Family's gratitude tablecloth has 22 years of signatures

Years ago, Caroline Harrington, a mom in Minnesota, was watching TODAY when Katie Couric shared a special Thanksgiving tradition.

“Katie had this idea to get a light-colored tablecloth and have everyone go around and write what they’re thankful for,” Harrington told TODAY.com. “My family has been doing it ever since.”

The Harringtons' gratitude tablecloth is now 19 feet long, and after more than two decades, the linen is dotted with gravy and cranberry sauce from Thanksgivings past. But the retired massage therapist and her husband Denis Harrington, don’t mind one bit.

Caroline Harrington holds her Thanksgiving gratitude tablecloth.  (Courtesy Caroline Harrington)
Caroline Harrington holds her Thanksgiving gratitude tablecloth. (Courtesy Caroline Harrington)

“It’s just part of the memories,” Harrington explained. “I used to wash it, but then the messages were starting to fade. So I thought, ‘Heck, I’ll just shake it off and we’ll have some stains.’”

Harrington, whose four sons are now grown, considers the tablecloth a piece of their family history. It includes signatures from relatives who are no longer alive, including Harrington's father.

“Everybody loves it because it’s just so simple and anyone can do it. All you need is a Sharpie,” Harrington said. For kids who can’t write, Harrington suggests tracing their hands.

Caroline Harrington loves reading old messages on her tablecloth. (Courtesy Caroline Harrington)
Caroline Harrington loves reading old messages on her tablecloth. (Courtesy Caroline Harrington)

“Anyone can be included,” she said. “You’ll go back and laugh at some of the things like we have.”

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This article was originally published on TODAY.com