A Great Way to Give Thanks on Thanksgiving

give thanks

Family time, lots of food, football, and fun…those are the things that I think of when Thanksgiving day arrives. It’s a meaningful holiday as well as all of our family from across the country gather around the dinner table to share memories and give thanks.  In our home, we’ve shared the meaning of this special day and have expressed our thanks by using Thanksgiving Story Cards.

Our good friends, Jay and Beth Hohfeler and their kids, recently shared with me their tradition on Thanksgiving.  Each family member writes down what they are thankful for on a table cloth each year.

It’s a simple, yet profound, tradition that encourages and lifts up each and every family member. As Jay explained to me, here is how they do it.


All you need is a white cotton table cloth and multi-colored fabric markers (available at craft stores). Indelible markers (Sharpies) can work too but fade over time when the cloth is cleaned. Buy markers that are somewhat fine, but not too thin.

Week of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day:

  • The week of Thanksgiving, pull out the table cloth and put it on the table so everyone can read what’s been written in previous years.
  • Select about a 3′ X 3′ section of the cloth for the current year and label it in bold numbers (e.g. 2012) and invite family members to write their comments in that general area this year.
  • Family members can write what they are particularly thankful for this Thanksgiving.
  • There shouldn’t be pressure to write something as soon as the table cloth is laid out. The pens should be available on the table and people may jot something down anytime that Thanksgiving week. It will be fun for family members to walk past the table and notice someone in the family has added a comment.

Practical Reminders:

  • Include a special visitor’s comments if you want to remember their presence that year.
  • Put plates right on this table cloth. It’s fun to see the comments written all over the cloth right underneath the place settings.
  • Spills will occur every year. Don’t obsess. Dry clean the table cloth after Thanksgiving and keep the cleaned cloth hung and wrapped by the dry cleaner for next year.
  • The comments will fade a bit after cleaning, so it’s a good idea to write your initial comments and then re-trace every letter this first time to make them as bold as possible.

If you and your family have any special Thanksgiving traditions, please share them with me. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Related Resources:

8 Days of Being Thankful
28 Days of Thanks for Dads

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.