Family Blessing Jar and Instilling Gratitude

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Family Blessing Jar - Marty's Musings 

Do you ever feel pulled by the demands of family, job, school, church or outside activities?

Of course you do! You are probably especially feeling the pull of this busiest season of the year as we race towards Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

I will be honest and say that this year as a work at home/homeschooling mom I’m busier than ever. I constantly have to refocus, adjust my priorities and ask for help!

How do you keep from drowning in the commercialism, busyness and demands on your time?

For our family it is a matter of reconnecting with our roots and remembering cherished family traditions.

Our family blessing jar is tradition that goes back to 1999. At that time we only had two children and couldn’t possibly have imagined the changes the next few years would bring, with both joys and trials. Our family expanded that next year to include 3 adopted children as well.

Our most cherished family tradition occurs on Thanksgiving Day. We have lunch at our house for our family (our kids, my niece and family.) Late afternoon then finds our immediate family meandering up the street to Wagoner’s Tree lot, where we have picked out our tree every year for more than 15 years.

We come home, drag the tree in the house and start decorating.

Christmas Tree Decorating Tradition

Point of Grace Christmas CD must be playing and Russian tea must be served.

It truly is the highlight of our year, a tradition we hold to tightly and joyfully.

There is much jostling and joking as we decorate the tree. Specific rituals have to be followed and mom has to take pictures.

2013 Christmas Home Tour from Marty's Musings

Once the tree is decorated we gather around our table and take out our blessing jar. This special little jar sits on our kitchen table year round, reminding us to take time to appreciate God’s blessings, both small and large. 

Family Blessing Jar - Marty's Musings

No special paper needed. Any scrap will do! We then go around the table and one by one open the slips of paper, seeing the blessings of our lives laid before us.

As we read from the past year we are always reminded of the ways God has taken the good and bad times and turned them into family memories, a tangible picture of God’s love for us. 

I cannot begin to tell you how we look forward to this time. As our family ages and changes we welcome new members and treasure those to come in future years.

Our culture of family traditions didn’t start overnight but are the culmination of years living life together. 

Where do you start? Take one day at a time and try these tips for instilling gratitude in your children.

  1. Start young. Even small children can be taught to say thank you to God through their prayers, songs and words.
  2. Reinforce. Point out to your children the many ways you are thankful to God for His provision, His love and your family. 
  3. Model a thankful heart. Tell your children and spouse thank you for the gift of their lives each day.  
  4. Encourage your children to say thank you and “catch” each other doing acts of service.
  5. As the children get older, have them look up scriptures on thanksgiving and write the verses out. Use them in art projects or special presents for friends and family members.

Have you joined me for my 31 days series yet? It’s not too late to follow along!

31 Days to a Beautiful Home - Marty's Musings

My hope is that my 31 Days to a Beautiful Home series will motivate and inspire you to spend just a bit of time creating a home you will love and embracing the life you have been given! Just click here to view all the posts. 

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  1. Thank you, may seem a little fake after just reading your gratitude blog but it is very sincere. If more families took the time to create traditions other than hitting the mall the day after celebrating being grateful for what we have I believe there would be more sense of peace. Love your blog and your family. God bless you and yours.

    • Hi, Ann. Your comment wasn’t fake at all. It is a task to cultivate gratitude and make it a habit. I still struggle with it but that’s what makes us human. Have a blessed weekend! Marty

  2. The blessings jar is a wonderful idea. We need to be more grateful for what we have rather than focus on the next thing we want. Can’t wait to see what you are going to do for Christmas decor!

  3. Lisa Simpson says:

    I love this idea! Sitting around the dinner table would be a perfect time to share these blessings!

  4. This is wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

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  6. I had a friend make me a gratitude jar last year. I love it! Thanks for linking up at the Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party!

  7. Marty, what a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing with us at #OMHGWW, hope to see you next week!

  8. Love this! I tried in Jan. Then I moved, and it all messed up. But, try, try again!
    Here from TUT.

    • Hi, Melinda. We have done it so faithfully for many years but as the kids have gotten older and moved out we end up doing it right before Thanksgiving. So I have to play catch up here pretty quick! We do still love the tradition of reading them aloud on Thanksgiving night.

  9. Hi, I love this idea. Just wanted to let you know your Family Blessing Jar is my DIY Sunday Showcase pick for the week! Have a great day:)

  10. This is a great post! I have chosen it as my feature from this week’s Oh My Heartsie Girl Wordless Wednesday. Thanks for joining us.


  11. A jar of blessings is a great idea . We did these types of things when the kids were in school as a part of discussion during homeschool lessons. Now I just wake up everything feeling thankful and blessed for each new day.

  12. This is such a wonderful project. I loved it.Thank you for linking up to the Home Matters Party with you! #HomeMattersParty Hope to see you next week.

  13. This is such a good idea. I think my family could really benefit from this for sure. Thank you for sharing with us at #ThrowbackThursday, we hope to see you again this week.

  14. This is such an amazing idea! Thank you for sharing it with us. I try so hard to teach the kids gratitude and appreciation, I think this idea will go a long way. Stopping by from Sitsgirls

  15. Wow, this is such a good idea and a must-try for all families I believe. Not all families started rich, this includes us. But we have lots of things to be thankful of, me and my husband sometimes are just busy making money to think of the good things we already have. I know this isn’t good so I think your blessing jar idea is really worth a try for us this year!

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