Have you heard of  ‘pay it forward’ or ‘random acts of kindness’?  The idea is that you’ll pass along a good deed or a small gift (like a paperback book) anonymously by placing it in a public place to be ‘adopted’ by the person who finds it – or in the good deed category, maybe you’ll pay for the cup of coffee of the person behind you in line or secretly shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk.  These little things can make us feel great!  It is great to give as well as to receive.

Then, I ran across this idea.  Basically, you take a jar and lid lid that would otherwise go in the trash or recycling bin and place something small and pretty in it.  Then, you leave the jar in a public place for someone to happen on – to brighten the day of the recipient.  Since it’s unlikely that you’ll see the recipient find the ‘gift’, you just have to trust that your small token will be well received.

So, here’s my plan.  Gather all those jelly jars and other clear containers that I’d normally throw away.  Then, I’ll crochet a small item – a potholder or a flower, for instance – place it in the jar and leave it somewhere along my daily journey – probably in the atrium of the hospital where I work.  I’ll go one step farther and mark the jar with a small piece of paper that says ‘FREE’ on it.

I’ll also print up a batch of small notes to tuck in each jar stating that this is a Happiness Project.  Then, there’s a good chance that the recipient will think of a way to ‘pay it forward’.

My note will say:

I crocheted this little gift to brighten your day.

Please accept it with an open heart.

Now, it’s your turn to do something that will put a smile on the face of a stranger.

By jd wolfe


20 Comments so far

  1. Elizabeth J. on April 20, 2011 5:36 am

    Brilliant idea. I can see where this will brighten someones day–especially if they are having a bad one.

  2. Melany @ Project Anthologies on April 20, 2011 6:08 am

    So sweet. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did one little random act of kindness each day?! the world would be so happy. Let us know how your project goes!

  3. Mary on April 20, 2011 6:12 am

    LOVE this idea! Have fun!

  4. Becky Green on April 20, 2011 6:38 am

    What a NICE IDEA!!! EVERYONE needs SOMEONE to think of them! To make them feel SPECIAL! A COMPLETE STRANGER? Kinda nice!!!! :)

  5. Allison on April 20, 2011 6:56 am

    love this and will most certainly follow suit!

  6. Maya on April 20, 2011 8:13 am

    This is divine! Love it!

  7. Cindy on April 20, 2011 8:19 am

    This is such a lovely idea!

  8. Kae on April 20, 2011 8:59 am

    good idea

  9. Just Mom's Blog on April 20, 2011 9:42 am

    What a fantastic idea. You’ll feel wonderful, the next person will be grateful, and it will snowball from there. Way to bring out good karma for yourself and others.

  10. Eileen on April 20, 2011 11:11 am

    thats a lovely idea, will give it ago, another one is to stamp a picture, I did a little girl hugging a teddy and “A hug is always the right size” then laminate it and give them to people but they have to accept a hug of you and then pass on the picture or keep it for themselves, it suprised me how many people took my hugs and loved the idea

  11. amy on April 20, 2011 1:33 pm

    Yay!! I’m so glad you are shamelessly passing along goodwill! I left little notes in mine as well, but putting “free” on them is a great idea!!

  12. Miquela on April 20, 2011 3:43 pm

    What a great, happy-making idea!

  13. Letha in Iowa on April 20, 2011 5:33 pm

    What a great idea. I’m going to do it too!

  14. Paula Milburn on April 21, 2011 1:18 am

    Mind if I post this one on my groups?? I have a few groups that have craft elements on them and we love to do RAOKs…. I love this idea and think we should all do it more often. Best of this one is that even my NON-crafty friends can do it by putting something nice in it from a $1 store or some candies (not chocolate that would melt, I mean like boiled sweets or gum etc). Brilliant idea, of course I’d be doing the craft items to go in them!!

    Oh and JD… I LOVE your blog!!

    Hugs, Paula xx

  15. jd wolfe on April 21, 2011 3:40 pm

    PLEASE feel free to pass along this idea! I would love to have more people in different crafts join in. Almost anything can fit into a glass jar – or other container of your choice. There is a Pay It Forward paperback sharing program that is quite popular. I think it’s a small way we can brighten the day of a stranger or friend!


  16. jd wolfe on April 21, 2011 3:42 pm

    I love the idea of passing along a hug. One of my husband’s patients brought in a pretty little framed piece that says something to the effect that hugs are free, so here’s yours. I placed it in a prominent location by the receptionist’s desk for all to see!

  17. SHAMELESSLY SHARING SMILES · Crochet | on April 28, 2011 5:56 am

    [...] many people have responded positively to the little idea I passed along in this article, that I thought I’d share a similar idea that’s almost free.  The relationship [...]

  18. Beth on April 29, 2011 5:22 am

    I love this! I am starting my own today. I have done the book thing, it’s actually kind of fun.

  19. Kay M on April 29, 2011 5:56 am

    Magnificent! What a beautiful way to brighten the world! I’m in! I started crocheting little flower pins from cotton yarn this morning. Think I might take them to the maternity ward of the hospital and pass them out…si

  20. Miss Kitty on September 19, 2011 5:59 am

    Such a great idea! I’m reading this several months after it was originally posted (love that “you might also like” button) so I have the joy of seeing what actually went into the fabulous jars of happiness that you spread around your part of the country. Just beautiful.

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