Thanksgiving Memories: The Tablecloth Thanksgiving Tradition

A few years ago, I read this article on TODAY about a family with a special Thanksgiving tradition, and I knew I wanted start it with my own. I feel like our family naturally has a lot of Christmas, Easter, and birthday traditions. But I never found a Thanksgiving that “stuck,” despite the fact that the meaning of Thanksgiving is equally important! In fact, I feel like I’m constantly reminding my children (and myself for that matter), to be THANKFUL and content. 

Basically, this tradition has everyone sitting around the Thanksgiving table SIGN their name with a fabric marker on a tablecloth. The lady in the article actually goes back and embroiders the names, but I’m not that much of a Martha Stewart.

The idea is that years later, you’ll have signatures of your children, perhaps your children’s children, friends that have blessed your table, and even family members that have gone before you. What a beautiful reminder it would be to see their name on the table as if they were sitting there next to you.

So this past year, I finally made it happen and marched into Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon. I got this set of Tulip brand Permanant Fabric Markers and a beautiful ivory linen table cloth that was 50% off! (Gotta love Hobby Lobby.) So at about $17, this is probably one of the most affordable traditions I’ve ever done! 

We ate our meal and after I cleared off the plates, we got to signing! Since my son was only 3 at the time and of course, couldn’t sign his name, we traced his handprint. Now won’t that be so darling to look at years down the road? (TEAR.) 

I also put my own spin on it and we wrote down what we were thankful for. My son said he was thankful for “All of you”…meaning us…like his family. (TEAR, TEAR, TEAR.) 

My husband said “Family Traditions,” which won him a few points. And if there was any question as to where his allegiance lies, he wrote “Go Dawgs”, since our Mississippi State Bulldogs were about to play their rivalry game that very day. 

And since I initiated our new family tradition, I of course had plenty of time to think of what I was thankful for. But I had just tipped past the first trimester exhaustion stage of my pregnancy and y’all, I WENT BLANK. At the same moment, Greyson lost his mind because he wanted another roll. (After hours of cooking homemade sac & cheese and smoked turkey, all the boy wanted was another Sister Schubert’s.) 

So in the rushed moment, here’s what mine ended up looking like: 

I totally left out the word “patience” and messed up my very first signature on the Tablecloth Tradition. And apparently my pregnancy brain made me forget that I was pregnant because I went back and wrote that I was thankful for the baby in my belly a few hours later. We laughed so hard about this the rest of the day.  So needless to say, mission accomplished. We had already made some memories around the new Tablecloth Tradition. 

I love this tradition for so many reasons. It’s affordable, you can start it whenever, and everyone can participate! It doesn’t matter how big or small your family is! Honestly, I wish I would’ve started it before we had children, because how neat would it have been for it to start out as the two of us? Now we’ve doubled our family size! You can also take this tradition wherever you go! If you travel for Thanksgiving, stuff that tablecloth in your suitcase! If you move a lot, or find yourself sharing the holiday with different friends each year, this is the perfect tradition to remember everyone around the table! Finally, it captures where you are in life.

Let’s be honest, some years are harder than others. Some years we feel an ABUNDANCE of blessing, and others we are just thankful that we physically survived the year. This would be a perfect time to mark a Bible verse, quote, or phrase that memorializes your season. 

I can’t wait to get it back out this year and add my sweet baby girl’s handprint. I can’t wait to hear what my son is thankful for. I’m pretty sure my husband has disowned his MSU Bulldogs after this week’s loss, so I’m also pretty interested to see what his signature will include. I’m just hoping that I can put a string of words together a little better this year!

But I’m always, forever thankful that God has blessed me with motherhood and entrusted this little family to me. 



Katie resides in Plano and is a Stay-at-Home mommy who rarely “stays at home”! Between gymnastics, Bible study, and making the most of Mother’s Day Out, she is always looking for the next fun playdate in the area! Katie and her husband are both Mississippi natives and alumni of Mississippi State University. (Insert cowbell ringing.) They started out with a four-legged child, Manny, and five years later decided they were ready for the “real thing”. They quickly realized you’re NEVER READY. Greyson was born in October 2014 and has proved to be “a little Texas Tornado.” Her favorites include ANYTHING chocolate, SEC football, Netflix binge-watching, small town festivals, shopping the clearance aisle at Marshall’s, and throwing theme parties. You can read about her adventures, victories, failures, and everything in between on her blog, Two For One Wells.