The Thankful Thanksgiving Jar

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Whether you are celebrating with family or friends, the Gratitude Jar is a beautiful new tradition you can start around your Thanksgiving table this year.

Whether you are celebrating with family or friends, the Gratitude Jar is a beautiful new tradition you can start around your Thanksgiving table this year. #thanksgiving #gratitude #thankfulness #thanksgivingtradition #newtraditions #thankful #grateful

The Thanksgiving Jar of Gratitude

I’ll just come right out and say it, I think we under-appreciate and undervalue the people around us these days. We know we love them and care about them deeply but how often do we take the time to tell them that we are thankful for them?

Today I’m going to share with you a new idea I had this year that I hope will become a family tradition each Thanksgiving for years to come – The Thankful Jar.

The Thankful Jar is not just a jar to write what you are thankful for, but it’s a way to honor and show appreciation to all the people you are thankful for. A chance to write TO someone that you are thankful for and to tell them why.

How to Create a Gratitude Jar

Creating a Gratitude Jar or a Thankful Jar is really easy. All you need is a couple of basic supplies:

a jar (or a bowl)
some paper (cut into smaller pieces)
pens, pencils or markers for everyone around the table

You can keep it simple and use a plain mason jar and lined paper or you can make it a little more festive. Use some bright colored paper, cut fancy edges with decorative scissors, or tie a ribbon around the jar.

–For an extra special touch, you can use a beautiful Tinted Mason Jar.

As you gather around the Thanksgiving table, give each family member and friend a few pieces of paper. Everyone should get one piece of paper for as many people as there are in the room. So, for example, if there are 6 people at your meal, each person should get 5 pieces of paper. (If you want to, you can go ahead and write the names of all of the people that are there on the pieces of paper for them ahead of time.)

At some point in your Thanksgiving dinner (maybe after dinner, before dessert, while your food settles?) take 10-15 minutes to have each person write one thing they are thankful for about each person around the table. Ask your guests to be specific, we all know you are thankful for Mom, but what specifically are you thankful for that she does?

Once everyone has finished all of their notes of gratitude, fold them and place them in the jar. (Remind your guests that they don’t have to sign their names to the thankful notes that they wrote unless they really want to.)

Then pass the jar around the table and take turns having everyone pull out a note and reading it out loud to their respective friends and family members. When you finish, everyone will feel full of gratitude and love!

If you want, you can send your guests home with their notes of gratitude. This way they can pull them out when they need a little reminder of how much they are cared for and appreciated because we all have those days where we could use a little encouragement.

Take time to show your gratitude to your friends and family this Thanksgiving, if you don’t use a gratitude jar, come up with a new tradition just for your family. Whatever you do, just take time to enjoy one another’s company this week and this holiday season. 🙂

Looking for some recipe ideas to enjoy around your Thanksgiving table? Here are a few of our family favorites that your friends and family might enjoy:

My Famous Homemade Stuffing Recipe

The Easiest Healthy Cranberry Sauce

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Cheesy Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Biscuit Recipe

Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake

Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

These Turkey and Feta Quesadillas are a great way to use up any leftover turkey too!

Find more craft and homemade gift ideas.

Do you have any special ways that you show your friends and family you appreciate them?

The Gratitude Jar was originally published on Little House Living in November 2012. It has been updated as of November 2019.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this fabulous idea. I am definately going to make a Thankfulness Jar. Everyone can write thier cards anytime prior to coffe & dessert. We will read them then. I really do love this idea….thanx again. Peace and Blessings in abundance to you and yours.

  2. We did a Thankfulness Jar at our family dinner yesterday. There were 20 of us there, so I changed it up just a little. I put each person’s name on 3 pieces of paper and everyone had to choose 3 different names to write something that they were thankful for. The adults helped the 4 little ones, then after dessert and before a fun game of Apples2Apples we did our thankfulness jar. My nephew is serving in Afghanistan and even he was able to participate via phone. My sister saved his pieces of paper and will send to him in next pkg. Thank you, again, for sharing this special idea and helping us deposit another great memory into our memory banks.
    Please share if you did this with your family and how it turned out.
    Peace and Blessings, Juana

  3. You must have shared this before as I saw this and made it 2 years ago. I made the jar and left the papers and pens by the jar and we each wrote 3 or 4. Little did we know that would be our last year with my sweet sister, Jenny. She passed on 1/3/13. Sometimes we forget to tell the ones we love the most just how much we are thankful for them (and why). I am happy that she was reminded of our love for her before she joined Our Savior in The Kingdom so soon after the holidays. This year I am doing a project with my 2 little grand-girlies that was shared on The Homespun Wife recently ( It involves 5 kernels of corn and being thankful for our blessings, no matter how small. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.