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Newsletter: November 2018

Our Gratitude List for November

Each year around this time, we share ideas and resources to help families make the most of the coming season of gratitude. American Thanksgiving is coming soon, followed closely by winter holidays and New Year’s resolutions, so focusing on thankfulness is a priority for many people during November.

This year, some members of The Family Dinner Project team are sharing what we’re personally thankful for, and how we anticipate cultivating our own feelings of gratitude with our friends and families during the upcoming holidays. We hope our reflections will inspire you and your families as you plan your own celebrations.

Bri DeRosa, Content Manager:

“Over the past year, my family has unfortunately lost some very important, special people, which makes looking ahead to the holidays difficult. But our losses have also inspired us to shake up our traditional celebrations and find new ways to appreciate spending time together. I’m looking forward to making the time to pass down some family recipes to my 9- and 12-year-old sons, and to hopefully spending part of the Thanksgiving weekend taking them to retrace our family history at Ellis Island so we can talk about where those recipes came from and why they’re so important to us.”

Lynn Barendsen, Executive Director:

“After probably way too much thought, our family decided to take the plunge and adopt a rescue puppy. As I’ve said to the friends who asked if we were nuts, we are dog people who have been dog-less for 16 years: feeling we were too busy, not home enough, it just wasn’t the right time, etc. For multiple reasons, we just decided to go for it. SO the right decision. I’m grateful for the late night and early morning walks, the hysterical laughter, the cuddling and chaos that comes with puppyhood. We’re all better for what Pepper’s brought into our home and can’t wait to spend the holiday season with our new family member!”

Cindil Redick-Ponte, Assistant Executive Director:

“For over 30 years, my grandparents have hosted the holidays in their home, which has included my family, along with my mom’s 10 siblings and their families. Unfortunately, my grandparents decided that last year would be the final year of family holidays at their house. As sad as this has been for me, my family has taken my grandmother’s advice on starting a new chapter, and we are going to begin developing our own holiday traditions. I live in a multi-generational household and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to begin adopting and adapting some of the family traditions (like Christmas Bingo) that I have cherished over the years.”

Family of the Month

As we reflect on gratitude this month, it’s impossible for us to pick just one family to highlight. We’re thankful for all of the families we’ve met over the years, for a variety of different reasons. Look back on some of our first TFDP members in Family Spotlights and Stories of Transformation, and catch up on the stories of some of the people we’ve connected with more recently through our Real Family Dinner Projects.


Be thankful for young helpers! Get kids into the kitchen this holiday season with bake-together recipes from our friends at the Home Baking Association.

Home Baking Holiday Recipes


Enjoy not just a spirit of thanks, but of giving, with our #GivingTuesday games and activities.

Giving Tuesday


Try these conversation starters about thankfulness and giving with your family.