The Blessings Jar: A Simple Way to Embrace Gratitude

“It’s here!” I heard my son yell as he ran from the mailbox the other day. He had a huge smile on his face as he waved a paper in the air.

What is he talking about? I wondered, but then I saw it–the brightly colored magazine with toys on the front. Every year, when the Christmas catalog comes in the mail, mothers try to quickly hide it, and kids continually obsess over it. A few weeks ago, my mom friends even joked about how their kids circled every toy in the catalog. Sound familiar?

Raising a Grateful Child

In a world where consumerism is alive and well, it’s hard to raise a grateful child and not an entitled child. Every day, our kids get bombarded with messages of, “You need this toy!” and “Have it your way.”  If we concentrate on all the messaging, we can start to feel discouraged. Is it possible to avoid raising an entitled child in today’s world? The answer is yes.

We can teach our kids how to be thankful. Gratitude is a taught behavior. And as parents, we can intentionally practice thankfulness in our homes. Not only will this improve their happiness and joy, but it will also teach our kids to appreciate what they have and not always strive for more.

A Blessings Jar

A few years ago, my family created a Blessings Jar, and it was a big hit at Thanksgiving. If you’re hoping to combat some of the “I need more” attitudes this holiday season, then keep reading. This activity is for you.

So, what’s a blessing jar? It’s simple! Find your favorite jar or container and decorate it with your kids. We printed the word “blessings” on scrapbook paper and glued it to our jar. Get as creative as you’d like with your kids. But you can also keep it super simple. A plain jar is just as effective at teaching gratitude as a fancy one. Do what works for you and your family.

After you’re done decorating your jar or container, it’s time to fill it. Each family member can take a slip of paper and write down one thing they are thankful for.

You can fill the papers out and place them in the jar on Thanksgiving morning and then open it after dinner. Or you can start writing down blessings each week in November and then, on New Year’s Day, open the container and read the papers. You’ll be amazed to see all God has done for you and your family in the last few months.

If you need help with figuring out what to write in the jar, I’ve created 7 prompts to get you and your children started. Feel free to come up with your own as well!

7 prompts to practice thankfulness with your kids:

  1. Draw something you are thankful for today.
  2. Name one person you are grateful for and why.
  3. What happened today that made you smile?
  4. What was the best part of your day?
  5. What food did you eat today that you enjoyed?
  6. Who made you feel loved today?
  7. What part of creation (trees, flowers, animals, etc.) are you most thankful for today?


Pausing to Give Thanks to God

This time of year is hectic for families, and adding one more thing to your already overflowing to-do list can feel like too much. But we read in Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (NKJV).” God wants us to pause and see that He is good! When we intentionally take time to sit down and remember His faithfulness and goodness in our lives, our perspective changes. Our thoughts no longer center around our wants. When we choose to stop and write down the good, it forces us to remember everything we already have.

While the Christmas catalog is fun and maybe even a core memory for many of us, what if we flipped the script this holiday season? How would our perspectives change if we intentionally focused our attention on all of our blessings already in our lives?

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