5 Fun New Activities to Bring a Little “Giving Thanks” to Your Thanksgiving
Danke! Domo arigato! Gracias! Merci! Mahalo! No matter your language, 'tis the season for giving thanks! Ever since the last Thursday of November was declared a national holiday in 1863 by President Lincoln, we have been celebrating Thanksgiving. Often when we think of Thanksgiving, we think of family dinners of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and the other delicious dishes that traditionally make up our Thanksgiving meal. What's great about this particular holiday is that it does cause most to stop, even if just at the dinner table, and think about all there is to be thankful for.
So what about you? What are you thankful for? Who has had an impact on your life? Who could use some words of gratitude from you? Whether you are thinking of your spouse, kids, family, friends, or your Creator, this is the perfect season to practice some gratitude. Here are a few fun ideas to hopefully bring some fresh, new traditions to your Thanksgiving.
Five Ways to Express Gratitude at Thanksgiving
1) “Thankful for You!” Notes
This is the perfect time of year to pull out some stationary to express your gratitude to someone you care about. A simple note of thanks can go a long way to touch someone's heart and make their Thanksgiving extra special. Sending a special note to friends or family member you will not be seeing this Thanksgiving holiday will be sure to help them feel appreciated, loved, and not forgotten.
Preparation: You can keep this as simple as you'd like and just buy cards or thank you notes. However, if you are feeling a bit more ambitious, you can make some yourself using these cute Thankful Leaf print outs.
2) Thankful Boxes
Traditionally, most families spend some time discussing what they are thankful for around the Thanksgiving table. This year you can add a little twist to this by personalizing your thanks-giving by setting little “Thankful Boxes” at each person's plate. The idea is to have each person write a little something that they are grateful for about each other. The notes are then placed in the appropriate boxes. Then, maybe over some tasty pie, you can take turns reading from your box. This is a beautiful way to thank those nearest and dearest to you.
Preparation: You can be as crafty or anti-crafty as you'd like with this fun activity. You can decorate each box beforehand, have people decorate their own boxes as a fun little pre-dinner activity, or just use plain craft store boxes (or dollar store boxes, jars, or bins). You can use or print Thankful Leaves on card stock or just use index cards.
3) Thanksgiving Family Journal
For years now we have had a family prayer journal. There are some years that we forget to pull it out, but regardless of my forgetfulness, it has become such an incredible treasury of answered prayer. There is something so wonderful about asking your kids to express what they are thankful for and what they need prayer for–then writing it all down. We have loved to see God's hand at work in the lives of our family. The kids love to see how God has answered their prayers…and changed their hearts about what they thought they wanted. God does amazing things all the time, so why not have a spot to write it all down so that the generations that come after us can see what our good Lord has done.
Preparation: Buy a journal and start recording…or go crazy and create your own cute journal.
4) Family Monument
Altars & monuments at Thanksgiving? Before you go thinking that I’m asking you to build an idol, hear me out! 🙂 All throughout the Old Testament we hear stories of God’s people building altars to God at a location that He did something so unbelievable that they wanted to remember the spot. Today we usually build monuments to honor and remember people or events. So, why not honor God with our own monument? God continues to do amazing things for us. Take time this Thanksgiving, maybe while you are making your family journal to think of a significant place or instance when God really “showed up.” We built our first family monument at a family camp to thank God for bringing us our sweet little Joy Boy. He was an answer to years of prayer. Building a monument is really all about making memories together remembering all God has done for us.
Preparation: Your monument doesn't have to be extravagant or at the particular location of a special answer to prayer. Sometimes it's fun to venture out to a favorite family location, like a park, and find an off-road place to build your monument. You can even make it in your own backyard. Just have fun with it. Use rocks, sticks, or things that represent what you are grateful for like a toy car (to remind you of how He spared you in an accident), a baby pacifier (for the safe arrival of a baby that year) — use your imagination. REMEMBER to take a picture of your monument and put it in your family journal along with the story that goes with it.
5) “Thankful for Him!” Tree
I know that Thankful Trees are a pretty popular activity suggestion on Pinterest these days. However, I wanted to change things up a bit. This Thankful Tree is all about counting our blessings from God & the blessing of His character. I have a book called Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler. It's a great book that takes a look at several of the names of God and how His name points us to His character. So, you can use a book like this as a guide, your family journal, or just write out any special things that come to mind to be thankful to God for. He is so good, & this is the perfect time of year to thank Him in a special way.
Preparation: This fun little tree can be created by just finding a good branch and sticking it into a jar of marbles (or whatever stand you'd like to use). You can use the same thankful leaves from the other activities or just find easy leaf cut outs to use with normal construction paper. Keep it simple, and just have fun being thankful. 🙂
Fun Fact: Did you know that Thanksgiving was originally declared to be a day of giving thanks and praise to God by President Lincoln, not a day to eat turkey? It's always amazing to see how things change through the years.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
New Fun New Way to Focus on Gratitude!
Here's a great journal that totally fits right in with our theme of “Gratitude!” I just learned about this incredible Choose Gratitude blessings journal that my friend, Crystal Paine, created last year. You can use it as your #3 journal above! Be sure to check it out on Amazon. I know you will like it! (#aff)
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