How to Pull a Thank Prank (and other Thanksgiving family traditions)

Ah… Thanksgiving break. I look forward to it every year. Besides the traditional mashed potatoes and family gatherings, we enjoy a few days off to set up our Christmas tree, shop the online sales, and watch lots and lots of football. But is that all Thanksgiving is about?

The Bible has much to say about thanksgiving. We’re called to “give thanks to the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:34), pray “with thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6), and receive God’s provision “with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4). And when we share God’s love with others, our generosity causes them to respond with thanksgiving as well (2 Corinthians 9:11). In that way, gratitude becomes infectious, spreading God’s purposes throughout the kingdom.

Thanksgiving is a powerful thing!

So this year, in the midst of parades and pumpkin pies, why not begin a family tradition focused on godly gratitude. Here are some ideas.

Thankful tablecloth—Cover your Thanksgiving dinner table with a paper cloth. Invite everyone to write something they’re thankful for directly on the tablecloth during dinner. Then read the statements aloud while everyone enjoys dessert.

Send Thanksgiving cards—Christmas cards are delightful, but everybody does them. Why not be different and send Thanksgiving cards instead? Use these as an opportunity to express what God has done in your life over the past year, and thank others for their love and support.

Give gratitude packages—Make a list of people who have served you and your family over the past year. These could be doctors, teachers, police officers, pastors, babysitters, and so on. Assemble gift boxes filled with fruit, chocolates, or a devotional book and deliver these to the people on your list during Thanksgiving break along with a note of encouragement.

Collect donations—A great way to thank God for all the blessings in your life is by paying forward those blessings to others. Choose a cause to support and invite friends and family to donate toward it, such as used clothing for a homeless shelter, non-perishables for a food pantry, or personal hygiene products for a domestic abuse center.

Start a Thank Prank—This is a fun opportunity to spread love and gratitude throughout your neighborhood. Print this Thank Prank sheet and cut it in half to make two identical notes. Tape one note to a small gift such as a bag of candy, and enclose the second note inside. Leave the gift on a special person’s doorstep or desk (anonymously if you choose!) and watch the gratitude grow!

Happy Thanksgiving season, everyone!

Becky Kopitzke

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