I can’t believe it’s already the beginning of November! My mind is spinning toward Thanksgiving and thoughts of how to make this holiday season particularly special. This year has been so crazy, that I really want to slow down and take it all in.
Here are some things I have chosen to create a memorable Thanksgiving season for our family this year.
Countdown to Thanksgiving
To get the kids excited about Thanksgiving and to help them focus on others instead of themselves, I have decided to do a countdown to Thanksgiving. I had the kids give me a list of things they are thankful for. I took the list and compiled activities to go along with each “thankful”. Then, I made paper baskets and put some string on them so they can be hung. I made little pumpkins to go inside of each basket. On the pumpkins, I wrote the “thankful” and the activity to go along with it. I put them in order and strung them up in a large doorway. We will begin on November 7 and have a 15 day countdown to Thanksgiving.
Here is what are “thankfuls” and activities look like.
We are thankful for….
Nov. 7 Freedom to worship God
–Pray together as a family and take turns thanking God for His blessings.
Nov. 8 Jesus‘ Birth
–Come up with a new Christmas tradition. Make a decoration.
Nov. 9 Our family
–Family Game Night
Nov. 10 The things God has given us
–Donate to those who aren’t as blessed. (OCC)
Nov. 11 Our church leaders and teachers
–Make a special treat or gift for Sunday school teachers.
Nov. 12 Our mom and dad
Nov. 13 Our friends
–Make a special treat for friends. Acorns and pilgrim hats
Nov.14 Our clothes
–Donate extra clothing to those in need.
Nov. 15 Our food
–Donate to the church food pantry.
Nov.16 Our school and teachers
–Make a special card or treat for our teachers.
Nov. 17 Our home
–Decorate for the season.
Nov. 18 God’s creation
–Take a walk or drive and admire God’s creation.
Nov. 19 Our grandparents
–Call or send a special note.
Nov. 20 Our extended family
–Call or send a special note.
Nov. 21 Family memories
–Make a Thankful Journal. Family Game Night.
Nov. 22 THANKSGIVING
–Read “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving”
Our Thankful Journal will be a simple journal where each member of the family will record what they are thankful for this year. It will be kept and brought out each Thanksgiving to record what we are thankful for that year. It will become a family tradition and a great keepsake for years to come.
We will also be doing a Thankful Wall.
For the Thankful Wall, we will use post-it notes and every day, each of us will write one thing we are thankful for. We will stick the post-it to the wall. Viola! Thankful Wall.
Make Great-Full Jars for each member of the family
For the Great-Full Jars, we will get a jar or cute decorated box for each member of the family. Grab some cute paper and cut it into slips. Write down things we are grateful for about the recipient. We will write each memory, reason, gift, on individual slips of paper. Fill the jar with the great notes of memories and joys and love, noting why we are so grateful for that person. They can go to the jar anytime and pull out a note of encouragement.
For our Family Devotions, we will intentionally focus our prayer time on praise and thanksgiving.
Another thing we are going to do is throw in some “fun” days.
No Complaining Day: Dare to go all day with no complaining. Slip a rubber band on your wrist and every time you complain, move it to the other wrist. Dare everyone in the whole family to go the whole day without moving their wrist reminder. We will celebrate with a special treat when the whole family can go the whole day with no complaining!
Random Acts of Kindness Day: This is a character trait I have already tried to instill in the kids, but how fun to have a day when we intentionally do random acts of kindness. At devotion time, we will share what we have done!
I am excited to really take time this year to intentionally Thank God for all his blessings to us. Sometimes in the busyness of life, and the trials and struggles that we face, we forget about all the amazing gifts we have. I encourage you to spend some time today to look beyond the pile of laundry, the fussing kids, the stack of bills, the long hours at work, or whatever those things are in your life that wear you down, and open your eyes to the many gifts that God has given you.