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How to Start a Thanksgiving Gratitude Jar or Bowl Tradition

Updated on October 21, 2009

With all the stress of the holidays upon your family, a Gratitude Jar or Bowl can be a great tradition to help you and your family remember the things you are thankful for in your life—a perfect activity to do around Thanksgiving! Here are the steps you can take to create a Gratitude Jar or Bowl for your family:

  1. Choose the jar or bowl. This can be any receptacle you want, so long as it has some value to you and your family. Consider using bowls that have been in your family for a long time, or ones that were given as gifts in the past. Glass or ceramic bowls or jars work well.
  1. Place it in an obvious place in your house. This should be a place that members of your family will pass frequently, such as an entryway hallway or a prominent place in your living room. Make sure the bowl is at a height that even small children in the house can reach it. Very small children can be assisted if the bowl or jar is breakable.
  1. Place slips of paper and pencils beside it. Be sure this stays stocked and that all members of your family can access it.
  1. Have each member of your family write down something they’re thankful for and put it in the jar. This can be anything, from thankfulness for good health to thankfulness for a good grade in school. These thanks can be given to a specific deity or force in the universe you recognize, or just an expression of general thankfulness.

How many entries your family members make depends on how long you use the gratitude jar or bowl. You can set up the gratitude bowl one week before Thanksgiving or keep it going for the entire year.

  1. Read the entries aloud to each other on Thanksgiving. This is a great way to celebrate all the things you are thankful for and share this thankfulness with your family. Recognizing the great things in your life will help you reduce stress and come closer together. You can read them all at one time on Thanksgiving Day, or read a few each day during a vacation. Reading a few on a car trip can also provide you with entertainment.
  1. Dispose of your entries in a meaningful way. You can bury them, burn them, or take them to a recycling center—whatever seems most appropriate for your family. Make sure whatever method you choose, it brings closure to your holiday or year of thankfulness!

Image Credit: ummella, Flickr


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  • Philipo profile image

    Philipo 8 years ago from Nigeria

    Very nice.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    What a great idea. With all the problems in the world a little gratitude is surely a positive thing.

  • profile image

    Scott.Life 8 years ago

    A great Idea. I'm starting one today.