each year I promise them I’m going to move on to another book, but somehow it always comes back to “the jar”.  

May 4th, 2009 - Journal Entry
Wow! I just finished reading the advance reader copy of Christmas Jars Reunion. After finishing, I got this ridiculous idea that I could collect and distribute 1,001 empty jars by December. I’ve really tried hard to dismiss the idea but for some reason it continues to linger in the back of my mind. It’s like a very loud voice or an overall incredibly warm feeling. This is something that has never happened to me before. 


I finally sat down at the computer and fired off an email to my family requesting their help in gathering 1,001 jars.  As usual, they are willing to help, however, like me, they have their doubts about the lofty goal. My sister said it best, “Laur, You’re always getting me involved in these crazy ideas of yours, but I’ll help!"

May 5th, 2009 - Journal Entry
This crazy idea is keeping me awake at night!  I’m not sure where to begin. To make myself feel better I went to Walmart and purchased 48 mason jars!! Then off to Office Max to purchase labels that will go on the bottom of each jar - www.christmasjars.com . Now if I can only find someone to give a jar to I’d be on my way!


May 12th, 2009 - Journal Entry
Jars #11-15 found homes today. Jar #15 went to the 10 year old boy next door.  We sat on his steps while I explained the Christmas jar to him.  He asked a lot of questions and we agreed to donate his jar together.  He immediately ran upstairs and brought down his piggy bank and emptied it into the jar and it was 3/4 full!  He was so excited he asked his mom how much money he had in his bank account.  I told him he could only put change in the jar and he responded, “I’ll take the dollars and turn them into change so I can put it in the jar”! What a kid!


May 22nd, 2009 - Journal Entry
I had my first argument with a very good friend over my Christmas jars project.  I got a very nasty email from her. She assumed that because I was tracking the jars by putting a number on the sticker on the bottom of the jar that I was going to get some kind of credit if the person receiving the jar sent a note to Jason.  She gave me a lecture that giving was supposed to be anonymous - to which I responded that the Christmas jars were given that way.  Anyway, 60 jars up....one friend down! Oh, I’m no longer putting numbers on the bottoms of the jars....just tracking them in a little black book!


And so it went over the next few months. As more and more people asked for jars and books I started to realize how far reaching this project could be. How much fun would it be to get a jar filled in all 50 states?

Once again, I don’t know people in all 50 states so I again requested the help from friends and family!  The response was amazing and we soon had all 50 states with a jar along with Italy, Ukraine, Thailand, Canada, England, Taiwan, Ireland, Holland, France and China. Most went to American families living in those countries.

This project has more than exceeded my expectations. I have met some amazing people, I have reconnected with many of my high school friends who I haven’t seen or talked to in 27 years, and I have heard so many “thank yous” from so many people.  I can sit back on Christmas Eve and smile knowing that so many people will be receiving a jar! I won’t need any Christmas present this year...mine came early. It came on October 14th when I mailed out jar #1,001!

I’ve learned that you can do anything you set your mind to.  No matter how mind boggling it may seem at the beginning, if you can dream it you can achieve it.  It just takes a little bit of heart, some passion for the cause and a lot of determination!!

Now......I’m not focusing on the 1,001...but "the one"...the one jar I plan to give away this Christmas that will change someone's life!




14 comments:

  1. 1,001 JARS? This is A M A Z I N G ! ! !

    What a miracle in so many lives. GREAT JOB LAURIE!

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  2. Wow, that's great!!

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  3. Oh Laurie!!
    CONGRATULATIONS! How fabulous. I love your love for Christmas Jars and so thrilled I've been able to be a little part of it.
    Good luck on "the one." And WAY TO GO on the 1,001. (Just think... 1001+ focusing on their "one".)

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  4. So wonderful Laurie!!!I am excited about my boys and I doing our second jar this Christmas! It is truly a wonderful tradition! Congrats on 1001 jars!!!
    Blessings!!!

    ~Molly and J boys~

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  5. YAY Laurie... That is so awesome... I think Hope has her work cut out for her... LOL! Thanks so much for sharing in the joy that is The Christmas Jar... Congrats girl you did it!!!!

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  6. I am so touched! What an amazing way to serve! This is how the world should be :) Bless you Laurie Paisley for keeping the Christmas Spirit alive all year.

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  7. Congratulations Laurie. It really is amazing what you have been able to accomplish. Even more amazing is the good those jars will do for others. I am honored to include my name as one of the 1,001 jars across the country. Thank you for inspiring so many people.

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  8. WOW! What an amazing act of service. I know that this changes lives. It changed mine. We recieved a Christmas Jar in 2005. (My son is Cameron. Go to christmasjars.com and read his story.) We now have a Chritmas Jar on our counter every year. Congratulations on sending your 1001 jars!

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  9. Is this for real? WOW! Congratulations, that is an outstanding project that will spread your efforts to far more families than you will be able to ever know. Very inspiring!!

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  10. WOW, Congratulations Laurie, you are a wonderful example of service. You have inspired me and others to do more and you have set the bar very high. Thank you for reminding us about the true spirit of giving and service by blessing the lives of others.

    Stephen

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  11. Thanks for all your wonderful comments but the credit doesn't go to me! I was just the vehicle used to get it done! The credit goes to that very loud voice I heard in May (which I choose to believe was the man up above), to Jason for writing an amazing story and to his family for starting a wonderful tradition. I hope that with the release of two new Christmas Jar books the tradition will continue to grow and spread throughout this country and others!

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  12. That is so awesome! Think of how many families are going to be blessed because of the work you did!

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