Turn a basic piggy bank into a simple reminder of thankfulness and gratitude throughout the year
Most of our national holidays don’t have instructions built into their names. Thanksgiving Day is the exception. Thanksgiving is more than NFL football, more than that day before Black Friday when your challenging in-laws arrive, more even than good food lovingly prepared. It’s about giving thanks. It’s also easy to get overwhelmed: with the kids obsessing about the upcoming Christmas shopping season, you having to plan a multi-course dinner, and your whole family bracing for a visit from those lovable-but-slightly-nuts relatives. If you’re looking for a way to encourage your family to remember to be gracious and grateful all year long, here’s a family tradition that brings meaning not only to the holiday but the whole year that led up to it: Thankful Pig.
Think of Thankful Pig like you would its more famous cousin, the Piggy Bank: something to place your deposits in until it’s time to make a big withdrawal. In fact, Thankful Pig is really just a converted piggy bank, one that accepts little written expressions of gratitude instead of pennies and nickels. All you need are some slips of paper, something to write with, and a central spot, say, your dining room table, where you can keep Thankful Pig all year long.
Once a week, after dinner, ask every family member to write on one of the slips of paper something he or she is thankful for. Place each slip into Thankful Pig. The submissions will range from the simple (“I’m thankful for my dog”) to the sublime (“I’m thankful God gives me everything I need”), the specific (“I’m thankful for my SpongeBob Crocs”) to the sweet (“I’m thankful for my baby brother”), the unexpected (“I’m thankful for that look my mom gets when I make her proud”) to the informative (“I’m thankful nothing happened when we went creek jumping”), to the downright weird (“I’m thankful for the red spot on Jupiter”). Resist the temptation to censor them. Over time, the slips will tell your family’s unique story, all the while reminding each family member how important—and fun—it is to be thankful.
Of course, there’s no need to limit the submissions to one night a week; just make it a regular event. If you do it all year, by November your Thankful Pig will start looking well stuffed, maybe even overstuffed. Thankful Pig’s big reveal on Thanksgiving Day helps turn the holiday back into what it was meant to be: the joyful climax to a year of gratitude.
By Bridgett Hurley
Photography by Jacqueline deMontravel