Thanksgiving Gratitude Journal

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is a little over a week away? Alice Golden with you today to share a holiday tradition that we have been doing with our family and friends for several years now. We started with a simple tradition of passing around a small notebook where each person could write a few lines about something for which they were grateful. As the number of guests expanded, it didn’t take long to run out of room in the original journal and I started looking for a new solution.

Three years ago, I came across a digital kit that seemed like it would work well for what I had in mind. I didn’t have much time to spend creating a journal from scratch and needed something that I could pull together easily. (Did I mention that it was the day before Thanksgiving and we were expecting 30 people for dinner… or that sometimes I have a tendency to procrastinate?)

These turned out better than I had hoped and have already become a new tradition for our family and friends. Here are the journals from Thanksgiving 2010 and 2011.

Let me show you what I did. First, blank journaling cards were printed onto an assortment of cardstock. I used digital software to slightly change some of the colors, but the kit also comes with pdf versions of the journaling cards that don’t require any special software, just a computer and printer.

I found an empty box and covered the outside and inside with Thanksgiving-themed papers. I added ribbon around the middle to dress it up a bit. Blank journaling cards and several archival pens were placed inside the box, all ready for our guests to arrive.

To create the label, I die cut one of the journaling elements that came with the kit and added it to an embossed paper frame from my stash.

The first year, I put my eight- and nine-year-old nieces in charge of asking each guest to fill out a journaling card. The cards were placed back in the box as they were completed. In the whirlwind of activity surrounding getting dinner on the table, I forgot all about taking each person’s photo until dessert was over and folks were starting to leave. Being in such a rush resulted in most of the photos looking like police mug shots.

Some lessons I’ve learned after doing this for a few years:

- If you are hosting Thanksgiving, put someone else in charge of asking guests to create a journaling card (this can be a perfect job for older kids).

- Not everyone will want to participate – and that’s okay. Some people like to write their own card and others prefer to create one per family or couple. Just keep note of how the cards are filled out so you can get corresponding photos.

- Ask someone to be in charge of making sure each person, couple, or group has their picture taken to correspond with how the journaling cards were completed.

- Make previous years’ journals easily accessible to guests so that they will be able to look through them. Not only do they love reminiscing about holiday memories, but I have found they also become more willing to participate in the project going forward.

When you are ready to assemble your journal, all you need to do is to print your photos, trim to size, and adhere them to the completed cards.

Punch a hole in the corner of each card and use a metal binder ring to hold them together. I added a seasonal charm, as well as a cover page with a title and the year.

I love having all these wonderful memories together in one book. This is my dad in 2010.

And here is the book from last year.


Cathy Zielske’s Thankful Album Project No. 02 from
Assorted cardstock
Thanksgiving-themed papers from Karen Foster Design
Autumn Charms from Karen Foster Design
Ribbon from May Arts
Nestabilities Labels One Die from Spellbinders

So glad you stopped by the Crafts ‘n things blog today. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Alice Golden from Golden Moments (

4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Gratitude Journal

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Family Crafts & Traditions

  2. What a wonderful idea! I’ll start doing it, where did you get your kit? I don’t think it will arrive on time anyway, so I’ll make one myself. Thank you so muc for the inspiration.

    • Hi Loly… sorry I’m just seeing this now… the kit was Cathy Zielske’s Thankful Album Project No. 2, there is a link to it in the supply list at the end of the post. Too late for this year, but you can be all ready to go next year! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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