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Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and what better time than now to instill a sense of gratitude in our grandkids? In this day and age, kids seem to want and expect more than we ever did, so teaching them to count their blessings and love what they have is a quality that they will have for the rest of their lives.
A great way to begin a life full of gratitude is by introducing them to the concept of a gratitude jar: A simple DIY activity between now and Thanksgiving Day.
- A clear jar or container with a lid
- Decorative ribbons or twine
- Stickers, paint markers, or other decorative items for personalizing the jar
- Pre-cut paper slips or notepads
- Writing pens or markers
- A small chalkboard or paper label and marker (for labeling the jar)
1. Choose your jar
Don’t sweat this one – It can be anything from a mason jar to a vintage jar you have lying around or even a clear plastic container. (Whichever you choose, make sure it’s clean and dry.)
Let your grandkids take the lead here! They (or you!) can tie a decorative ribbon or twine around the neck of the jar; use stickers, paint markers, or other decorative items to personalize the jar; and/or even paint or label it with “Gratitude Jar” or any other name you fancy.
Using your small chalkboard or paper label, write the year or a specific period, e.g., “Thanksgiving 2023.” Attach this label to the jar. (This is especially poignant if you plan to make this a recurring tradition and have multiple jars over the years.)
4. Fill with gratitude
Sit down with your grandkids and discuss things you’re thankful for. Next, write each item on a slip of paper, fold it, and drop it into the jar. Encourage your grandkids to think of both big and small blessings!
5. Daily or weekly entries
Place the jar in a common area of the house and each day or week leading up to Thanksgiving (or even year-round), and ask family members, including the grandkids, to jot down something they’re thankful for and add it to the jar.
6. Thanksgiving Day tradition
On Thanksgiving Day, make it a tradition to open the jar and read the notes aloud. This can be a heartwarming activity before or after the Thanksgiving meal, serving as a beautiful reminder of all the blessings, big and small.
7. Store and start anew
After reading the notes, store the jar in a safe place and create a new one for the next period or year!
Not only is this activity a great thing to do for Thanksgiving, but it is also an excellent tool for teaching the art of a thankful heart. Here is to the start of a new tradition for all of our families!