Monday, November 4, 2013

Giving Thanks

Commercially speaking, Thanksgiving kind of gets the shaft.  Not even kind of, it just straight up gets passed right over.  You don't wear costumes for Thanksgiving, and you don't give presents.  Christmas decorations have been for sale in stores for months now, and it seems like in the past few years, that once Halloween is over, we totally skip the month of November and dive head-first into Christmas.
So funny, but SOO true, right?!
But I believe Thanksgiving is SO important.  Don't get me wrong, I love Halloween, and Christmas carols, celebrating Jesus, and the magic of Christmas are truly some of my favorite things, but Thanksgiving deserves it's time in the sun too.  It is truly a time to reflect, to be aware of and give thanks for the overwhelming blessings in our lives.  Some times are better than others, and we all deal with hardships, but generally speaking, we have so, so much to be thankful for.  And would surely be a disgrace for us all just disregard the holiday and the time of year, just to move on to the glamour of Christmas.  We need Thanksgiving to keep us humble and keep us grounded, and remind ourselves that we don't always need more, but we need to give thanks for what we already have.

SO, as I step down off my soapbox, I am going to make sure that we as a family celebrate November as a whole, and as an entire month of giving thanks.  I want to make sure that my children especially understand that life is not about getting more, more, more, but being thankful for the most important things in our lives.  We have done a few different things in the past few years, but I have found some really great ideas on Pinterest this year; ways that you and your family can share things that you are thankful for, and ideas for getting your children involved.  I thought I would share some of my favorites with you today!

And all of these ideas can be found on my Pinterest board, Happy Thanksgiving!, along with the photo credits and links.

I love this cute Grateful Chalkboard!  All you have to do is add something you're thankful onto the chalkboard everyday.  The kids can give ideas, or even write it themselves, if they're old enough.  Really cute idea.
I think this Thankful Tablecloth is also a great idea!  I think this one is actually more of an activity during Thanksgiving dinner, to write what you're thankful for on the tablecloth during dinner, but I would change things up a bit, to make it an activity to do all month long.  You could buy a white tablecloth on November 1st (or just buy a few yards of muslin, you don't really have to have a finished tablecloth!), and write one thing you're thankful for on the cloth each day.  Then on Thanksgiving, pull out the tablecloth and use it for dinner!  Either way you do it, it's a cute idea and makes for a wonderful tradition, and if the cloth is big enough, you can just add to it each year!
This is what the kids and I are doing this year.  They love a good art project, so we're making a garland with paper leaves, and writing one thing we're thankful for on each leaf every day.  We strung up a long piece of twine over the fireplace, and with these cute mini clothespins, we're pinning each leaf to the twine everyday.  It's kind of bare with three little leaves up now, but I can't wait to see how sweet it will look come Thanksgiving!  Especially with the kids sweet things that they're Thankful for.  So far we've got Bammy and PaDaddy, Uncle Ramsey and Aunt Beth and Sally Kate, and orange juice. :)  Here's the shots of our Thankful Leaf Garland thus far (sorry for the grainy photos, we have a light out over the mantel :/)...

Another cute garland idea.  And they do all the work for you!  I love these cute printable flags that already have, "we're grateful for..." printed right on them.  You just have to print them off, cut them out, fill in the blanks and string 'em up.  Easy peasy!  
Again, another cute garland.  You cut these printables out and make cute thankful chains.
I loooove the Thankful tree idea!  We did this two years ago, when Brantley was old enough to not pull things down, and Grayson was a little baby.  But with Ben pulling things down and throwing things left and right, this wouldn't work for us right now!  But you print off little tags, write on each tag and string them up on the tree.  We just stuck branches from our yard into a big vase, and it was perfect.
This Thankful Jar is another idea for interacting during Thanksgiving dinner!  You write the things you're thanksful for on pieces of paper every day during November and put them in the jar.  Then during Thanksgiving dinner, you read off each item!  Cute idea, and is great for Thanksgiving dinner conversation.
I love this felt Thankful tree too, and we did this last year with Brantley.  It was a huge hit with her, and she was so proud to stick her leaf on the tree each day!  Pretty much, you cut a tree out of brown felt, and tape it up on the wall.  Write what you're thankful for on a leaf each day, and stick the leaf up on the tree.  Ta-dah!  
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to focus on being grateful and thankful this November, and reflecting on all the blessings in our lives (even orange juice! :)), especially with our children.  I have to admit, though, as I was walking through the store today and saw these I couldn't help but start to get excited about Christmas...
...but I want to make sure we focus on Giving Thanks this November. :)
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