Practicing mindfulness in your day to day life is one of the easiest ways to gain perspective and awareness. Whether you’re hoping to become more comfortable with where you are or simply take a few minutes for reflection, a DIY gratitude jar is a great idea, no matter where you’re at in life.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What’s the Purpose of a Gratitude Jar?
- Why Is Gratitude so Powerful?
- Steps for Making a Gratitude Jar for Kids or Your Family
- Gratitude Jar Decoration Ideas
Simply put, we all have things to be thankful for. For adults, this is a powerful way to stay mindful and aware of life’s blessings. For kids and younger teens, a gratitude jar is an opportunity to learn more about being thankful and giving back.
If you’re looking for a fun craft and new ways to show gratitude, this guide is for you. Here is how to make a DIY gratitude jar and some of the best decoration ideas to spark your inspiration. Let’s face it—we could all use some time to reflect and be thankful.
What’s the Purpose of a Gratitude Jar?
If you’ve never heard of it before, you might be confused about what a gratitude jar is and how it works. It functions very similarly to a gratitude journal. It’s a way to bring a positive change in your life by focusing on the things you have to be grateful for.
When you practice gratefulness and forgiveness, you attract positivity into your life. You don’t fixate on things you don’t have, rather, you notice all of the amazing things you do have. When you put positive energy into the world by reminding yourself of all your amazing blessings, you welcome more positive energy in the future.
If you get into the habit of using a gratitude jar to practice gratitude regularly, you’ll start to recognize a change within yourself. You’ll feel more content and happy. You’ll stop wishing for what others have and focus on what you already have.
Most of us have played the comparison game at some point in our lives. We’ve found ourselves comparing where we’re at and what we have with those around us. Maybe you envied a friend or a coworker, or you wondered if you should be farther along in your career by now. These feelings are natural, but we don’t have to let them control us. Instead, by practicing gratitude, you replace these thoughts with positive ones.
Why Is Gratitude so Powerful?
Don’t just take our word for it. Gratitude is a powerful thing, and it can even rewire your brain to function differently each day. In a study of over 300 college students struggling with mental health, researchers discovered that gratitude actually helps release us from toxic feelings.
In fact, after three months of the study, people who practiced gratitude regularly and felt more grateful were more attentive, likely to help others, and felt more positive overall. This is a huge change in a relatively small amount of time!
Research is still underway about this interesting mental health topic, but the results are clear. Practicing gratitude in any form is only going to help you long-term, though it might seem small at first. While there are endless ways to practice gratitude, a gratitude jar is a simple DIY option you can do with the entire family.
Steps for Making a Gratitude Jar for Kids or Your Family
If you’ve decided a DIY gratitude jar is right for you, it’s easy to get started. You might even have many of these materials around your home already. Creating your own DIY gratitude jar is half the fun!
What you’ll need
You don’t need anything fancy or expensive to create your own gratitude jar, though you can add extras if you’re really excited to create something special. Here’s what you need:
- A container (jar, box, etc.)
- Pens or something to write with
- Letter stickers, paint, or a way to write on the container
That’s all there is to it! If you’re feeling crafty, feel free to add extras to your container. You might want to use paint, glitter, twine, ribbon, stickers, or anything else that feels right to you. Once you’ve gathered your materials, here’s how to put everything together.
Step 1. Create your jar
First, you’ll need a container to keep your gratitude notes in. This doesn’t have to be a jar, though we like how you can easily see your notes through the glass. This is a great form of motivation as you can slowly but surely watch your notes add up each day.
Once you’ve chosen a jar or another container, clean it out so it's ready to go. This is a great opportunity to repurpose something you already have like a food jar or crafting jar.
From there, add your label. You might label it “gratitude jar,” or one of these ideas below:
- Give thanks
- Thank you
- Daily thanks
Step 2. Decorate your jar
Next, it’s time to decorate your jar as little or as much as you want. If you’re creating this for the whole family, get everyone involved. The more everyone, especially younger kids, helps with this process, the more excited they’ll be to use it.
You could choose to paint your jar a fun color, use stickers, add glitter, or just live it plain. There are no right or wrong options, and you can find a lot of DIY inspiration online.
Step 3. Create your daily notes
Once your jar is ready to go, it’s time to put together small daily notes. These are the physical pieces of paper that will go inside your jar. You’ll want them ready to go and easy to access so you don’t have to gather supplies each day. The easier you make this, the more likely your jar will be put to use.
Your notes can be as simple as cutting up pieces of paper. You might use a printable online or create a template for yourself. Your template could be something like “On [date] I’m thankful for…” or “Today I’m thankful for [something] because…” From there, store these ready-to-go notes in a small envelope or container next to the jar with your favorite pen or pencil.
Step 4. Use your jar
Last but not least, it’s time to start using your DIY gratitude jar. To get the ball rolling, write your first gratitude jar note right away. You can use these questions to ask your family for inspiration or just use a template.
When in doubt, just write what you’re thankful for. This isn’t something you ever need to read again, and it doesn’t matter if it’s grammatically correct or written in any special way. Try to write as much detail as possible to get the full value of the exercise.
Lastly, create a schedule for writing notes for your gratitude jar. This might be something you do daily, weekly, or less often, depending on what feels right to you. To make it an easy habit, assign it to something else you already do. For example, you might do it right before bed every night to end your day on a positive note.
Gratitude Jar Decoration Ideas
While you should feel free to decorate your gratitude jar in the way that appeals most to you, looking at some inspiration can be a big help. Here are some of our favorite ideas.
A gratitude jar is great all year long, but it’s especially powerful during the Thanksgiving season.
Creating a fall-themed gratitude jar each year leading up to Thanksgiving gets the whole family in the right mindset for this holiday.
While you don’t need any fancy paper to use within your gratitude journal, using funky, mismatched stationery creates a fun effect.
Cut up a bunch of different types of papers to leave next to your jar. From there, grab one that appeals to you each day to slowly add to the mixture of colors within.
Print your text
If you’re not confident in your penmanship when it comes to crafting, one way around this is to print your text from your computer.
Use a font you love, print it to the right size, and cut it into the right shape. From there, tape or glue your professional text to your jar so everything looks clean and nice.
For some extra inspiration, include your favorite quote about gratitude on the outside. This could be printed, handwritten, or even printed on the top. Add something meaningful to you so you always remember your goals.
How Do You Find Gratitude?
Our lives are busy, and it’s not always possible to take the time to practice gratitude unless we schedule it. A DIY gratitude jar is an intentional way to practice mindfulness every day. By taking a few moments to reflect on what we’re really thankful for, we train our brains to value the little things in life.
Whether you’re thankful for your friends, your family, or your favorite sweater, these small things add up to big change. Gratitude won’t change you overnight, but it does have a huge impact over time. How do you practice gratitude in your daily life, and have you ever used a gratitude jar?
- Wong, Joel and Joshua Brown. “How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain.” University of California Berkeley: Greater Good Magazine. 6 June 2017. GreaterGood.Berkley.edu.