Amy Latta never thought her family’s tradition about gratitude would resonate with a worldwide audience. Back in 2011, Latta searched for a hassle-free way to teach her then 3-year-old son Noah about Thanksgiving. Thus, the “Thankful Pumpkin” tradition was born.
“At meals, we were playing the ‘thankful game,’ where we would take turns going around the table and saying things we were grateful for… I thought it would be fun for him — and for all of us — to physically see just how many blessings that added up to,” Latta told TODAY.
When her family picked up several pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch in Hampstead, Maryland, Latta got to work. She began writing things they were grateful for on one pumpkin — from various family members to tacos and cake pops.
“It was a great visual reminder of how blessed we are, and [Noah] loved watching the pumpkin fill up as we added to it every day,” she said.
In 2017, Latta adopted 10-year-old Nathan from Chengdu, China. When the family of four returned to the US, they explained their ongoing tradition to Nathan.
“At the time, he spoke very little English, so he wrote the Chinese characters for mama, baba (daddy), didi (little brother), and jiating (family),” Latta told TODAY. “It was our first bilingual pumpkin and it was so beautiful.”
#ThankfulPumpkin — A New Trend
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How fun is it that our #thankfulpumpkin idea made it all the way to Oregon, where @eastbendsbux has turned it into a way for the whole community to be grateful together?! Some of my favorite things…lettering, gratitude, and coffee…coming together in one place! ❤️☕️🎃 . . . #starbucks #coffee #coffeelover #coffeelovers #coffeebreak #coffeetime #coffeehumor #coffeeart #coffeedrinker #thankful #grateful #pumpkin #fall #tradition #community #blogger #craftblogger #todayshow @todayshow #letteredart #lettering #givethanks #chalkart #amylatta #amylattacreations
When Latta created her blog, Amy Latta Creations, in 2012, she shared her craft idea with the world.
“I was excited to get the project out there, because it is so simple and requires no special skills or materials,” Latta told TODAY. “Literally anyone can do it, and I was excited to think about other families taking time to focus on gratitude.”
Last year, she updated her original post to comment on how the tradition had taken off. Families, Girl Scout troops, preschool classes, and even Starbucks stores sent her their own takes on her idea.
In light of the pandemic, Latta told Newsweek, “Gratitude has never been more important than it is this year.”
“This year, we may have to dig a little deeper to find what we are grateful for, but there are truly still many things that are going right, in spite of what’s going wrong,” Latta said to Newsweek. “Hopefully, this little pumpkin can help us all to shift our perspective a little and find joy in the midst of a very challenging year.”