The Original Source of this wonderful family tradition!
Enjoy instilling more memorable traditions into your home by searching my Thanksgiving tradition posts with lots of simple, meaningful ideas.
As we pour out gratitude, our soul feeds joy.
It’s that time of the year, when we focus on feeding our tummies, yet what’s more important than feeding the hearts of our children with one of the most important character qualities – a heart of thankfulness.
These Gratitude Rolls put a fun “foodie” twist to expressing our gratefulness in a unique and creative way that will impact your children for years to come. This Thanksgiving tradition is similar in purpose to my Leaves of Thanks tradition, (free printable) which I shared earlier, yet these Thanksgiving traditions shouldn’t be saved for only special occasions, you can enjoy this encouragement any time of the year.
Today we made these Gratitude Rolls “Just because,” but I envision using this during a birthday celebration and have everyone write something they love about the special birthday “blessing.”
Gratitude Rolls – This simple tradition, first shared here in 2009, is a fun way for your family to express what they are grateful for during your Thanksgiving dinner.
As guests arrive have each person write a few things that they are grateful for on small sheets of parchment paper. I’ve used paper before, but if you choose to do that, then use parchment paper to protect it from the dough. I used pens, but you may purchase food Safe markers.
One of our Thanksgiving food traditions is taking a little extra time to make homemade butter horn rolls, but Store bought Crescent Rolls works perfectly without the extra work.
Remember, it’s not about having the perfect meal, it’s about celebrating life together.
Place your gratitude paper slips on the dough wedges, roll them up into the crescent shape and follow the baking directions. When the rolls are served, pass them around and enjoy savoring the moment as each guest tears into their hot roll and then shares the written gratitude statement. If you want to add a fun twist, keep the notes anonymous and have everyone try to guess who wrote what.
Lessons learned: Since my daughters did the rolling, they wrapped the dough so tightly and made them only bite size. To avoid the paper sticking to the roll, just use parchment paper.
If children are helping, they will be so excited to take the rolls out of the oven before it’s time. If you do this, the dough will stick a bit to the paper, as witnessed above. They’re still edible and readable, but just a lesson learned.
Enjoy this fun new tradition, while reaffirming the importance of showing gratitude in our everyday lives.
“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good; if bad, because it works in us patience, humility, contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” (Clive Staples) C. S. Lewis
Our family is big on all kinds of special traditions, so browse my traditions category for more meaningful (and stress free) ideas to strengthen family ties.
Don’t miss out on some of my favorite free Thanksgiving printables, our 24 Thanksgiving Conversation Starters or a few of our family’s most loved Thanksgiving Dishes.
We love celebrating this special day!
- Easy Homemade Pumpkin Cake or Easy Pumpkin Bar Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Adorable Turkey Veggie Tray, Turkey Shaped Cheeseball
- Cider Baked Turkey (wonderful for whole turkey or just a turkey breast)
- Gourmet Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes – Perfect for a Large Group
- Mashed Cauliflower (great alternative to mashed potatoes for those on low carb diet)
My gift to you: Free printable with over 240 Family Conversation Starters.
Give them as meaningful gifts this year. This has graced our table for years.
This is an awesome idea! I am definitely borrowing it for our Thanksgiving this year!
What an awesome idea. Love it and I’m going to use it. Thanks for sharing
What a great idea. We make homemade crescent rolls every year and this would be a great addition to the lineup!
Christi @ A Southern Life
Marvelous idea!! I’m so excited to try it!
Jen, I love this idea! I think my boys would love it, too! Thank you so much!
So, the paper/ pen don’t get into the rolls? Did you use pencil/ pen or anything special? I’m sure I’d take a big bite or someone’s “health” if I wasn’t paying attention… which I’m usually not if I’m eating rolls! ha!
Love the idea and I’m excited to link up this week!
You’d definitely want to break open the rolls and take out the paper. 🙂 You could designate one bread basket at the “grateful” rolls, so that you’d only have to be careful with those. 🙂 We just used a regular ball point pen and it worked fine. I think my youngest used a pencil, and it didn’t bleed at all into the dough.
Love this idea! I’m with Toni, definately stealing it this year!
Thanks for hosting!
Love it Jen! What a great idea. I can’t wait to do this with my kiddos. It will be a perfect family project. Thanks!
What a neat idea! Very clever and fun!
great idea! Going to try this!
What a neat idea! I would love to incorporate this into our Thanksgiving. 😀
what a great idea Jen!!
I’m having a Love the Pie party if you have a pie recipe come link it up!! (there are prizes too)
What a wonderful idea!
I LOVE those rolls!
Beautiful idea and a sweet teaching moment!
All Things Heart and HOme
I’m new and didn’t know how to put what my recipe is by my name. I hope you will forgive me. I will read more today on the proper way to do it. I love your thankful note idea. I will try to make those for Thanksgiving. Doylene
Jen, what a great idea!! I love this!
I love this idea! I am going to suggest we try this at our Thanksgiving this year. It seems like a fun way to bring the real spirit of Thanksgiving into the holiday. Thanks!
One word comes to mind (ok, 2…): FUN! And Fortune Cookie, Pilgrim style. 🙂
Will definitely see these in my kitchen. Thanks for hosting after your busy week.
What a fun idea! Love this.
What an awesome idea! My girls will love it. I think I am going to incorporate this in my Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks so much!!
This is such a sweet idea! I bet everyone has a lot of fun with this as well!
What a sweet tradition! Love it!
what a great idea!
I love it! My boys will love it, too. I’m making these rolls this weekend!
Is there any particular paper or writing instrument that needs to be used? It doesn’t look like it in the photo, but I just want to be sure:) I am definitely doing this with all my kids, and 8 little grandchildren coming this year! Thanks for the wonderfully fun and meaningful idea!
What did you use to write with that is not harmful? I love this idea and would love to do it for Thanksgiving. Blessings to you.
What a wonderful way to share thankfulness! I hope you will link this post to my Thanksgiving Traditions link up in the traditions section!
I love this idea, and never would have thought of it. Thanks so much for sharing it; I linked to it over on my page.
I live this idea! One problem: I tested it last night and the pieces of paper were stuck in the rools. The bread had to be picked off the rolls before reading them. Any suggestions?
Hmmm – ok, it only happens just a tad when I did it. Did you use the crescent rolls? Maybe if there’s a recipe with not enough grease, it might happen.
Ok, I also thought of two reasons why this may have happened…did you roll them too tightly? Also, if neither of those things were done, then I would just say put a tiny bit of spray oil on the spot on the roll where you lay the paper. 🙂
This is such a cute and easy way to show what you’re thankful for….I’ve been trying to think up different ways for something fun like this and this is the answer! thanks!!!
I just found this on pinterest. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! I just thought I’d share a tip to solve health concerns and paper sticking concerns… Wrapping your notes in foil might alter the temperature of the dough, thus cook differently. I’d try writing your notes then wrapping them with parchment paper. You know, crease the parchment to fold around your note on all four sides then roll your little parcel into your dough and cook as you normally would. Parchment is used in baking all the time as a perfect non-stick surface and would protect your dough from your paper and any ink or pencil markings. Just don’t use wax paper. That would be gross. 🙂
@Rebekah R Jones,
I’m glad you mentioned the parchment paper because I was gonna mention that myself, but my idea was to just write the message directly onto the parchment paper and just fold it over. The other thing I thought of is if using cresent rolls, you don’t have to push the center tightly, you can just grasp the bottom two edges and gently fold and roll it over so the center is very loose but the edges are pressed and you only have to press the final 3rd tip. This would keep the dough from pressing too hard against the paper and the paper being wedged tightly when the dough expands, wouldn’t it?
Great idea! I was wondering if you might be able to print right on the parchment paper with pc. Have you ever tried this? Thanks for sharing! Happy Thanksgiving!
I haven’t tried it, but I am sure that would work. I have always had them write personally on the paper, so never used the Pc but it would be neat.
I love these! Great not only for thanksgiving but would be fun for wedding showers. Anytime you want to send along a message. thanks. Will have to try it out!
I love the Gratitude Roll idea! I teach the 8 yr. old Sunday school class. I am going to have them write out what the are grateful for one week. Then bake up some rolls for the following week to take home to be shared with their families. I think they will have fun sharing with their parents what they are grateful for, and the parents will love hearing it.
Do you prefer pencil or pen, when writing these notes? Thanks!
what is used to write the message. Should I be concerned about ink or pencil getting into the dough?
If you are concerned with that, just use parchment paper and write on that. It won’t leak through at all. I used normal paper and had no problem, but parchment paper would be more exact.
Does it matter what you use to write with?
Hi Jen! This is such a unique and fun idea!! I shared it in a round-up on my blog today: http://www.chickabug.com/blog/2012/11/thanksgiving-be-thankful.html
Thank you for the inspiration!
Oh this is awesome. Our family has grown and now that we are starting on even another generation we decided last year that even the grandchildren draw names as the youngest grandchildren are 21 year old twins. So some did not like the idea but with my generation we were buying for everyone So I have been trying to think something to do this year to make it fun. This will be awesome. I may ask each person to email me one sentence that they are thankful for about _______________ and make sure that we have names for everyone…..May let them open these and this be part of our blessing…
@Susan, the idea I used was to have everyone in the family email me their favorite scripture or primary song and at dinner time when the rolls are open, everyone needs to guess who wrote it.
Think this will work if I dropped the notes in spots on the cornbread batter after I pour it into the pan? Think they will move around?
Hmm, I might not recommend that. They might move around and the batter may be too sticky. The reason it works well in the rolls is because of their higher butter content.
These rolls are one of my husband’s favorite to have at every holiday. You’ve just given me a way to make them even MORE special to everyone in our family. I can’t wait to have my daughters write messages to tuck inside these clever rolls.
Thanks for this post. What a great way to start a conversation at the table 🙂 Will be using this at my next dinner party… Maybe some sort of a game?
Great idea. Did you use parchment for the paper & food ink?
Actually, for this picture, I didn’t. I used regular paper and ink pen since I rolled it up and the ink didn’t touch the food, but I would recommend parchment for ease of sliding right out.
Great idea for christmas and put the christmas story in it to be read after dinner!! Everyone takes turns assigned by no. Or verses! 🙂
Love that idea as well. 🙂
I love this idea…a new tradition to start in our family. The grandkids would love this!!! Thank you!
So glad. It’s a fun one. 🙂
My family has done this for over 30 years, and it’s my favorite part of the day. We bake a special batch of rolls just for this, and save it until after dinner. While the dishes are being washed and the food is settling, I’ll “reset” the table with candles and flowers, with the bread in the middle of the table. We’re a Christian pastor’s family, so after we’ve gathered round the table to read one another’s gratitudes, we use the bread to take communion and pray together. This half hour or so is what the whole day is about for me. I only recently discovered Grandma has been saving all our notes all this time… we need to preserve them somehow!
Heather – I got shivers reading this. THAT IS SO AMAZING!!! she’s been keeping you notes and you didn’t know? What a priceless heirloom. WOW!! And using the bread to take communion and pray together – what a gift. If you get around to preserving them, can you please share some pictures? or even snap a pic of them at thanksgiving. I’d love to include your story in a post.