In the previous post about fostering thankfulness at Thanksgiving, we talked about ways to share what we are thankful for. These were more public demonstrations either through social media or through a sharing time over the Thanksgiving meal with guests. More “private” expressions of gratitude can also be incredibly meaningful and are much more long-lasting. These might be helpful for people who are not very comfortable sharing with a group what they are thankful for or just if you want a more permanent collection of gratitude anecdotes to keep track of over the years.
My hope is that these couple tips for preserving an attitude of gratitude through lasting written word will foster thankfulness and be a lasting blessing for your family throughout the years to come.
Seasonal or Daily Gratitude Journal
One of the best gifts I ever received was a 5 year journal. Each day of the year has one page in the journal, and that page is split up into 5 sections for a short entry on that given date to use over the course of 5 years. I just write a few short sentences about what happened in life on that day, but it is so neat to have a record of what has happened. As I go through the next few years, I’ll be able to look back at what I was doing a year or two ago on that same day and remember to be grateful for the journey I’ve been on.
You can do the same, and I guarantee you’ll be able to find something to be grateful for in each day. If a daily journal seems to be too much, you can just use a seasonal journal. For example, you can store a journal with your fall or holiday decorations and pull it out when you decorate. Throughout the season until those decorations and journal are packed away again, record things periodically from that season that you are grateful for. As you foster this habit of finding blessings in every day, you’ll be encouraged that life has good things to offer. Be sure to look back at your daily or seasonal journal to remember the journey you’ve been on and be grateful for where you are headed!
Gratitude Display with Written Message
I’ve found that some members of my family are much more comfortable sharing their heart of gratitude in writing than sharing out loud. Therefore, I started a tradition of pulling out a small metal “tree” display stand that I have and left a bunch of papers cut out in the shape of leaves near it with some pens. I punched a hole in each leaf so that it could be hung on the tree. I encouraged everyone who came to Thanksgiving to take time at their leisure to write what they are thankful for on a leaf and add it to the tree. I made sure it was clear that they would not be read out loud but that they would be saved from year to year. Some guests chose to write their name and the year on their leaf while others left them completely anonymous. I found that this helped some people open up their heart of gratitude in a way that they never would have sharing aloud.
Although they don’t have to be leaves, choose a shape of something fall or Thanksgiving-inspired and cut out a bunch of those shapes on fun paper. You can use a tree display like mine or have a bulletin board or photo holder for people to attach their messages onto. Be sure to pull out your gratitude display each year and have new papers for people to write on. Keep the previous gratitude messages to add to the display so people can read them from years past and add new ones.