Mindful Holiday: Starting a Gratitude Journal

Mindful Holiday: Starting a Family Gratitude JournalIt comes as no surprise that during the holidays gratitude is on everyone’s mind.  There are many ways to express gratitude and this year our family decided to try a new one, a family gratitude journal.  In years past I have had first grade students create individual gratitude journals, so using a similar process our family sat down to create our own collaborative version.



  • Gratitude Web Printable
  • Journal (we used a blank sketch book with heavy duty paper in case anyone wanted to paint but you could also use a lined book, or even smaller individual journals)
  • Writing and drawing supplies (we put out watercolors, oil pastels, colored pencils, and thin markers but you could take this in many directions.  How much fun would printed pictures of family members and other collage materials be?)



We began by having each family member (over the age of 2) create a gratitude web.  This pre-writing, or brainstorming, phase of the writing process allowed our oldest child, who is seven, to have a cache of ideas for her entries and she could therefore independently work on the journal as the mood struck her.

Mindful Holiday: Starting a Family Gratitude Journal

Then we created a cover for our book.  We used this process from Tinkerlab.

The book, webs, and materials then became the focus of our writing center and the older members of the family, mom, dad, and seven-year-old, were free to add entries to the book as they were inspired to do so.

Mindful Holiday: Starting a Family Gratitude Journal

Our almost 2 year old created a page while working with me.  She drew and I took dictation.

Mindful Holiday: Starting a Family Gratitude Journal


We hope to use the journal year after year so we recorded the children’s ages and the year with each entry and we are looking forward to see how their ideas of gratitude change and grow as they do the same.


Does your family document the things you are grateful for?  If so, how?


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Jacki Schulze is a stellar mama and learning specialist, bursting with lesson ideas for kids who love to ask “Why?” a million times. Through her love of nature, exploring, and experimenting, she is here to help change the way parents, teachers, and students learn every day. Jacki has a BA in Art History, an MA in Childhood Education, and New York State Certification in Elementary Education (1–6). When she’s not teaching, you can find her relaxing at the beach or cooking elaborate meals (while avoiding doing the dishes).


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  1. My kids and I keep our own Book of Awesome. If you know the Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha, then you know the format and the kinds of little awesome things he writes about. Sometimes we read chapters from his book and it keeps us inspired to be grateful and notice the small things. Kids can’t relate to all of them but I pick out the ones that they can such as “Peeling off your wet bathing suit and putting on warm clothes after swimming for along time”. I find that Neil’s format is “cooler” than a gratitude journal. We are by no means regular but it stays on the kitchen shelf with the cookbooks and every couple of days/week/months we get it down and add to it. Awesome!

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