Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Tradtion 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?

This year, will you host Thanksgiving at your home, or go to someone else's house to celebrate?


  1. "God is proud." I love that line, Jeanette. Every once in awhile, I hear Him whisper, "Thank you for doing that," and it kinda surprises me.

    What a lovely tradition this is.

    We've decided, last minute, to host this year. So,herb-rubbed turkey and Aunt Iola's from-scratch chocolate pies, dead ahead!

  2. What a great and creative tradition Jeanette.

    We recently transitioned from going to the in-laws for holidays to being at home. As such, we should put some time into developing ideas to make the holidays meaningful for all.

  3. What a beautiful tradition!

    I'm hosting and my two daughters and my son (& a son-in-law & a 6'9" boyfriend) are all coming in for Thanksgiving.

    We have a day after tradition of going Christmas shopping in downtown Chicago. It's awesome to see the lights and windows on State Street. We take the train up and spend the day together.

  4. Jeanette;
    This year we will have a Thanksgiving-Christmas-Son's Birthday weekend starting the Thursday after Thanksgiving. I've cleared my calendar to be able to spend as much time with him as I can. Oh, I don't plan on cooking, beyond baking a couple of a Sara Lee Pumpkin pies and maybe a Sugar Creme one.

  5. Hey Jeanette, what an awesome idea. I will introduce it next week at the house where we will be celebrating!

  6. What a lovely tradition, Jen. I'm grateful that all my children like to write me and my hubby long notes of appreciation at birthday and Christmas. It is so heartwarming. Yesterday, my eldest gave such a note to her younger sister...such a pleasure to see our children appreciating one another.

  7. Hi Jen -

    We spend Thanksgiving with dear friends that are like family to us.

    They write everyone's name on a slip of paper. A basket is passed around the table before dinner is served. Each person selects a name and tells why they are thankful for that individual.

    Susan :)

  8. What a wonderful family tradition. I'm sure that over the years, the family members look forward to it. And I would definitely treasure my note from a relative. And you could practice thinking up nice things about everyone, just in case you drew their name. And so you would be giving thanks, at least secretly for all of them.

  9. Thanksgiving is one of those 'rare' times the whole gang comes together. We number 48 now. We often go round the table with..."I am thankful for..."

    I do love your tradition that focuses the gratitude on another person.

    God bless and have a delightful weekend sweetie!!! :o)

  10. That is a wonderful tradition. Will
    make you stop and think about the one you got. We ought to show our thankfulness more often.
    Just getting back into blogging more often. Wanted to say hello.

  11. I find I always gain perspective when I "write" my heart out with ink. GOD reveals much to me through those times!

    Great post, my friend!

    Blessings,hugs, and prayers,

  12. I love this idea. My kids are just old enough to understand this concept and speak their thankfulness for the chosen family member.

    My husband and I grew up in very different cultures and we are eager to start new traditions of our very own each year. Thank you for this idea!

    Blessings to you and yours.


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