Having an attitude of gratitude is something we should have all year long, but the focus is definitely much more prevalent during November because of Thanksgiving. I really love that we have holidays that help us bring our gratitude level into focus especially before Christmas! As a new family, I have been looking for different Thanksgiving traditions to incorporate into family life during this month, and the gratitude jar is one of them.
Before I tell you how to make your very own gratitude jar, I want to tell you how I came up with it. One of my close friends does an I'm Thankful tree. I really love this idea too! She bought a really pretty fall colored tree that sits on the table, and printed out some different leaf patterns on nice fall paper. She cut them out, punched a hole in the top, placed ribbon, and placed them in a jar. Every mealtime, each member of the family would write something they were thankful for and hang it on the tree. The end result was a beautiful tree.
I really loved her idea and decided to come up with something similar. I wrote in this post how that in order to change our actions, we must decidedly change what we allow ourselves to think about. For example, if gratitude is lacking in your family, you need to change the thought patterns.
The gratitude jar is intended to teach and develop new thought patterns, so it may seem structured a little odd. Instead of naming something that you are thankful for or picking something in a category you are thankful for, I made a printable list of one hundred random things, and you have to explain why you are thankful for that particular item.
This exercise helps one to learn how to think gratefully, because it makes you stop and think why you are thankful for that particular item.
So, now to the fun part, how to make the gratitude jar. This is a list of the needed items:
- Large popsicle sticks (100 or more)
- The Gratitude Jar printable
- Wide mouth jar
- Scrapbook paper, optional
- Click here to print out the list of items. I made some extra boxes for you to put in your choice items. It is made Microsoft Word and completely editable, so feel free to make it fit your family.
- Cut out the list of items and place them in a pile. At this point, if you want you can cut them shorter and put them on pretty pieces of scrapbook paper. I intended to do this, but ran out of time.
- Glue a single list item to the end of a posicle stick.
- Place in a wide mouth mason jar and make it pretty. :) I just used some burlap and a flower to dress mine up a bit.
That is it, you now have your very own Gratitude Jar! We use ours at meal times, but I would love to hear how you plan to use yours!