The family blessing jar tradition is a precious way to instill gratitude in your children with the simple act of recording blessings throughout the year.
This post has always been one of my favorites on my blog because it represented one of the greatest strengths of our family: creating and celebrating traditions.
When my husband and I divorced last year our whole family was shaken. (You can find out why in my new Marty Walden YouTube channel here.) Our traditions changed and we’ve had to find the courage to make new ones.
I do believe this simple tradition for instilling gratitude in our children can be practiced in many different ways, but the blessing jar will always be my favorite.
This tradition didn’t happen overnight. It began when my oldest two were young children and continued when we adopted a sibling group of three children. It took effort and reminders on my part to teach my kids the reason we count our blessings on a daily basis.
These blessing cards also turned into one of our most cherished family traditions celebrated on Thanksgiving Day. For decades each year we would have lunch followed by selecting our Christmas tree.
There was always much jostling and joking as we decorated the tree. Specific rituals had to be followed and I had to take pictures of all of us in our Santa hats. It truly was the highlight of our year, a tradition we held onto tightly and joyfully.
Once the tree was decorated and turkey leftovers eaten, we gathered around our table and took out our blessing jar. This special little jar sat on our kitchen table year round, reminding us to take time to appreciate God’s blessings, both the small things and the large.
Creating a blessing jar is a simple and meaningful way to cultivate gratitude in your family. Here are the steps to make your own blessing jar:
Blessing Jar Instructions:
Choose a jar or container.
Select a jar or container that is visually appealing and can easily fit slips of paper. You can repurpose an old mason jar or find a decorative container that matches your style.
Decorate the jar.
Get creative and personalize your blessing jar by decorating it with paint, ribbons, stickers, or other craft supplies. You can also add a label or tag that says “Blessing Jar” to make clear its purpose.
Collect slips of paper.
Cut small pieces of paper or purchase pre-cut paper strips. These will be used to write down blessings or things you are grateful for throughout the year. Make sure the paper is easily accessible near the jar.
Even when our kids got married their spouses would join us in this celebration of everyday blessings. They may have waited until the last minute but the sentiment was there!
Establish a routine.
Set a regular time for family members to share their blessings and add them to the jar. This can be during mealtime, before bedtime, or any other convenient time for your family.
The younger the children the greater the time investment at the beginning. As this gradually becomes a normal part of your everyday lives you can just give reminders that these gratitude lists are a family tradition.
Make it fun and don’t critique what your children are thankful for. And make sure you’re counting your own personal blessings as well!
Reflect and celebrate.
Periodically, take time to open the jar and read the blessings together as a family. This can be done on special occasions, like Thanksgiving or in conjunction with New Year’s resolutions, or whenever you need a reminder of the abundant blessings in your lives.
Our family chose Thanksgiving as THE day we looked forward to each year. Many of our traditions were happenstance but became must haves such as the music we played when decorating the tree.
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.
Remember, the blessing jar is a tool to foster gratitude and reflection. It’s important to create a habit of appreciating the simple joys and blessings that often go unnoticed. Enjoy the process and watch as your jar fills up with love, appreciation, and cherished memories.
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.
Helpful Tips for Using the Blessing Jar
- Start young. Even small children can be taught to say thank you to God through their prayers, songs and words.
- Reinforce. Point out to your children the many ways you are thankful to God for His provision, His love and your family.
- Model a thankful heart. Tell your children and spouse thank you for the gift of their lives each day.
- Encourage your children to say thank you and “catch” each other doing acts of service.
- 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.
- Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to remember God’s faithfulness over an entire year. Blank journals are also great gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
- I also created a scrapbook page each year with some of the slips of paper and pictures from our special day.
FAQs about Blessing Jars
Family Blessing Jar
- 1 jar of some kind
- Choose a jar or container.
- Decorate the jar.
- Collect slips of paper.
- Establish a routine.
- Reflect and celebrate.
- Helpful tips for using the blessing jar.