Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Traditions: Gratitude Rolls

I first saw the idea of Gratitude Rolls on PinterestOf course I pinned it loving the possibility of this tradition.  But as I started searching, I realized that this idea is everywhere, from my newspaper to blogsNot sure how I missed this one nor who originally came up with it!

What I love about this idea is the simplicity and the lack of time needed to complete it.   The tradition can be done with several or an immediate family.

As with every tradition, there are several ways to do it.  I will share the way I like best.

Grab a couple of cans of crescent rolls.  If you have the time and enjoy baking, make up a batch of butter horn rolls.  (For best results use a higher-fat-content roll so the thankful strips don't stick.)  Cut strips of paper that are approximately 1/2" x 3". 

Immediate Family:

Without them in the room, I secretly places six thankful strips in six random crescent rolls.  The strips said, "I am thankful for _____ (a member of our family)."   Because I made the strips too long, Bubs immediately spotted the pieces of paper.  Thinking I had made a grave mistake, he protested loudly.  Once everyone calmed down realizing it was okay, we passed the rolls around giving each person one to break open.  As a person broke open a roll, the strip was read and that person said one thing which they were specifically thankful about that person.   Precious.

This activity took me approximately sixty seconds to pull off but the character eduction and legacy was priceless!  (At the end of this post, I will share what Bubs said about his sister.)

Extended Family and Friends:

When family and friends arrive at your home for Thanksgiving, ask them to write with a pencil on a small strip of paper something which they are thankful.  Instruct them to place the paper in a bowl. Insert these stripes into crescent rolls before baking.  To begin the meal, pass the cooled rolls around the table instructing each person to take one.  Take turns having each person break open his/her roll and read the thankful strip.  End with prayer. 

Creating the Rolls:

Roll the crescent rolls into triangle shapes.  Place one thankful strip into each roll.  Loosely wrap the roll into crescent shape.  (Tightly rolling will make the paper stick.  Some sources suggested smearing butter on the strips.)  Bake according to directions.

There will be less sticking if the rolls have cooled prior to breaking them open.  Also, when we used a pen, the ink bled onto the rolls.  A pencil did not.  

Other Options for Gratitude Rolls:

Beyond the Thanksgiving dinner table, premake these rolls to give to a family in a "Thank You" basket.  Let them know how they bless you with notes in the rolls.    This would also be great in a "Thank You" basket to your pastor, teacher, or youth workers.  (Warn the recipient ahead of time!)

One website suggested using gratitude rolls on birthday.  Write notes of thanksgiving for the birthday boy or girl.

I was amazed at how easy this activity was and yet what a profound impact.  This is a tradition that I want to use throughout the year.

Oh...and Bubs' thankful spiel about his sister?  After much thought and fight, Bubs said, "I am thankful that my sister can be mommy when Mommy is sick.  She takes care of all of us." So, so true.

Glean more Thanksgiving ideas in our blog series - Thanksgiving Traditions throughout this month - and on the ABCJLM  website page - Thanksgiving Ideas. Be sure to "Follow" our blog (in the right-hand column) so you don't miss any great ideas!

What other opportunities could you use the Gratitude Rolls?


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. We don't really have any Thanksgiving traditions, mainly because I'm not good at implementing traditions that aren't simple, simple, simple. This one is right up my alley! I'll have to look at your other ideas soon.


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