“Wait…this is the holiday where we JUST eat that big bird?”
Wow….that statement by Miss Missy really had me thinking. The hubs and I have dedicated so much time into making traditions in our family for each holiday. The children look forward to our Lenten Tea during Holy Week, our annual “Running of the Alleluia banner” on Easter Sunday, our “Kids in Charge” Day over the summer, and our vast Advent/Christmas traditions.
How did we miss having traditions for this holiday? I don’t think we have. I just think we’ve tried different things each year and haven’t “secured” the traditions yet. I guess for us…it’s about sitting around the table with family and just being “thankful”. However, for my children, they need something more “concrete” to connect to this holiday so….here are some of the things we have done in the past/ or have decided to add to our festivities to really stress the importance of this season of “thanksgiving”.
1.) Make sure the word “thankful” or “thanks” is clearly present in your home. The children should come to expect to see the word “thanks” around this time of year. These little signs and reminders can be great sources of inspiration to little minds.
2.) Create places in your home that are reminders of the holiday. Our house, typically, has several areas that we adorn for the holidays. If I am slacking one year, one of the older children will often venture downstairs and grab the corresponding tote for that holiday, just to nudge me into decorating. I love that they love decorating as much as I do. The children helped me pick out these little adorable gourds one year when we were picking pumpkins at a patch. I thought these would look adorable as a centerpiece during the week of Thanksgiving. (You also can’t beat the dollar tree fake leaves.)
We also love to have holiday books in a basket by our fireplace. These are some of our favorites that we have been using every year.
3.) Get the kids involved in everything!!! I love beautiful decor. I really do…but I don’t think beautiful has to mean not “kid-friendly”. I choose to decorate our humble abode with decorations that our children can help with. If you cringe every time your child touches a decoration, you don’t need that in your house. (that’s my opinion).
One year, we made these adorable placemats for our children’s table. Now, we have only had a “children’s table”when we are hosting more people than can fit around our table. We laminated these and the kids loved them. You can find the link for these here.
We also made these adorable “cups” for our table one year. You can see the link here.
This past Thanksgiving, I also let my two older girls design our centerpiece using stuff that I had in our Thanksgiving bin. I find it adorable that they included little pumpkin name cards on each person’s plate.
4.) Start a “thanksgiving” tree. (thankful tree) The kids and I did this a few years ago and loved it. We kept it up through the first week of Advent and it’s a great reminder of all those people whom we are praying for. We add our leaves right to the tree, and then i leave extra “leaves” on the base for visitors to add theirs, or if the children want to add others.
5.) Write letters of “thanksgiving” to family and friends. We are spending some time today, the day before Thanksgiving, writing letters to godparents, cousins, grandparents, or anyone else the children want to write. You can read about a letter I wrote Sweet Pea last year…here.
6.) Make a special recipe that honors someone who is important to you. We are making my grandmother’s famous stuffing. It’s the hubs favorite thanksgiving dish and a huge “crowd pleaser”. We will take some time to talk about my thanksgiving dinners as a child and how my grandmother and mom would make this recipe.
7.) Spend some time together doing “Christ-like” acts for those in your community. Print out some of our “Touched By His Light” cards and hand them to people while you helping them load their groceries in their van. Or maybe consider buying someone a coffee behind you in line. Send the mail man off with a card and some baked goods. Don’t forget to share some love with the parish priest…baked goods are always a hit!
8.) Spend some time before dinner praying and giving thanks for all your blessings. Encourage your visitors to do the same. We usually go around and say reasons that we are thankful for each person. We allow this opportunity to really reflect on where we were last year at Thanksgiving. For me, it’s about this man. I’m a daddy girl…which is why I’m sure I’ve raised a few. haha. Last thanksgiving, he could barely walk. He was recovering from multiple organ failure and almost died. It was such a tough time for our family. Today we are so thankful for the blessing of another year with him.
9.) Spend time with family. Last night, the two little girls and I picked up my parents to spend thanksgiving with. Today we will be prepping food, baking, and playing endless games with grandmom and grandpop. The hubs will take the big kids tomorrow to weather the cold for the annual family Turkey Bowl game. A few years ago, the hubs lost his wedding band when he placed it in his shoe during the game. I’m praying this year that he returns with all the kids…hahaha. I will be nice and cozy sipping on a mimosa and watching the Macy’s Thankgiving parade….silently praying that my husband does not injure himself. (please, Lord)
I snapped these shots this afternoon as the children shared old photo albums with grandpop.
10.) Photocopy fun Thanksgiving activities for the children to work on while you prepare dinner.
Most of all, this holiday is about us being thankful for all the blessings of family and friends. I know that I am tremendously blessed with our little family. I thank the Lord, daily, for the blessing of a hard-working, and dedicated husband who is also my best friend.
I pray that we all can remember the precious things in our lives and be thankful for them.
God bless, Tammi