In 2018 I visited the classroom of Sarah Blaisdell, a 5th-grade teacher at Elton Hills Elementary (now at Rochester's Overland Elementary). The students were kind enough to let me ask them about their Thanksgiving plans, and what they were thankful for.

Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, but it's been a tough few months with the election and all that angry talk, so I thought it'd be cool to sit back and remember the important stuff. These kids nail it!

(November 23, 2018) What are you thankful for? That's the question I asked most, but also mixed in is a story about two dead hermit crabs, some awesome background dancing, and some wonderful loving moments. It is fifth-graders, and they have something to say...

Two of the Best Thank You Notes Ever Written

Canva / Rabe
Canva / Rabe

1) English author and poet Sylvia Townsend Warner to a friend after receiving a Christmas gift.


Dearest Alyse,

Usually one begins a thank-letter by some graceless comparison, by saying, I have never been given such a very scarlet muffler, or, This is the largest horse I have ever been sent for Christmas. But your matchbox is a nonpareil, for never in my life have I been given a matchbox. Stamps, yes, drawing-pins, yes, balls of string, yes, yes, menacingly too often; but never a matchbox.

Now that it has happened I ask myself why it has never happened before. They are such charming things, neat as wrens, and what a deal of ingenuity and human artfulness has gone into their construction; for if they were like the ordinary box with a lid they would not be one half so convenient. This one though is especially neat, charming, and ingenious, and the tray slides in and out as though Chippendale had made it.

But what I like best of all about my matchbox is that it is an empty one. I have often thought how much I should enjoy being given an empty house in Norway, what pleasure it would be to walk into those bare wood-smelling chambers, walls, floor, ceiling, all wood, which is after all the natural shelter of man, or at any rate the most congenial. And when I opened your matchbox which is now my matchbox and saw that beautiful clean sweet-smelling empty rectangular expanse it was exactly as though my house in Norway had come true; with the added advantage of being just the right size to carry in my hand.


I shut my imagination up in it instantly, and it is still sitting there, listening to the wind in the firwood outside. Sitting there in a couple of days time I shall hear the Lutheran bell calling me to go and sing Lutheran hymns while the pastor’s wife gazes abstractedly at her husband in a bower of evergreen while she wonders if she remembered to put pepper in the goose-stuffing; but I shan’t go, I shall be far too happy sitting in my house that Alyse gave me for Christmas.

Oh, I must tell you I have finished my book—begun in 1941 and a hundred times imperilled but finished at last. So I can give an undivided mind to enjoying my matchbox.


P.S. There is still so much to say…carried away by my delight in form and texture I forgot to praise the picture on the back. I have never seen such an agreeable likeness of a hedgehog, and the volcano in the background is magnificent. (Letters of Note)

2) Author of Big Friendly Giant, James and the Giant Peach (and so many more), Roald Dahl, after receiving a bottle of oil, glitter, and colored water from a 7-year-old fan.

Dear Amy,

I must write a special letter and thank you for the dream in the bottle. You are the first person in the world who has sent me one of these and it intrigued me very much. I also liked the dream. Tonight I shall go down to the village and blow it through the bedroom window of some sleeping child and see if it works.

With love from,

Roald Dahl (Letters of Note)

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Of course, you can talk about anything you want during the Thanksgiving meal, however...some things are better left unsaid.

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Ah, Thanksgiving! When families come together all over Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois to give thanks and eat a whole bunch of food. It's usually all fun and smiles unless that ONE family member who has no filter decides to show up. You just never know what they will say and unfortunately, that's the problem! To help alleviate any unnecessary drama this year, just text your family member that causes issues with their mouth and pass along this list of "Things NOT to Say at the Thanksgiving Table".

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

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