When a good-hearted waitress finds an abandoned newborn baby at her diner, she decides to adopt the little girl. Inspired by a note left by the birth mother, she names the little girl Hope.
Twenty-two years later, Hope (Jeni Ross) works as a newsroom assistant for an online magazine but aspires to be recognised as a writer. Tragically, her beloved adoptive mother dies of cancer. And just when she feels at her lowest, Hope’s apartment is burgled and ransacked. Shortly afterwards Hope, finds a jar filled with coins and small cash at her doorstep. It’s labelled ‘Christmas Jar’. When Hope starts researching, she realises that she’s not the only one to have received this mysterious gesture of kindness in a time of crisis.
Intrigued, Hope pitches the story to her editor and lands the opportunity she has been waiting for– writing a start page Christmas feature. Little does she know that what starts as a journalistic investigation will lead not only to discovering the origins of the Christmas Jar movement, but also to meeting people who’ll change her life forever.
Family; Christmas spirit; romance; tearjerker
Christmas Jars has some implied violence. For example, Hope’s birth mother explains that her husband was very violent and that she was scared of him. In a flashback scene, she’s seen with a black eye.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Christmas Jars shows some use of substances. For example:
- People have social drinks at a Christmas work party.
- There’s a reference to drinking eggnog on Christmas Eve.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in Christmas Jars, including when Hope and her fiancé share one brief kiss.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Christmas Jars is a sweet and romantic family holiday drama. It’s based on a best-selling novel by Jason F. Wright and a real-life movement of anonymous gift-giving. It’s full of endearing characters, although they’re sometimes a bit too goofy and sometimes a bit too perfect. There are also plenty of inspiring, positive messages about hope, kindness, selflessness and forgiveness.
The movie is most suited to a slightly older audience, and we recommend parental guidance for younger and sensitive viewers. This is because of some emotionally heavy and intense themes like domestic violence, abandonment and death, as well as a focus on love and romance. It’s best to keep the tissues handy for several tear-jerking scenes.
The main messages in Christmas Jars are that there’s more kindness and generosity in the world than you realise, and that it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- being kind and forgiving
- helping those in need and crisis
- having an open heart
- being honest
- making up for and learning from mistakes
- being brave.
Christmas Jars could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like dishonesty and the ruthless pursuit of goals.
For example, in her hunt for a great story, Hope isn’t honest about her true identity and motives when she first meets the family who started Christmas Jars. Soon, she finds herself entangled in more and more lies. She ends up disappointing and hurting people she deeply cares about, and she almost loses them. But because of Hope’s brave, public apology and the generosity and kindness of the family, this story comes to a happy end.