The first time I sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws, I had made the incorrect assumption that their celebration would be the same as my family’s.

I expected Turkey.  And pumpkin pie.  And football.  Well, there was football.  But no turkey!

Hubby’s family has a wonderfully diverse and sophisticated palette, and that year there was a plethora of other fantastic foods to choose from.  (It was delicious!)

But as the day drew on, I realized that it wasnt just the absence of the turkey that was affecting me.


In my family at every Thanksgiving dinner, we would go around the table and say one thing we were thankful for.

Truthfully, up until that first Thanksgiving away from my family, I had rolled my eyes in dread each time it was my turn.  Stopping and giving thanks was the last thing I wanted to do when I had a gorgeous golden brown turkey glistening before me.

Planning out our Thanksgiving this year it occurred to me that there was a way to incorporate my beloved tradition of giving thanks and still honor the gentle humbleness of my husband’s family.

I made “thankful” cookies.



The idea is simple… I place out a tray of blank cookies, and every family member can write one thing they are thankful for on their cookie.  People can do this throughout the afternoon in their own time.

They can do it anonymously or sign their name.


The nice thing about these cookies is that it’s a win-win.  Even if people don’t want to participate, we still have a lovely treat to munch on through our weekend!

So what family traditions do you have at Thanksgiving?

I highly recommend using my favorite sugar cookie recipe and glaze icing recipe.  🙂

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. What a wonderful idea! Love it! My family does the go around the table and say what you’re thankful for thing as well. And truthfully…I roll my eyes(I’m shy and self conscious and not one to speak in public – even in my family!) 🙂 But you’re right – when I’m with my husband’s family I miss it! These cookies are a wonderful idea. 🙂

  2. Such a smart, fun idea. I think our young kids can even get in on the fun and would love to draw/scribble on their cookies before they eat them on Thanksgiving.

  3. Very fun! I just did a similar thing with “thankful muffins!” It’s such a special thing, being thankful, and sometimes extending out of ones comfort zone makes it even more poignant.

  4. Before I ate those sweet little cookies of yours I’d have to write that I’m thankful for having found you through blogging and twitter. Great idea!

  5. Excellent idea! My family had the same tradition (going around table saying what we were thankful for) when I was growing up. We also read a passage from the Bible. I plan to do the same when I am blessed with my own family.

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