Traditions can be the foundation for happy family memories that your children will savor when they grow up. They empower you to share things with your children that you enjoyed as a kid, and your parents may opt to pass along simple traditions to their grandchildren as well. You may also choose to start new family traditions that you can repeat each year, and your little ones may continue the traditions with their own families someday.

Try this special family tradition this Thanksgiving, and your family may want to repeat it each year. You may even want to post it to a family tradition online community with a story of how your family played it.


Before you sit down to a meal with your family, hand out little sheets of paper and pencils to every member of the family. (You should participate, too, so take one for yourself.) It's important to make sure that each piece of paper looks the same, so pull them from a stationary set or notepad. Also, instruct everyone to write down the thing that they are grateful for with a plain print, so that other players are not able to guess who they are from their handwriting.

Steps for Game Play:

  1. Have everyone write down one phrase that represents something that they are thankful for having.
  2. Instruct everyone to fold the paper in half and hand it to you.
  3. Close your eyes and shuffle the sheets of paper around, making sure that you don't keep track of what paper is where.
  4. Next, hand out one folded sheet of paper to each member of your family. Every sheet of paper will now each have a gratitude item on it.
  5. Go around the table, instructing each player to read aloud the gratitude item that they received. After reading it aloud, they must guess who wrote it. If they can't guess after three tries, they are out of the game.
  6. After one round, the players who made correct guesses go another round, repeating steps 1 to 5. Keep in mind that the gratitude items should be just between them.
  7. Repeat until you have a clear winner, then grant them the title of Gratitude Queen or King.

Finally, keep in mind that it's okay to adapt any tradition to the unique needs of your family. Every family is different with members of various needs, so traditions are meant to be molded in a way that works for you. You may opt to post your own adaptation in a holiday tradition community online like Our Family Tradition to inspire others to do the same. As you try this game, feel free to add your own special touches and adaptations that help your family members fully embrace all the fun that can come with them.