Because Thanksgiving is sandwiched between the ever popular Halloween and Christmas holidays it can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle. This year I am looking for ways to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, both for myself and my family. So here are 8 ideas to help us all have an attitude of gratitude.
Thanksgiving Gratitude Banner – This quick and easy banner was a great opportunity for the kids to help me make a cute decoration for our entry way and to talk about the things they are thankful for. It only took 15 minutes, but for those 15 minutes we were focused on naming the things we were most thankful for.
To make this banner, you will need: fall colored cardstock or construction paper, string or twine, clothes pins (these are small ones from Michaels) and a black marker. I thought about free-handing the leaves, but then thought better! I just printed this template from Sweet T Makes Three on my cardstock and the kids helped cut out the leaves as we chatted about what we are grateful for.
Do you have a tradition to go around the table at Thanksgiving and tell what you are thankful for? I love these these Thanksgiving Conversation Starters from The Yellow Bliss Road because they promote discussions about gratitude instead of one word answers.
I love this Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt. If you love photography or are a very visual person, this would be such a fun way to document a variety of things that you are thankful for. It could be done throughout the month of November or it could keep older kids and teens busy on Thanksgiving Day while the turkey cooks!
This Chalkboard Gratitude Reminder is a simple way that my family has tried to be more grateful. We have this long chalkboard in our hallway and I love it. Sometimes, I use it to put inspirational quotes and sometimes we use it to countdown to a vacation or a holiday.
In November we leave it blank and just let everyone write what they were thankful for whenever they walk by (you could use a poster board instead). The thing I love most is that it keeps us thinking throughout the whole month.
Volunteering and service is one of the best ways to start thinking more about others and less about ourselves. It also provides opportunities to see others that are less fortunate and to be grateful for what we have. Just Serve is a great resource for finding service opportunities throughout Utah. You can even set your search criteria to find opportunities for families or children.
My 13 year old son is currently working on a report about how reading literary fiction actually helps us to be more empathetic. Literary fiction books force us to put ourselves in another person's shoes and try to understand the characters feelings. For younger kids there are some great books that focus on gratitude. Here are a few, well reviewed, options.
- Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes
- I'm Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallinan
- The Blessings Jar by Colleen Coble
- Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
- The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
Such a cute tradition, The Turkey Ticket from Let's Get Together. Natalie explains that her Mother rolled up cash register paper into small rolls and attached a tag that said “Turkey Ticket”. She passed them out a few weeks before Thanksgiving and told them that they could come to Thanksgiving Dinner when they had filled their paper up with things they were grateful for. More details here.
Writing Thank You cards is a great idea for adults and kids alike. It's becoming a rarity to receive thank you cards and most children don't know how to write a sincere Thank You note. Take a few moments to write a few words of appreciation to teachers, grandparents, coaches and friends that have gone the extra mile for you this year. Check out these Turkey Thank You cards at Parents.com.
I know it's a busy time of year but choose just one of these ways to keep the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving and you'll be surprised at how much more gratitude and peace you will have in your heart as we go into one of the busiest times of the year!