The Thankful Box

IMG_0242Last year, my wife, KayEm, decorated an old oatmeal container, cut a hole in the top of the lid, and placed it on the counter with some Post-It Notes.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s our thankful box,” she said. “Throughout the year, we will write down things we are thankful for, place them in this container and read them on Thanksgiving Day.”

“Great idea,” I said.

Things started slowly with KayEm placing the bulk of the messages in the box. Eventually, the sight of that box on the counter prompted the rest of us to chime in.

Each time a family member wrote a message, the anticipation grew. We tried to pry hints about the notes from each other, but it never worked. We all managed to keep our lips sealed.

On Thanksgiving Day, we were eager to open the Thankful Box. I think the kids were almost as excited about reading the thankful notes as they are about Christmas day.

Immediately after breakfast, I grabbed the box and placed it on the kitchen table. Before I could open it, I noticed that my 6-year-old son, N, was looking a little sad.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I wasn’t able to put anything into the box because I don’t know how to write,” he said glumly.

“Come with me, son,” I said.

I led him into the dining room and asked him tell me what he wanted me to write down. He leaned in close and whispered something into my ear. I quickly scribbled the message on the Post-It Note and stuffed it into the box.

Back at the table, I prayed with the family and then opened the Thankful Box. I slowly pulled out the treasures that we had accumulated all year long and read each one aloud.

The notes helped us to remember some of the key moments from the past year: Our adopting our dog, Ginger; the first day of school; our 12th wedding anniversary. It also helped us to appreciate some of the more mundane moments: Nee’s playing with her brothers; X’s speech improvements; KayEm’s going out with her friends; and my washing the dishes.

Finally, there was one more note left. I purposely saved N’s note for last because it summed up our time together perfectly. I slowly unfolded the note and read these words:

“I’m thankful for my family.”

I couldn’t have expressed the sentiment any better.

Stay Strong,

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Question: What are some of your family’s holiday traditions?


About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at