Thanksgiving is my favorite. I love the time spent planning the meal, the communal preparation, the “good dishes” being set out, sharing a small feast with family, and lingering over a glass of wine. I love not having to give gifts, because I’m a very mediocre gift-giver. I really love setting an entire day aside to intentionally be thankful.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite ways we celebrated was by opening the “thankful jar.” A few weeks before Thanksgiving, my mom set out a jar on the dining room table. Whenever any of us thought of something we were thankful for, we wrote it down, folded it up, put our name on the outside, and put it in the jar. With six people in the house, it got pretty stuffed by Thanksgiving. After dinner, we each got to pull our notes out of the jar and take turns reading them out loud. My favorite was hearing what my parents wrote because you always hoped they’d say something like, “I’m SOOOOO thankful Joanna is my daughter. And that she’s so smart. And funny. And my favorite child.” I think they basically wrote those things for each of us every year. I’m just now figuring out these parenting tricks my parents used on us. They’re good ones.

Anyway, Brad and I have a thankful jar now, too. It’s one of our little family’s favorite traditions. Because of the thankful jar, I’ve learned that Brad is very very thankful that I make good pancakes. That one is always in the jar. Sometimes twice.

P.S. I can’t talk or think about traditions without thinking of the song from Fiddler on the Roof. So there it is: I’m thankful for Fiddler on the Roof.




  1. Mom

    I AM thankful for you. And that you are so smart. And so funny. And that you can cook, cook anything! And you ARE one of my four favorite children in the world.

  2. Shannalee

    I like you. Thanksgiving is MY favorite holiday! And I just read your mom’s comment here and it kills me. I like her, too.

  3. Lan

    so sweet! what a great tradition you had growing up, and now incorporating into your own home.

  4. Jillisa

    I have been thinking about The Fiddler too!! “From your mouth to God’s ears!”

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