Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Tradition of Encouragement

When our kids were small, we started a Thanksgiving Tradition that has proven to be a source of fun and encouragement. We put each person’s name on a slip of paper and drop them in a basket or hat. After the meal, everyone draws one name from the basket—no peeking!

Then we sit with pen and paper—fancy stationery or plain note pad—and write our chosen person a note, telling them why we are thankful for them. When the children were too small to write, they whispered their dictations to us.

When all are completed, we go around the table and read them aloud. Some bring laughter, others tears, all a sense of kinship and gratitude.

How amazing it’s been to see the Lord’s hand at work during these “Thankful Letter” moments. A sister forced to write why she is grateful for her snotty brother sees him in a new light for a moment; a dad suddenly realizes he needs to express his esteem for his son more often; a spouse receives a compliment for a quality they thought had gone unnoticed.

Hearts stir to new feelings of love and affirmation. God is proud. We are ministering to each other the way He intended when He created the family, bringing out the gifts in our relatives' lives. Thanksgiving becomes a time of refreshing our commitment to the ones we love most.

If we choose to save the letters, we have something to read on a future day when we need a scrap of proof that we are making a positive difference in someone's life.

Do you practice Thanksgiving traditions in your family?


  1. I wish we did. We have family prayer once everyone has arrived, which always feels like a apecial moment to hear Dad lead us.

    I love this tradition Jen!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. What a cool idea! I think I'm going to implement that...

  3. Speaking love is not easy to all but we did this once. It was quite humbling.

    My friend's family was invited to my MIL's Thanksgiving meal. We went around the circle to share what we were thankful for. (Sorry for the poor English ending on a preposition but that's the way I speak so that's the way I type.)

    Anyway, many talked about misc. things but I choose to be thankful for each person and mentioned specifics about each one. It was least for me.

    Now that friend is in heaven. I'm so glad I got the chance to tell her and show her I cared.

  4. Beautiful post. As usual.

    Thanksgiving traditions?
    The Turkey Trot
    Sharing one way God is working in your life for which you're thankful
    Taking the traditional Chirstmas card picture. Each year, one of our four family members reigns over the event and designates setting, outfits, even poses. Fun! Fun!
    A little TV football (Moan)
    Making soup or gumbo from the leftovers

    Happy Thanksgiving, all.

    Jeanette, woke up last night prayin' for you.

  5. What a beautiful tradition.
    Blessings, andrea

  6. We have no traditions as evoking as yours. How sweet! But it's still a special and loved time, spent with those we love most.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jen!

  7. Spending time with family on "the" day and shopping with my mom the day after. :0) Have a great Thanksgiving!

  8. Hi Jen -

    We have a similar tradition. We draw a name from a basket and tell why we're grateful for the person.

    It's always a special (and sometimes teary) time.

    Susan :)

  9. As a wordie, that would have been more tasty than the meal ..... well it would have been close anyway.

  10. What a great idea. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, dear friend.

  11. Such a beautiful idea! I'll have to start doing it. :O)

  12. What a wonderful tradition, Jen! Love that! We have a special book that we open up on Thanksgiving. We go around and each person says what they are thankful for, and then one person records it. Each year we can go back and read the things we were thankful for in the past! Some of the things the kids said when they were younger are really funny to read now!


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