Ways to Encourage Thankfulness Within Your Church Youth Group

Ahhh the holidays — a time of joy, family gatherings, and gratitude. 

But even in the majesty of the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activities and miss out on the true reason for the season. Your youth group teens likely struggle with this just as much as you do! They’ve got exams, coursework, and loads of extracurriculars to squeeze in before the holiday break. And if they’re seniors, they’ve also got college prep on their minds!

At Uth Stuph, we’ve seen it all in our 26 years of supporting youth group leaders. Sure, we might be a youth group t-shirt company, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also be there to help you! Here are some meaningful ways to refocus on thankfulness and gratitude this season with your youth group.

Reflect on Blessings

When you’re running around like crazy planning for holiday events, it’s tricky to feel “2 blessed 2 b stressed.” In your ministry, you can foster thankfulness by carving out time for students to intentionally be thankful. Giving students a second to pause and reflect can be meaningful to them and your group as a whole. You can also give them small gratitude journals and talk them through scripture journaling. 

Community Ministry and Service

There’s no better time to get involved with community organizations than the holidays. Getting your group involved in things like volunteering at food pantries or helping elderly church members with yard work can help kickstart the feeling of gratitude. 

By serving those in need, your kids can realize the joy that comes from helping others — even during their stressful schedules.

Share Personal Stories

Your students might just need to talk through thankfulness with each other! Encourage the youth to share personal stories of gratitude with their fellow group members. This can be done in small groups or during gatherings. By sharing their experiences, they inspire others to find gratitude in their own lives.

Create a Thankfulness Tree

Who said Christmas Trees could only be for Christmas? Set up a “Thankfulness Tree” where your group can hang leaves with their expressions of gratitude. The tree can serve as a visual reminder of the abundance of blessings in their lives and help create a culture of thankfulness within the group.

Thanksgiving Potluck

Y’all know we’re always looking for an opportunity to eat!

Host a Thanksgiving potluck where your group can bring dishes to share. Before enjoying the meal, take a moment to express gratitude for the food and the people around the table. Celebrate how far you’ve come together in the year, and be joyful at the future to come. This tradition can foster an atmosphere of thankfulness and togetherness.

Gratitude Challenge

Organize a gratitude challenge for the youth, encouraging them to find one thing they’re thankful for every day leading up to Thanksgiving. Share their daily reflections during your group meetings or on social media to inspire others.

Random Acts of Kindness

A little can go a long way. Whether it’s writing thank-you notes, offering a helping hand, or simply spreading genuine compliments to strangers, these small acts can make a big difference and help them appreciate the impact of gratitude. You can give your kids weekly challenges or dedicate some time during youth group and Sunday School to do some Random Acts of Kindness throughout the church. 

Winter Retreat

Plan a special holiday retreat where the youth can spend quality time together, away from the distractions of daily life. This can be a perfect opportunity for them to bond, reflect, and express gratitude for their church family. If y’all plan out a winter retreat, don’t forget your matching long-sleeves! We’ve got a slew of winter retreat t-shirt designs to make group shirts even easier during the holidays.

Nurturing thankfulness and gratitude is a great thing to do year-round for your group, but it can be especially powerful during the holidays. With Thanksgiving coming up soon, we’re praying that you and your youth group find the time to breathe and savor togetherness. 

And we want to take a second to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us this year. Whether you’re just on our mailing list, liking our fun memes on Instagram, or getting your next batch of group shirts for your kids, we’ve loved building up our Uth Stuph community with y’all. 

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving season!