Sunday, November 10, 2013

Being Thankful

I took my teenagers out for a quick bite to eat the other night. As I pulled into our destination (a shopping center with numerous restaurants) I let out an audible groan. We were greeted by Christmas lights, Christmas wreaths, Christmas decorations and Christmas sale banners at every glance.

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. I really do. It's just that I feel like we jump straight from Halloween to Christmas and directly into "need MORE, want MORE, buy MORE" without ever even having a chance to stop and be thankful for what we already have. Thanksgiving has little to offer retailers so it gets quickly trumped--as if it didn't even exist. 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Over the years we've built some traditions around this holiday that hopefully cultivate some gratitude in our children. 

Years ago we started the tradition of a "thankful chain". Beginning on November 1, I'd keep strips of colored card stock in a bowl on our kitchen table and each night at dinner we'd write something we were thankful for on a strip, then staple them together making a simple chain. 

Our chain would typically hang in our kitchen the entire month (or longer, depending on how long I could stand it!) One Thanksgiving, I improvised and used our chain as a last minute centerpiece by arranging it around a candle in a deep glass bowl. All of our chains are hanging on a coat rack downstairs in our basement. I can't bear to throw them out.

A few years ago, I took the same idea of the thankful chain and switched it up to make a Thankful Turkey! 
Using a grapevine pumpkin I had, I cut a turkey face/body and turkey feathers (using my Silhouette) and used double-sided tape and toothpicks to insert them into the pumpkin after we'd written what we were thankful for on each side. I like the "turkey" because it doubles as a bright and cheerful centerpiece to our table for the month of November. I've saved all of our "feathers" from years past just like the chains; it's fun to see my kids' handwriting and what they've been thankful for from year to year. 

My children are older but they still look forward to these traditions. In fact, I haven't yet made the feathers for our "thankful turkey" this year and all three of my children have asked me why! Don't worry--it's on my agenda for the week!


Amanda M. said...

I made a "Thankful Tree" this year! Same concept, add a leaf to the tree every night after dinner. My kids are 5 and 7, and I think this is the first year that they really "get" it. My daughter writes her own, but I still have to write out my son's. I don't censor or suggest "better" ideas - i write exactly what he says. The other night, his leaf said, "Burritos and grape soda!" Haha!! Love these simple, yet effective ideas.

Miss G said...

love this! Thanks for these ideas and I am entirely with you about Christmas starting too early! Kelly

Gretchen said...

Love this idea! Sometimes I forget that my big kids like traditions just as much as they did when they were younger.