Last year we inaugurated a new family Thanksgiving tradition: requiring a “ticket” for admission for each member for Thanksgiving dinner. While this ticket is free, there is a cost involved–everyone has to put in writing at least one thing for which they are thankful from the previous year, then place it in our Thankful Box. Ideally (for the members in our household), everyone is supposed to be writing “thanks” throughout the year. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way, but, still, it’s one of my countless mama-fantasies that sounds GREAT on paper. For children too young to write their own, they can dictate their thanks to older siblings or Mom or Dad.
Last time it provided fabulous, laughter-filled, post-dinner conversation and provided a peek into the sometimes scary, sometimes insane psyche of my family. Perhaps for the first time ever, we spent time considering ALL the blessings for which we have reason to give thanks, some light-hearted, others quite profound–if you clicked the previous link, you saw that no blessing was “too small” to be included (soap? regular bowel movements??? you really should click the link…).
After realizing I had written about this, my kids reminded me that we passed around the box and took turns reading the slips of “thankful notes”; then, we tried to guess who had written it. If you’re looking for a fantastic conversation starter, this will compliment ANY meal, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter…whenever you’d like to extend your time together.
I wrote a short little poem to explain our Thankful Box; for Christmas, I gave a copy of it and a decorative box to each of our siblings (I wonder if theirs are empty or full….). You can pick up beautiful but inexpensive boxes at Hobby Lobby, Kirklands or (I’m sure) other craft stores in your area (especially with half-off coupons in your local paper), or for a fun project, you can make your own Thankful Box.
I’m just a little Thankful Box
And treasures I do hold.
Memories from this year gone past
As priceless as pure gold.
Each time you’re truly grateful
For big things and for small
Write it down and drop it in ~
I want to hear them all!
Be sure to write your name and date
So everyone will know
How special was this memory
And how God blessed you so.
Then, once a year, take them out
All gathered ’round to listen.
Reading, with smiles, remembering~
A Thanksgiving tradition.
~ Robin Dance, www.robindance.me
I really like the box idea, I think I’ll try it this year, to help cut down on the materialism (hopefully!) of my children!
Robin I absolutely love this idea of the Thankful Box.
I want to steal this idea from you if it is ok. Is it ok??
I know this year alone my family have many reasons to be thankful. 🙂
Apple Pie I love!!
Lisa, at least for a few minutes, they’re really thinking about it (and you’d REALLY love this if you could encourage writing notes year ’round…:/), and after the rush of eating a meal that’s taken hours (days?) to prepare, it’s nice to sit around the table a little longer.
Debs, I’m blushin’, sweets…I’d be honored if you “stole” this idea (btw, the original idea came after a conversation with a friend who did something similar…) :).
ah, pie. my brother is big on traditions. the more ancient, the better, as far as he’s concerned. he found an old pumpkin pie recipe one year that apparently was the recipe used by some long-dead croatian relative, and he made my little sister make it for thanksgiving dinner.
suffice it to say that it must have been a bad year in croatia–no sugar, apparently, and definitely no sweetened condensed milk. worst pie i ever had.
good post, robin. i like the box idea. my family would never do it–too cynical–but i think it’s swell.
I think this is a wonderful idea and can’t wait until my children are a bit older to start it!
What a sweet idea!
The Thankful Box is such a great idea. I have to say though that I’d be a little worried about what my bunch would write.
I’m sure that there is a more elegant solution to this problem, but couldn’t you create a text input box with the default value being the actual code? Then they can copy between the quotation marks, and paste it onto their own site.
PayPal uses a textarea for it’s button code:
Oops! I included the textarea code but anything html is stripped out of your comments.
Great idea – I love it. I was always the designated pie maker in my family, then I moved to Ireland and missed two Thanksgiving. I am going back for T’giving this year, and I’m debating whether or not I want to volunteer to make the pies.
On the one hand, it’s relatively simple, I love doing it, and my former Kitchen Aid is in the basement at my parents’ house. On the other hand, I’m only arriving Wednesday night, will have been traveling for 17 hours, and will be on a mental time difference of +5 hours.
I love your idea of the ‘Thankful Box’ It’s something we should all do. The apple pie sounds pretty good, I can almost smell the aroma of cinnamon. I am going to be enjoying a traditional thanksgiving with Sam’s friends this year~ can’t wait.
This is just super. The idea of a ‘thankful box’………AND your poetry!!! Outstanding.
Oooh I love the thankful box idea too, but not as much as I love the poem that goes with it. Now Im off to read the last year post.
I love your idea of a box for thankful notes, and the box itself is beautiful. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it surrounds giving thanks. I liked the times that we have stated what we are thankful for in our lives. Your idea of writing a note is even better. This gives the thankful person a chance to think about their response instead of waiting and sometimes dreading your turn as the reciting of thanks goes around the table.
i love the idea of being thankful for something throughout the year and writing it down. i’m so thankful all the time that when I’m not, I feel bad. Is that weird? Anyway, I started an “I’m thankful” on my blog for the month of November as perhaps a peek into who I am for those random people looking into me from NaBloPoMo.. And I totally agree from your post last year that I see when other people are not thankful and take note of it. not that i hold it against them. okay sometimes i say “you’re welcome” a little loud as a kid disappears. no strangers every turn back and say thank you. but all my nieces and nephews do. and i’m thankful for that. cause I was a part of helping to teach them that..
I’ve been looking for contemporary traditions; thanks for the info!
The thankful box is such a nice idea, I’ll be trying it out along with the pie crust although not the lattice topping!
Will return later, I love revelations!
What a lovely idea! May I steal, er, *use* your poem to do this with my family?
The thankful box is really sweet! Nice poem to boot! I will email you some link box instructions if I find it.
Your thankful box is a great idea, better to give each person time to reflect. We do the outloud around the table thing, but writing it down and letting someone else read them would be better. Thanks for the idea, I will also like to borrow it? The apple pie I will try too. I always make pumpkin and pecan pies for Thanksgiving.
I like your “Thankful Box”. It may be tough to keep it up all year, but requiring your guests to find something to be thankful for is a marvelous idea. It guarantees that they come with a proper attitude!
Forgot I don’t have email right now.
This is what I used to allow my NASW button to be copied so that it would become a link on your page.
I don’t know if that is helpful. I actually copied this code from someone else and just changed the source. (src) You can also add
What a fantastic tradition! We usually celebrate Thanksgiving with friends – might be interesting to see if they would like to try this.
I will be back awaiting your secret. 😀
I love your asides on the kis ups! Can’t wait for the secret reveal. You’ve got us all on the edge of our seats!
I love the Thankful Box and I think that, not only will I steal it, I may try and make one for my blog bar, so family can add to it from wherever they are! I love Thanksgiving!
I love that idea and think I’m gonna steal it!
A secret revealed? Ooooo…I can’t wait!
The ticket box is a wonderful idea and I love your poem. We do something similar at Thanksgiving. Great traditions!
I like the thankful box idea!
Laurie, I am sooo drawn to your “real” factor; I think we’re pretty different, but somehow our oppositeness attracts. Am I crazy? Don’t answer that…;)
Karmyn, start it NOW!! You’ll love the ways Jammin’ and BC are thankful for the baby!
TOB, you mean the pie or the box? 😉
Rotten Correspondent, THAT would be the BEST part! Did you not read my linked post? My family’s INSANE!
Witchypoo, “whitenoisewhitenoise”…huh? (but I’ll look at paypal and see if I follow). Thanks for the help!
Ann, what about day AFTER pie? Everyone will be extra hungry from stretching out their stomachs the day before.
Chris, I look forward to hearing about your trip…sounds like a GREAT one with Sam :).
Well, now…thank you Hootin’ A and Karisma on both accounts!
Molly, that little red box was a STEAL at Pier One after the holidays; there IS something about the written word, huh?
Jill, I’m right there with ya; thankfulness is my general attitude, I guess because I DO realize how blessed I am! When I see so many in need (physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually), I realize I’m one of the richest people on the planet…how could I NOT be thankful?! Kudos for the role you’ve played in your nieces’ and nephews’ lives :).
Linda, glad you found one when you popped in :).
Alix, lattice may be prettier, but for me it’s not worth the effort :/. Let me know how yours turns out!
Jenni and Junebug, thanks, and I’d be honored…truly :).
Robinella, thanks for your help…I’ll be trying out these suggestions in a bit…
Sayre, it really is entertaining, and it’s fun to see how people interpret the “instructions”.
Tiggerlane, it would probably be VERY entertaining with friends!
AFF, crud…I SOOOOooo don’t want it to be a disappointment :/ 🙂 (but thanks for your “ignornant” enthusiasm 😉 ).
Sandy, What a COOL idea! Let me know if you do that, ’cause I have NO idea how that’s work!
Susan, wow, I sure am making for a lot of Fun Monday thieves…and yet, that delights me! What does THAT say? 🙂
Serina, ticket box? thankful box? what’s in a name? 😉
Katie, THANKS! 🙂
Robocop did the Hanukkah wrapping paper, because of a joke. The joke is stupid, but it started to have a life of it’s own. I use to say Oy Vey!! All the time. Well he associated my curly hair with being Jewish. He did this because of a couple of Jewish girls he knew. Well he kept calling me his Jewish Girl. I kept saying..I am NOT a girl, I am a woman and I am not Jewish. He just would not let it go. MEN! Oy Vey!
I love your idea of the ‘Thankful Box’ It’s something we should all do. Your apple pie recipe sounds really yummy! I love how the house smells of apples and cinnamon when it’s fresh out of the oven.
BTW~Now you’ve got me curious-Hmmmm…Secret you say!! Inquiring minds want to know!
I love the idea of the Thankful box but I have a feeling I would spend all my time trying to get them to put things in it. The hubby probably would fight me on it as well.
I joined the Fun Monday group!
I was going to attempt to have everyone say what they were thankful for this year…
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea! Unfortunately, although my father would totally buy into it, all our kids would roll their eyes so vigorously they’d probably give themselves ocular whiplash.
The Thankful box is such a great idea! I know I’m guilty of not appreciating what I have lately, much less being thankful. I think young and old could do with a reminder!
We are going to steal that idea about a box of thanks. Just a fair warning**LOL**
What an excellent idea. Love the Thankful Box! And your poem? Outstanding!
That is SUCH a cool idea Robin – really captures the essence of the holiday – and some funny responses too! Might do something like that this year.
Thanks for participating and see you soon!
Christine, the smells of the season are almost as yummy as the tastes, huh?
My4Kids, welllll, I did have to insist a bit, but it was more than worth it; and actually, they enjoyed it as much as me when all was said and done :).
Amy, GO FOR IT!
Feefifoto, ocular whiplash? LOVE IT!
Blue Momma, reminders are a GOOD thing, yes?
Robocop, 🙂 Apparently with all the thievery around lately, someone’s gonna get arrested!
Well, Joy…gee…thanks :).
Deborah, I hope you do something…anything like this…you’ll be soooo glad you did :).
OH, I love the Thankful Box idea. And the poem to go with it? I LOVE IT.
Also, that apple pie recipe had me almost passing out with lust over here…I LOVE APPLE PIE and yours sounds heavenly!
That is a great idea with the box, and a wonderful poem. I love apple pie, well really any kind of pie.
Oh yes that does too fit in–fits in just perfectly, it doesn’t have to be about crafts and these are some great ideas! I hope you don’t mind but I plugged the link into Mr. Linkys to share.
i see you at scribbit…i love her blog…it is so pretty…and i LUV the fun monday ning group!
I love your thankful box idea. I think this would be a great addition to my Thanksgiving table. I have been on the hunt for new traditions and this one fits the bill perfectly! Thank you!
love the thankful box idea, we’ve done it this year, but we made our box. i love your little poem as well 🙂
Great idea. Lovely post.
Feel welcome to visit me at:
Laane on the World
We had a Thankful Jar when kids were young. Would read them after our prayer & dinner before dessert.
Now when we get together with our larger family(kids are adults now)and with military service/deployments we have brought out the “jar” at any of our family dinners now!! It sits on our counter year around so anyone who’s feeling thankful-friends or family can feel free to drop one in!!
We also have a Prayer jar(you could adapt your box for this also)for requests & praises!! Another good reminder as we go about our busy lives!!
Thank you for the reminder to be thankful and the cute idea that I’m sure many will try!!
Ann don’t stress over the pies . . . you are going to be exhausted. Your family wants to see you, somewhat rested more than anything else! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Laurie
I got a forward e-mail about the Thankful Box. My wife and I went to T J Max and found a great three dollar “pretty box” to get us started. God has blessed us so much. First our eternal salvation, finding each other as mates. And due to Lupus her kidneys failed and I was a match an a donor, she has had one of mine for eleven years now~! (short story version) We are blessed~!
Thanks for sharing your idea about the box.
Your comment is what I call a blogging "paycheck"–your words and action have blessed the socks right off my feet :). Thank you for taking time to REMEMBER to write me (for your email, too 🙂 ). What an amazing story you and your wife have to tell–you really ARE part of one another. That's a beautiful picture of the covenant of marriage :).
May the coming years continue to give you the eyes to SEE "thankfully".
And…….if you don't mind telling on your friend, who in the world sent my post/idea as an email forward? That just blows my mind but I sure would like to say thanks to him/her, too! 🙂