How to Make a Thanksgiving Journal of Gratitude

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You’ll be entertained and amazed at what kid’s will write in a Thanksgiving Journal of Gratitude – give it a try and see for yourself!

What do you think of when you think of Thanksgiving?  For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time for family.   In millions of American homes, Thanksgiving is celebrated in much the same way: Grandma makes the turkey, Aunt Alice brings the green bean casserole and candied yams, and Aunt Mary makes her famous pumpkin pie.  Everyone leaves the table claiming they couldn’t eat another bite, but a few hours later, turkey sandwiches sound pretty tempting.

If you are anything like Matt and me, Thanksgiving is also a time of gratitude for the many blessings of life.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a record of Thanksgiving, a sort of annual gratitude journal? Well, with just a few simple materials and a little time, you can easily create a coin envelope Thanksgiving journal.   If you’d like to make a Thanksgiving gratitude journal, you’ll need the following supplies:

Materials List:

  • Chipboard or heavy cardboard for journal cover
  • Two 12” x 12” pieces of coordinating patterned cardstock
  • One 12” x 12” piece of solid cardstock in a coordinating color
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Bone folder
  • 8 coin envelopes
  • 8 tags to fit coin envelopes
  • 1 small tag for the cover
  • Brown stamp pad
  • Stippling or stenciling brush
  • 2 clothespins
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Four eyelets
  • Ribbon, yarn, or cord

Instructions: 
1. To determine the dimensions of the cover of your journal, measure your coin envelopes and add ¼” to both length and width.  My coin envelopes measured 6 ¼” by 3 ¼”, so my journal cover was 6 ½” by 3 ½”.

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2. Using these measurements cut two pieces of chipboard with your craft knife.  To make the front cover, add 2” to both the length and the width measurements of the cut chipboard.  Using these measurements, cut two pieces of patterned card stock.

3. Apply glue to the back of the chipboard cover, center the chipboard over the cut cardstock, and adhere the two together.  Next, fold the corners of the cardstock towards the center of the chipboard.

4. Finally, fold the edges of the cardstock onto the chipboard, and press firmly with a bone folder.  Repeat the process for the back cover.

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5. To create the accordion spine for your journal, cut a strip of the solid cardstock measuring the width of your journal by 12”.  Accordion fold the strip every ¾”.  Use your bone folder to create sharp folds.  Turn the strip so that you have 8 valleys, and adhere the front and back covers to the ends of the strip.

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6. Using the second patterned cardstock cut two pieces measuring slightly smaller than your chipboard cover.  To hide the unfinished edges, glue these pieces to the underside of the journal cover.

7. Cut the flap off each coin envelope.  To soften the look of the envelopes and tags, you can gently rub a stamp pad across the edges.  You can also use a stipple brush to apply the ink for an aged look.

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8. To assemble your book, center one coin envelope into each valley of the accordion spine.  When finished, you should have eight envelopes in place.

9. The next step is to drill through all the layers of the journal.  It is helpful to have a partner for this step, although I’ve found that two clip clothespins can be helpful in holding the covers and envelopes in place.  Measure approximately ¾” in from the top and bottom edges and 3/8” from the end of the cover.  Using a 1/8” drill bit, drill through the covers, spine, and envelopes.  Remove the clothes pins and set eyelets in the front and back covers.  Secure the eyelets with a hammer.

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10. Thread ribbon, yarn, or cord up from the back of the cover, over the front, and down through the other side.  Tie a knot in the cording on the back of the journal.  Thread ribbon or bits of fabric through the holes in the tags and insert them into the envelopes and your gratitude journal will be ready for Thanksgiving.

As your guests arrive, be sure to take everyone’s picture to include on the front of the envelope.  After you’ve all feasted on Grandma’s turkey, Aunt Alice’s green bean casserole and candied yams, and Aunt Mary’s unbelievable pumpkin pie, pass out a tag to each family member and ask them to record what they are most grateful for this Thanksgiving.  Next year, about this time, you’ll be grateful you did!

Shari

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