Documenting Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great day for making and recording memories! Family and friends gather together to share a meal, and cameras and group pictures are welcome and even encouraged. Make sure you have your camera and take photos of everyone at your celebration. Document where you ate the Thanksgiving feast and who was there to celebrate with you.

On this day, it is even possible to get even the most reluctant family members to open up and give you some journaling gems. Ask everyone at your Thanksgiving celebration to write down 3 things they are grateful for and share them at dinner. Or, a tradition in our own family is to go around the table and have each person name something they are grateful for about all the others at the table. We do this after we eat and while we are digesting and making room for pie. It seems that each year there are some “happy tears” as my daughter calls them, when we share our gratitude for each other at the Thanksgiving table. Be sure to jot down some of the thoughts shared later on that same day in a notebook, while they are still fresh in your mind.

Of course a big part of Thanksgiving is the food! Take pictures of the dinner table before and after the feast. Make a list of what was served and what your favorite dishes are. What do you “have” to eat to make it feel like Thanksgiving? Is it Grandma’s pumpkin pie? Or your Uncle’s special yams recipe? What does everyone request as their favorite Thanksgiving dish? Do you usually cook the feast, or is it a group effort?


It would be very special to use Thanksgiving as a “checkpoint” each year to document family changes and events. Create a Thanksgiving timeline layout with pictures of the family each year for as many Thanksgivings as possible.

Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you get a chance to document some things you are grateful for. It's a wonderful time of year to reflect upon on our blessings.