The story of the Christmas Jars phenomenon is officially getting another chapter! Only this time, fans of the Jason F. Wright novel can watch the beloved Christmas story unfold right before their eyes.
BYUtv recently announced that production has officially begun on the highly anticipated film Christmas Jars. The Muse production will air on BYUtv during the 2019 holiday season. Filming is currently taking place through March 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario.
For the past 14 years, the movement of blessing others’ lives through the collecting and giving of Christmas Jars has spread across the nation.
The film will now share the Christmas Jars story with a global audience.
“We are hoping to introduce the traditions of the jar to a whole new audience,” said Wright. “This isn't about the book anymore, or the movie, as exciting as that is. It's really about the tradition of those people filling the jar all year long, knowing that, in many cases, it's going to change someone's life.”
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For those unfamiliar with the tradition, the Christmas Jars concept is a simple one—place an empty jar on your kitchen counter or desk at work, wherever you will see it often. Every day, each family member or coworker drops their spare change into the jar. When Christmas arrives, carefully select someone who might benefit from some extra love during the holidays. Often those chosen have a financial need, but sometimes the need is an emotional or spiritual one.
Filming begins on the screen adaption of author Jason F. Wright's Christmas Jars on February 27, 2019.
“Someone knew that I was there.”
While the concept itself may be simple, it is incredibly impactful for those who experience it. Wright said the stories that really stand out for him are the ones where “someone is on their knees, literally on their knees, praying for a miracle.”
The New York Times best-selling author recalled the story of a single mother in Texas who was praying for such a miracle. She had already told her children that Santa probably wouldn’t find them that year. However, thanks to the kindness of others, she got her miracle just in time. On Christmas Eve, she was able to use the money she so generously received in a Christmas Jar to buy a few small presents for her children.
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“Knowing that someone is putting in their change, consecrating a little bit of themselves every day to you, all year long, is an incredibly powerful notion,” Wright said.
During the last 14 years, Wright has received thousands of stories from those who have received a Christmas Jar, detailing its impact in their life. From so many emails and anecdotes, Wright’s team has calculated that the average jar typically contains just over $200 and Wright estimates that they have given away roughly $10 million in spare change.
Author Jason F. Wright on the set of Christmas Jars in Ottawa, Ontario on February 27, 2019.
But the impact is often so much more than a monetary one. It's not about the money that comes out of the jar, it's the thought and sacrifice that goes into the jar.
“Usually in their story back to us they say, ‘Look the money was great, but someone saw me,'” said Wright. “'Someone knew that I was there and that I was alone, or in need, or afraid. . . . My needs were met, often through a complete stranger.'"
A Personal Journey
For Wright, the journey has been a long time coming for him and his family. The film went into development in February 2006 and now, through a lot of hard work by a lot of great people, the author said he’s excited to see the film get made.
Sitting in an airport on his way to the set in Canada, Wright got emotional as he described what it means personally to his family, calling the whole experience surreal. “Christmas Jars is all they’ve known, particularly my 12-year-old, Koleson—the book is older than he is!”
His daughters, Oakli and Jadi, both currently BYU students, and his 15-year-old son, Kason, were all involved in the creation and delivery of the very first Christmas Jar in 2004.
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What began as a simple family activity has grown into a nation-wide phenomenon. Jason Wright and his wife, Kodi, were looking to start a new Christmas tradition with their children. In an effort to keep the joy of selfless giving in their home year-round, the Christmas Jar tradition was born. The novel debuted a year later in 2005 and was wildly popular. More novels followed; so did The Christmas Jars Foundation. One of its primary goals was to get the message (and free books and jars) out to public schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations.
15-year-old Kason and 12-year-old- Koleson Wright wait with their father, author Jason F. Wright, on the tarmac at LaGuardia airport on February 26, 2019.
Wright said that while it’s exciting to get to be on the set of the new film, the real excitement for him comes from what this means for the movement. “It's just so much more humbling to know that an entire new audience of people around the world is going to be introduced to a tradition that has changed a lot of lives, including our own.”
Wright hopes that, more than anything, the new film just lights a fire under even more people to make selfless giving a part of their Christmas every year.
"The goal is to throw the most wonderful kind of gasoline onto the Christmas Jar movement and just blow this thing up!” said Wright. “I hope that people go find a jar as soon as the movie is done. Finish the film, get up, find a jar, put it on your counter, throw some change in it. Join the movement and then change a life next year! It's about as simple as a Christmas tradition could be.”
A simple tradition with a big impact—one that starts with spare change and ends with changing lives.
Images courtesy of Jason F. Wright
Jason Wright is a New York Times bestselling author of Christmas Jars and The Wednesday Letters, and his articles have appeared in over fifty newspapers and magazines across the United States. A popular speaker, Jason has been seen on CNN, FoxNews, C-SPAN, and on local television affiliates around the country. Jason and his wife, Kodi, live in Virginia with their four children.