A new Thanksgiving tradition

November 15th, 2016

(Note: This month, David Staal turns his column over to his 23-year-old son, Scott.)

Several years ago, our family tried something new for Thanksgiving that has evolved into an authentic tradition. As November rolled around each year, we constantly heard the importance of developing a spirit of gratitude and wanted that to be true for us. Yet, there was a definite disconnect between our good intentions and our implementation.

Said another way: we didn’t do anything. The result was an unsettled feeling, so the four of us decided to take action in order to truly live out our thankful spirits. To walk the walk. Practice what we preach.

Said another way: to finally do something.

If you remember the old T-Mobile slogan from a decade ago, then the phrase "Who's in your 5?" may sound familiar. The cell phone company encouraged its customers to select five personal contacts to call for free. Our family creatively enhanced the concept.

It's simple; each November, each of us looks back over the past year and chooses five people who made a positive difference in his or her life. After developing our personal lists (the only rule: the five people must be non-relatives), each of us specifically expresses thanks to each of the five via note, text, email, or call. It's nothing elaborate, nothing over-the-top. Just a quick description of the “Who’s in your 5?” tradition, followed by a couple sentences of gratitude for the impact that person made in our lives that year.

On Thanksgiving, we share with one another “Who’s in my five” and why. The new result: our family celebrates twenty individuals (25 this year, now that I’m married) and a spirit of gratitude fills our hearts and highlights the holiday. We look forward to this tradition more than anything else.  

Who can you personally thank this holiday season? Whether you do it at Thanksgiving or Christmas matters little. It’s a tradition any family can adopt. Now it’s your turn: Who's in your 5? 

I thank my God every time I remember you. (Philippians 1:3)

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