Why I started the Ghost of Christmas Pepper

So my wife and I were driving home from a memorial service last week, stuck in very slow moving traffic, and our conversation was very much as you would expect (and certainly out of the ordinary for us). Having just celebrated the life of a wonderful woman who had left us far too soon, one cannot help but to ponder such questions as What will life be like when I’m/you’re gone? Are we making as big of an impact as we’d like to? What will people say about us at our memorial service? What kind of legacy are we leaving?

It’s perfectly natural to let your mind dwell on these questions when hit in the face with death and the ending of a life, but it’s funny how the question of legacy really only becomes clear when you’re faced with life-changing experiences, like the birth of a new child or the loss of a loved one… These are just moments where all of humanity copes with the thought that something unique and life-altering has just happened, and to me the funny part is that we act surprised by it. “Wow! I knew this woman was pregnant but she just gave birth to a NEW LIFE that wasn’t there before! Crazy that this happened!?!?”

Not really. You saw that one coming.

Death is often the same way. Not to be too brash and brood over this, but it’s no surprise to any of us. Since the moment you entered this planet there was only ONE certain guarantee – that one day you would leave it. It’s inevitable and it’s expected; yet when we encounter it with our loved ones it shocks us.

So as we’re driving home we begin to talk about how we’d like to be remembered and how much harder we need to think about what we can do to make this world a better place (again – funny how funerals and such bring these thoughts out of us. Why can’t we think this way ALL THE TIME?). That’s when we started to brainstorm, and this became the outcome of our efforts that day:

I mentioned this topic in my podcast on Monday and immediately filmed and uploaded this video the following day. It really struck a chord with me that during the season of Giving that it would be great to have an opportunity for myself, my friends and my audience to give back to those in need in a BIG way. And I mean BIG. Like… one that saves lives!

The idea came around when we talked about adding a donation to each of our Christmas gifts this year; we thought that we’d just donate a single dollar in the name of each person that we’re buying presents for this year to a water charity of some sort (tacking on another $25 or so to our Christmas shopping). But we knew we could do more. I started thinking, Man, maybe I could get our friends and family, and maybe even my audience, involved with this… But how?

Enter the idea of donating all of my record sales this month from BandCamp to charity. Ok, I thought, that’s not a bad start! But what else can we do?

Well I knew that we needed to pick a charity first, and I also knew that charitywater.org was a trustworthy place since many of my friends have done campaigns there before. I’m always hesitant about giving because I’m never sure about where it’s going and whether it’s all going there. With CharityWater, you don’t have to worry.

Then I knew that I needed to make some sort of video to promote the idea and tell everyone what we’re doing, like the one you just saw. But to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to hit this thing head-on yet. This is a lot of work! This is a lot of time and a lot of effort. And also, what if I fail? What if I can only raise like 20 bucks or something? At the moment we’ve only raised $17, and it’s easy to look at a monumental number like $1,000 and say “We’ll never get there.” That’s when I watched this video:

To be honest I’ve seen it before, years ago when I donated to my friend’s campaign, but it strikes such a chord with me! This single thought boggles my mind, that in MANY places of this world some people don’t have access to a WATER FAUCET. Running water. That thing I turn on for NO REASON while I’m brushing my teeth. Ya, that thing.

Of all the things we take for granted (our time with our families, the parents who birthed and raised us, the money we should have saved, etc) THIS ONE is the one we probably think of LEAST and yet it’s the most important one. You can go 3 days without water before dying of thirst. Water is vital and yet it is so scarce for much of the world.

So my wife and I knew that this was something we were going to make happen. Go big or go home. But my wheels kept on turning. I kept thinking, Man, the cause itself is noble enough, but in order to bring my audience into this I really need to do something musical with it (since that’s what I’m known for, primarily). But how? I certainly wouldn’t write a cheezy “We Are the World”-esq song, that would just be awful. But Christmas carols?

OK, not a bad start. We’ll sing some Christmas carols with some of my good friends and great musicians if we meet our goal.

And then it hit me.

Ghost peppers. I have to credit my wife for the Ghost of Christmas Pepper name, though I’m pretty sure we both thought it at the same time. By throwing this in it would add an element of humor to everything to not only reach more people but serve as a reward for donating generously. So that’s what we’re going to do; we’re going to eat the hottest pepper in the world while singing and playing Christmas music. It’s going to be painful, but hilarious, and if we meet our goal by Christmas Day (only 13 days from today btw!!!) then you will see how absurd this idea really is.

So there’s my proposal. Will you please consider donating to the Ghost of Christmas Pepper? Or sharing the YouTube video on your Facebook status today? Or Retweeting this blog post from your Twitter page? Or…?

Every little bit counts, and we’re literally SAVING LIVES with each dollar that we give. Please help me during this season to give back, because so many of us are blessed beyond belief, and believe me when I say that you’ll find no better sense of satisfaction or fulfillment than when you give generously and change someone else’s life forever.

I’ll be posting about this topic in all of my social media over the next few weeks so please feel free to Like/Share/Retweet/Reblog anything that comes up. We need your help and with your support we can make a difference.

1 Comment
  1. Great idea Jayme. I love your approach! This is a special gift, and I’m sure God is smiling! The timing is perfect. I’m here to help in anyway.

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