The Box of Thankfulness (an emerging tradition)

Around this time each year I do a Thanksgiving post where I say all the usual things. But this year I’d rather share an emerging tradition in my home that helps my family express thankfulness. Maybe this would even work for your household?

This is what our “Box of Thankfulness” looks like. Duct tape and markers (can you tell the guys made it?).

Let me tell you about the The Box of Thankfulness. This is something my family has done before and will do again this year. It can be a meaningful way to connect, laugh and be intentional about being thankful together. 

What is a Box of Thankfulness?

  1. Make a box: Have someone in the family (even kids) make a box with a slot in the top to drop in messages written on small pieces of paper. If you’re short on time, just use a jar or cereal box. It doesn’t have to be fancy (look at ours).
  2. Set the box out before your Thanksgiving meal: As soon as people arrive at your home, let them know there is a box awaiting them to write out a few messages that will be read during the meal. They can write however many they want at some point before the meal (whenever they want to). Family members can list out things they’re thankful for in life or even direct a message to someone else specifically. Use small pieces of paper too since you’re not looking for novels. It might help if one family member was in charge of gently reminding others to write something down. Give people a few ideas by saying, “it could be something funny, a couple of things you’re thankful for, write a message to someone…” Keep in mind kids might need ideas for how to get started too. Remember to have fun. My family definitely has some sentimental things to say, but we’ll also read messages like “Thank you Bruce Willis for making Die Hard” or “Hostess, you kept me happy for so many years.”
  3. Read the messages: At some point during your meal, pass around the box and have one family member pick out a message to read at random. Once the message is read, pass the box to the next family member or friend. Do this until each message is read and the box is empty. If someone doesn’t want to participate, no problem at all. Just let that person listen. It’s fun to hear what people say and wonder who wrote what, but most of all it’s neat to be thankful, laugh and have conversation beyond the usual stuff.
  4. Save the box: Keep the box for next year.

NOTE: My family has tried in the past to have everyone go around the table to say something they’re thankful for. That’s been nice and all, but at the same time it can feel forced, awkward and difficult to articulate feelings off the cuff like that. That’s why I prefer this idea. If you’re traveling too, why not bring a box with you?

No matter what your circumstances are this year, may you be filled with joy and a sincere contentment during this Thanksgiving week. If you end up trying out the Box of Thankfulness, do let me know how it goes. Blessings from Lundquist Appraisal Company and the Lundquist family.

Does your family have any special Thanksgiving traditions?

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  1. says

    Great box guys! (Duct tape is very manly.)We do a Thanksgiving Tree. Similar idea. I either have a tree poster on the wall or a twig stuck in a box/bucket/jar of rocks, and a basket of paper leaves nearby. Folks write things they are thankful for on the leaves and then tape to the poster or tie to the twig. It’s casual. People just do it throughout the day, and by the time we serve pie, the tree is filled. People go over and read it and talk about the leaves. It’s beautiful to see and fun to watch and do. And yes, this seems to be less pressure than having to announce our “Thankfuls” at the table.

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