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Family Gratitude Jar: Cultivating Thankfulness This Time of Year

The holidays are a natural time to reflect, here’s how your family can turn those feelings of thanks into a sentimental gratitude jar.

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From Home Alone rewatches to steaming mugs of hot cocoa, the holidays are a natural time to reflect on all that we’re thankful for — including all those coupon books your kids gift you every year that are sitting in your nightstand drawer. Spend some time flipping through your family photo books so you can ooo and ahh with your family at every dance recital, birthday party and messy ice cream cone. After all, it’s been another big year!

Fun fact: 91% of families say looking at printed photos helps them remember all the things their family has been through together, both good and hard, according to our Printed Photo Impact Study. After spending some time looking through your photo book collection from the year, whether that’s monthly photo books or your annual Yearbook, take that natural feeling of gratitude and use the opportunity to create a gratitude jar with your family to share your thanks! Follow these steps to create a personalized gratitude jar that’ll help when cultivating thankfulness this time of year and finding the right thankful ideas for your family.

You’ll need a clear container or mason jar, some colorful pieces of paper, writing utensils and anything else you’d like to use to decorate, like stickers or ribbon. Read on for gratitude practice ideas.

Get on the Same Page

It’s time to jump on the bandwagon! Gather your family members and explain your idea for a gratitude jar this holiday season. Start flipping through your photo books to remind your kids how wonderful it feels to reflect and feel grateful. Let your family know that every time they feel thankful, they can write down a moment that’s stuck with them and add it to the jar. For your little ones, it may help to make a gratitude list of ideas.

Pick Your Jar

Whether you’re going to the store to pick out a new mason jar, or using a clear container that’s been sitting in the back of your cabinet, your family can turn any object into a sentimental family gratitude jar. Head to Pinterest to look up gratitude jar ideas, or even other grateful jar ideas.


Let your kids’ imaginations run wild: Using ribbons, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, stickers and colors galore, decorate your family’s gratitude jar to make it an important object that lives on the kitchen counter (something your family will be excited to use!).

Pick A Spot

Wherever you choose to home your gratitude jar, make sure it’s easily visible and accessible to every member of your family (except maybe your four-legged furry friends). Visibility is key, as you want your family to see the jar and continue to add to it throughout the holiday season (or for however long you’d like!).

Make a Habit

Over the next few weeks, you’ll want to encourage your family to continually add notes of gratitude and thankfulness to the jar. Create a habit by reminding everyone to write down something they’re thankful for before dinner or as part of their evening bedtime routine. Encouraging thankful activities is great for your little ones, especially when it comes to family gratitude.

Make Time Together

You don’t have to wait until the end of the holiday season to begin reading your notes of gratitude, either. Every week, or whenever your family decides to take the time, have each member of the family pull out a few random notes of gratitude to read aloud. It’ll be a great time to reflect on the positive moments your family’s had, and hear what everyone has felt thanks for. Their answers may surprise you! 

If you’d like to save up all your memories until the end of the year, opening them at the end of the year (or beginning of a new one) is also a wonderful way to ring in the upcoming year. What’s even better, you can save your notes of thanks from this year and empty your jar so it’s ready for a whole new year of gratitude. And even other gratitude ideas!

Turn Your Thanks Into Keepsakes

You’ll want to leave room in your gratitude jar for new memories and notes of thanks, but you don’t need to toss out your existing notes. Organize or line up your colorful notes and snap as many photos as it takes to visibly fit every note, or take an individual picture of each note. Then, upload those photos into a Classic Photo Book or your family Yearbook so you can preserve your handwritten memories into a beautiful keepsake — all while creating the space to continue your family’s gratitude practice.

Gratitude project ideas don’t need to be hard! There are so many amazing ways to practice gratitude within your family (especially when your spouse takes over dish duty!), and encouraging your family to take a moment each day to write down something they're grateful for is a wonderful tradition to start over the holidays — and continue into the new year! From flipping through family photo books and curating your annual Yearbook to creating a gratitude jar and sharing what you’re thankful for, you’re creating positive, sentimental holiday traditions your family will treasure for years to come. Your family gratitude jar is the perfect way to begin cultivating thankfulness this time of year!

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