Thankful All Year Round

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When you read these pages, Thanksgiving will already be over in Canada. In the United States, Thanksgiving is this month. But we don’t have to save up all our thanks for just one day!

King David was very good at saying thanks for all of God’s blessings. He wrote many psalms about thankfulness. Here are just a few:

  • “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart. I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” —Psalm 9
  • “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” —Psalm 69
  • “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever.” —Psalm 106

Feeling thankful to God, to our family, or to other people is good, but “giving thanks” is even better. Here are some great ways to show and tell why you’re thankful—at Thanksgiving dinner or all year round.


Bake Some Thankful Rolls

Have you ever eaten a fortune cookie? Inside the crunchy cookie is a slip of paper with a surprise message on it. Here’s how you can make your own “Thankful Rolls” with a message of thanks inside!

Here’s what you need:

  • Can of refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • Small strips of paper (½” x 2”)
  • Ballpoint pen

 Here’s what you do:

  • Give everyone in your family a strip of paper and ask them to write something they’re thankful for on it and sign their name.
  • Gently unroll the dough and separate into triangles.
  • Lay one strip of paper on top of each dough triangle.
  • Roll the dough up, starting with the wide end, not the pointy end.
  • Bake as directed. Have an adult help you use the oven.
  • During dinner, have everyone break open their roll and read the “thankful note” out loud.
  • Close with a prayer of thanks to God for all these good things!


“Chalkboard” Placemats

Thanksgiving dinner is a great time to give thanks. Give each person at your table a piece of black construction paper and a white gel pen or a white colored pencil. At the top of each piece of paper, write “I am thankful for . . .” Then fill up the rest of the paper by writing or drawing the things you’re thankful for. Put clear contact paper over the front and back of your paper so you can use it as a placemat.


Family Gratitude Jar

This Thanksgiving, start a new tradition of gratitude that lasts all year long. Here’s how:

  • Find or buy a clear glass jar (about the size of a cookie jar)
  • Cut a few dozen pieces of patterned scrapbook paper into strips about 2 by 10 inches (5 by 25 cm). Make more strips whenever you run out.
  • Whenever you feel thankful for something, write down what you’re thankful for on one of the strips of paper and place it in the jar.
  • Collect your strips in the jar all year.
  • The day before Thanksgiving, make paper chains using the strips from the jar. Make sure the side with the writing is facing out.
  • Decorate your house with the paper chains.
  • Read the strips on your paper gratitude chains to each other while you celebrate!


Thank-You Gifts to Make

When people do things that make you feel thankful, tell them! Thanking people makes them feel great—and it will make you feel pretty good too. Here are three fun ways to thank your pastor, your teachers, your friends, your parents, and other people who do good things for you.

Bake cookies and make paper plate baskets to put them in (you can find instructions online at Then deliver them to the people you’re thankful for.

A personalized travel mug makes a very special thank you gift. To find the mug, search the Internet for “design your own travel mug” (dollar stores are another good place to find these mugs). On the paper insert that comes with the mug, write a message of thanks and decorate it. Slip the insert into the space between the two walls of the mug, and you’re done!

Buy a picture frame that includes a mat. Use colorful markers to write why you’re thankful on the mat. Then add a picture of yourself and give it to the person you’re thanking. (Your mom or dad would love to get this as a gift on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!)


Say Thanks

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
—William Arthur Ward


Thanks from A to Z

What are you thankful for? Can you name one thing for every letter of the alphabet? Give it a try!
A ______________________________
B ______________________________
C ______________________________
D ______________________________
E ______________________________
F ______________________________
G ______________________________
H ______________________________
I ______________________________
J ______________________________
K ______________________________
L ______________________________
M ______________________________
N ______________________________
O ______________________________
P ______________________________
Q ______________________________
R ______________________________
S ______________________________
T ______________________________
U ______________________________
V ______________________________
W ______________________________
X ______________________________
Y ______________________________
Z ______________________________

About the Author

Sandy Swartzentruber serves as the resource coordinator for Faith Formation Ministries and is a member of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.