Thanksgiving is a chance for families to gather together and enjoy being with one another. But Thanksgiving can also be a meaningful time to reflect on our blessings and remember how God has been faithful in our lives. Many families have special Thanksgiving traditions they use to show gratitude.

I searched for some ideas other families have used to intentionally cultivate gratitude within their family.  Here are just a few, but maybe one of these ideas can be something you try this year to bless your own family!

Tablecloth of Memories

Buy a package of fabric pens and ask your family and Thanksgiving dinner guests to write something on the tablecloth that they are thankful for. Have everyone take turns writing short notes on the cloth. You can even add handprints of your littlest guests! Then you can take out the tablecloth and add to it every year.

When Thanksgiving Day arrives, you guests can smile and laugh as they read through the memories. When the children find their handprints, they will be thrilled to see how much they’ve grown!

A Tree of Thanks

There are different ways you can create a tree of thanks.  The idea is to create a tree and have your family write things they are thankful for on the leaves.  The picture above is of one I did with my family that sits on our kitchen table every Thanksgiving season! I purchased the craft kit to make it HERE.

Another thing you can do is to take brown construction paper, cut out the trunk and branches of a tree and tape it to the wall. Then make leaves out of red, yellow and orange paper. Hand out the leaves to your family, asking them to write something they are thankful for on each leaf. Display your tree throughout the Thanksgiving season!

The Breakfast Club

On Thanksgiving morning, gather your family around the table for breakfast. Between bites, record the year’s blessings on notebook paper. You can list things like: landing a new job, reconnecting with old friends, finding a great sale on kids’ shoes, earning an A in Spanish. No item is too small for the list.

Create a family Thanksgiving Journal, and add your paper to the journal.  Add a new page every year!  Each year as you sift through the pages, you will have sweet memories remembering your family’s milestones.

Serve Others by Collecting Food

Food banks and soup kitchens often get inundated with volunteers at the holidays and then experience a steep drop-off afterward. Help them weather the dip by asking your family and friends to bring a non-perishable food item to your Thanksgiving dinner to donate later. As a family, take the items and deliver to a food bank in your area. 

Write Thank-You Notes.

Gratitude isn’t just a concept we should visit over turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. To keep giving thanks even after the holiday is over, give everyone in your family a thank-you card and blank envelope, and ask them to write a note to someone who made a difference in their lives over the past year. At the end of the day, collect the cards, and mail them the following day.

There are lots of ways to create a spirit of thankfulness this season.  We hope you find a creative way to cultivate gratitude in your family this year!