Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Thankful Bag

When our children were small, we wanted to find a way to teach them what Thanksgiving was all about, and to teach them about gratitude. What we did turned into a family tradition that has continued for over 20 years.

Every year, on one of the first Mondays in November, we make a "Thankful Bag." Essentially a "Thankful Bag" is a paper bag covered with turkeys and filled with small pieces of paper. Yeah. Read on:

To start, every member of the family traces their hand on a piece of paper, and then uses crayons, colored pencils or markers to turn the hand into a turkey, and then to decorate the turkey. (Get it? The thumb is the head, the fingers are the tail feathers, and you add feet, a beak, and so on.) The first year we did it, we had some pretty interesting turkeys. The second year they looked a little more normal. Then the third year we started drawing funny turkeys: turkeys dressed as Pilgrims, turkeys wearing doctor's scrubs, turkeys wearing hippie clothes, a turkey carrying an axe, funny stuff like that. We've been doing this for over 20 years now, and we've had some pretty imaginative turkeys.

Then we get a big brown paper grocery bag, cut out the turkeys, and glue the turkeys to the outside of the bag. This is our Thankful Bag. Every day until Thanksgiving, anybody can take a piece of paper, write on it something they're thankful for, fold it up and drop it in the bag.

When it's time for Thanksgiving dinner, we pass the Thankful Bag around the table. Everybody reaches in and grabs a handful of papers, unfolds them, and reads them aloud. There are no writers' names, just things (and people) that we are thankful for. It really makes you think about all the blessings God has given you in this life.

1 comment:

Lori Dawn said...

For a complete list of the contents of the thankful bag (with only 1 commentary remark from yours truly), see my "Thankful Bag 2008" entry at