A SHAMELESS THEFT (of an idea)


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.


  1. Elizabeth J. says

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

  2. Becky Green says

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

  3. says

    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.

  4. Eileen says

    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

  5. says

    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!!

  6. Paula Milburn says

    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

  7. says

    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!


  8. says

    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!

  9. Beth says

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

  10. says

    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

  11. Miss Kitty says

    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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