Building Gratitude Around The Holidays

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Family, Tips

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Are you worried about your child feeling spoiled, or ungrateful around the holidays?  It is the season of giving, but also a season of “gimme”.  Here are 25 activities you can do to start building gratitude this holiday season.  

Why Gratitude is Important for Children

Gratitude is deeper than just saying thank you.  It is a mindset.  There are many benefits to practicing gratitude such as reducing stress and anxiety, along with building resilience which helps with overcoming trauma.  

Gratitude changes everything note and cup of coffee - building gratitude

In the Raising Grateful Children project at UNC Chapel Hill, they identify gratitude as having four different parts.  Adults may be able to experience all four different levels independently, but you may need to help guide children through all of the parts.

Notice – Are you aware of what you appreciate?   Did someone do something nice for you?  What makes you happy?

Think – Why are you thankful for these things?  Why have you been given these things?  What does this mean for you?

Feel – What emotions are you experiencing because of this?  

Do – What can you do to express your gratitude?  

Children often struggle with the “do” part of gratitude.  You can involve them in many different activities to help practice and engage in gracious activities.

25 Activities for Building Gratitude

1. Model appreciation – say thank you to others (cashiers, servers, custodians, etc..) and to your children

2. Have them purchase presents with their own money

3. Make a giving list

4. Send thank you notes – (teach them how to write a good thank you note.)

5. Catch them being grateful and praise them for it. 

6. Sponsor a family in need – (Link here to Mission E4 – Helping children in Haiti)

7. Send a care package

8. Give experience gifts

9. Pay it forward at a drive thru

10. Create a gratitude chain – (write down things you’re thanksful for on strips of paper, glue them in a chain.)

11. Participate in random acts of kindness

12. Create a monthly calendar of service

13. Don’t give kids everything on their list

14. Have a gratitude jar

Collage of pics, thank you note, good things glass jar, Mission E4 logo

15. Share gratitude on social media

16. Write in a gratitude journal

17. Create a thankful rock – everytime you see it, or touch it you have to think of something you are grateful for.

18. Write what you love about your family members and give it to them.

19. Create a collage of things you are grateful for and post this in your room.

20. Read books that emphasize gratitude & empathy

21. Do a gratitude scavenger hunt 

22. Share a “Wow” moment of the day – each of you something awe inspiring for you

23. Find a positive in every situation

24. Create a gratitude time capsule 

25. Do gratitude yoga 

If you have other activities to help build gratitude, make sure to share them with us!

png time capsule jar
Gratitude Yoga cover

Building Gratitude Around The Holidays


Lisa Edwards, M.E., Parenting Coach


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