Show Your Gratitude With a Thank You Jar

It’s November 1 and that means the Thank You Jar has returned.

Chris and I have a Thanksgiving tradition that we’ve been doing for so many years I’ve forgotten where the idea originally came from. This tradition makes us feel connected as a family and truly grateful for all the good things in our lives.

On November 1, I display a mason jar I decorated with the words “Thank You” on the side in pretty scrapbook paper. I cut dozens of slips of paper in fall colors and leave them next to the jar with a pen.

Every day until Thanksgiving, Chris and I must write at least 1 thing we’re thankful for on a slip of paper, fold it in half, and drop it into the Thank You Jar. No peeking!

Some days we’re thankful for simple things: “Reading magazines on a lazy Sunday.”

Some days we’re thankful for bigger things: “Celebrating another anniversary with Chris.”

Some days we add many slips of paper to the jar, and some days it’s difficult to think of just one thing to be grateful for.

On Thanksgiving, we shake out all the slips of paper onto the dining room table. As we’re enjoying our pumpkin pie, we go back and forth choosing a slip of paper from the pile and reading it out loud. It’s so much fun to reflect on all the wonderful things that have made us happy over the past month. I’m always surprised by Chris’s choices.

The Thank You Jar has helped make us a stronger family and more focused on having a positive outlook.

You can start a Thank You Jar tradition too!

1. Find a container. I like using a clear jar so I can see the slips of paper adding up, but you could also use a bowl, hat, or large envelope.

2. Prepare the slips of paper. I use scrapbook paper, but you could also try Post-It notes or index cards.

3. Have a group meeting and explain the rules. You can invite anyone to join: family, friends, coworkers, roommates, etc. Remember, they must add at least 1 slip of paper to the container per day, and they can express gratitude about anything, big or small.

4. Choose a day to celebrate and read the thank-yous. Thanksgiving is the obvious choice, but if you do this with your coworkers, you might want to find a day when everyone will be in the office, perhaps the week before. Bring some drinks and goodies and have fun basking in the gratitude.

I already know my first addition to the Thank You Jar: I’m incredibly thankful for all my blog readers! You’ve been so loyal and kind, and I appreciate all the comments, personal e-mails, and feedback. I feel like I know many of you so well, but we’ve never met!

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? What are you most grateful for this year?


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