3 Family Projects For Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is coming. It’s a time for family, laughter, prize recipes, comfort food, and noisy gatherings.
However, Thanksgiving is much more than squeezing 30 people around Aunt Anne’s dining room table to feast on sweet potatoes, turkey, stuffing, cornbread, and pies. November is the perfect time to exercise those gratitude muscles.
Here are three projects to do as a family to celebrate this season of gratitude
Tree of Thanksgiving
We haven’t done this in a few years, but it is making a come back for Thanksgiving this year. I started it as a lesson in gratitude, and got taught a few lessons by my children along the way. Hanging up a leaf each night doesn’t seem complicated, but it does take quite a bit of introspection to continue through the entire month. Once the obvious and easy choices have been taken, it is amazing what comes out and the ways you begin to count even your challenges as joy.
I remember one night in particular, when my daughter was thankful for our beautiful backyard. It came at a time that I was really struggling with finding peace about living in a home we wanted so badly to leave. I had been dreaming of bigger and better, discontent with the status quo.
Her enthusiastic expression of thanks for something that I had been beginning to loathe, really brought me down to what Thanksgiving is all about. We all do have so very much to be thankful for, much more than most of us even realize.
So, start counting your blessings and create a charming decoration for your dinner table in the process. Here are the directions for this project:
- Gather a handful of fallen twigs from your backyard or nearby park. You want them to be at least 15-18” long and have several smaller “branches” for hanging the “leaves”
- Arrange twigs in a vase or tall jar and place in the middle of your dining table.
- Out of multi-colored construction paper, cut stacks of paper leaves that are big enough to write a few words on them.
- Punch holes in one end of each leaf and thread a ribbon or string through it. Tie to make a loop hanger for the leaf.
- Place leaves into basket or bowl next to “tree.”
- Each night at dinner, have every person fill out a new leaf with something they are thankful to have or do. Hang the leaves on the branches and watch your tree fill up. Younger children can draw pictures or dictate to Mom or Dad their choices.
- Take some time each night to discuss everyone’s choices and say a prayer of thanksgiving for all you have.
Host a Neighborhood Food Drive
My friend, Marla, came up with the best project for a group or family to do that is simple, but powerful. One Thanksgiving, our couple study group conducted a food drive in each of our neighborhoods for the local food pantry. It was one of the best activities we have ever done.
The concept is easy. Have the children type up a brief letter introducing themselves and who will benefit from the drive. Also include a list of items needed and a date when you will be picking them up. Make copies of the letter and staple each letter to one of those plastic grocery bags that seem to multiply no matter what you do.
Fold the bag up behind the letter and leave one at each house. On the day you chose for pick up, take a walk--or drive depending on how large of an area you decide to cover--and pick up your donations.
As a family, bring all of your donations to the food bank and experience the joy of giving.
Here are some other ideas of what to collect:
- Diapers and wipes for crisis pregnancy center
- Cards or small decorations for nursing home patients
- Gloves and hats for homeless shelter
- Small toys for a children’s hospital
- Supplies for animal shelter
Volunteers are what make communities safe and vibrant. Why not host a pie baking party for volunteers in your community or church.
Have each participant bring a pie crust and two ingredients needed to make all the filling. In large batches, mix up the filling and then fill and bake pies. Once all the pies are baked, let them cool before packaging them up.
Now, each person will have to find a worthy volunteer to treat to homemade pie! Be sure to include a little note or card expressing your gratitude for a job well done. Who could you thank with a special pie?
How is your family going to live an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving?
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