The strongest brands have rituals. What’s the Thanksgiving ritual for your family’s “Brand”? Here’s ours:

Not to sound too much like a fiddler on the roof…

but I think that Traditions are extremely important.

They help mark events and give meaning through repetition.

One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is called a “Thankful Box”.

It’s a plain box we’ve decorated with fall colors and the words “Thankful Box” on the top.

Before the meal each person writes down a few things that they are thankful for.

These are written individually on separate strips of white paper, then carefully folded and put in the box.

Each is anonymous. No one signs their name.

Then at dinner we take turns passing around the box and reading the sentences out loud.

We make a game out of the whole table guessing who said what.

It’s fun and engages the kids with the guessing bit.

But my secret motive is to have my children hear out loud all of things that their friends and family have to be thankful for, and to somehow appreciate the deeper meaning of the holiday – beyond the Macy’s parade and the yummy apple pie, eggnog, etc.

It’s a way to combine creativity (we’ve gotten better at writing the sentences so the author is not so obvious), with interaction and meaningful messages – three of the things I cherish most.

And I’m thankful that my guests are willing to play along.

What’s your Thanksgiving twist?

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


  1. Fine idea.

    As an Englishman in New York I really appreciate Thanksgiving.

    Halloween sort of annoys me because it’s not as pagan here as it is in the UK. It’s supposed to be when the witches come out not the men in Lobster Suits (like I witnessed this year).

    Christmas should be Christmas and not Holidays (I’m not Christian but it is their time and should be respected).

    Thanksgiving is a holiday we can all share in. Personally, I think it should be a worldwide holiday. Everyone has something to be thankful for and honoring it is important.

    I hope you save all the suggestions over the years, it would make a fine book 🙂

    • @Floyd a compilation book of all the Thankful Box sentiments is a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion and the comment.


  2. Lovely idea.

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because the answer to the question “what are you thankful for?” manifests itself before your very eyes. Family, shelter, food as the usual basic elements. As adults we fall into habit of overcomplicating everything and so we should all follow custom of bringing it down to the basics.

    Giving thanks,

  3. I love this idea!! Leave it to Julie to remind us of the magic of rituals.

    We have tried to bring the celebration of thanks into our weekly family rituals. Every Sunday we talk about what we are thankful for from the past week. So often the kids bring up some little special moment that i’ve completely overlooked. “Stay in the moment” as my 6 year old now taunts me.

    Now I need to have a ritual with my girlfriend, Julie!!

    Thanks for this great idea. We’re going to try it tonight with some friends of ours. Happy Thanksgiving!


  4. @Andrea I love the idea of a weekly ritual. What a nice way to wind up the week with a Sunday reminder of Thankfulness.

    “Stay in the Moment” is right! Easier said than done, but so worth the effort.

    I’d love to rekindle a ritual with you. How about a spa blue room?

    Thanks for sharing. I hope you had a special holiday.


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