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Traditions are what make holidays so memorable and fun. Thanksgiving traditions involving family recipes and favorite activities like taking a long walk after dinner or all day card game sessions make the holiday even more meaningful. There is always room for a new tradition to come along that reinforces the meaning of the Thanksgiving.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is sharing my thankfulness scrapbook each year at Thanksgiving. I got the idea ten years ago from one of my favorite craft authors, Stacy Julian, in her book “Simple Scrapbooks”. Her suggestion was to have everyone at the Thanksgiving meal write down what they are most thankful for on a scrap of paper. She collected the notes, and placed them in the scrapbook. Each year after everyone writes their notes, the scrapbook is shared so everyone can see how things have changed and remain the same.
I ask friends and family to participate whether they are at our Thanksgiving dinner or not. Each person we see on Thanksgiving, whether it is for breakfast that morning, late afternoon dinner or even a get-together the next day, is asked to fill out a thankfulness card. Some people write in paragraph form. Some people make lists. Young children sometimes draw pictures of what they are thankful for.
I compile these notes in an 8 1/2" x 11" post bound scrapbook and arrange them by year. It’s fun to look back over the years past and see how priorities have changed and how events of the past year are reflected in what we’re thankful for.
The project is very simple, and can be completed with just a few supplies.
1 8 1/2" x 11" binder (can even be a 3 ring binder)
1 box photo adhesive squares
1 package 8 1/2" x 11" page protectors (will need to fit inside binder)
1 package white or kraft colored cardstock (8 1/2" x 11" size)
1 package of cardstock in fall colors (8 1/2" x 11" size)
Using scissors or a paper trimmer, cut enough small pieces of paper for each person you expect to see at your Thanksgiving gathering. Make each piece smaller than 4"x6", but the pieces do not need to be the same size. On Thanksgiving Day, let everyone know that you will be asking them to write down what they are thankful for this year. Provide several ink pens, so more than one person can write at once. Do not allow people to read one another’s notes until they have written their own. I have noticed that people have a tendency to copy one another otherwise. Do not forget to write one of your own. Try to get a photograph of each person sometime during the day. That way, when you put the notes into the book, you can pair each one with the photo of the person who wrote it. If possible, get a group shot of the guests for the year’s title page too.
After Thanksgiving, use an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of cardstock in a different color than the handwritten notes for the base page. Trim the individual photos to 4 inches x 4 inches or smaller. Using adhesive squares, adhere each person’s note and photo next to each other.
The design does not need to be complicated. Simply place the notes on the left and the photos on the right, using as many sheets of cardstock as necessary. Generally, three people will fit on each page unless your notes and photos are smaller.
For the title page of the album, use a sheet of cardstock and place a pleasing fall or Thanksgiving themed picture or a family photo with the title of your album. Mine is named The Godman Book of Thanks.
Each year should have its own title page with the date and the group photo that you take of everyone who attended that year. Each year, add to the book at your Thanksgiving gathering. I do this tradition whether we are at home or at someone else’s Thanksgiving gathering, and I’ve only had one person decline in ten years. It has become an expected and loved Thanksgiving tradition that reminds us of the reason for the day. I hope that your family enjoys it as much as ours.
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