Thanksgiving is typically a holiday where people spend time with family and friends and remember the things they are thankful for. I have always felt like thankfulness should not be limited to just a single day! Here are some ideas our family has done to extend the season of gratitude.
1. "100 Things the Hursts are Thankful For”. This was so fun! It was the beginning of November, and we were all starting to think of things we were thankful for and decided to make a list. As a family, we took turns, each sharing something we were thankful for. We set a goal of hitting a total of 100 things or ideas. It was finished before we knew it! That was in 2009, and our sons were four and five. It’s such a fun list to look back on! I’m surprised we haven’t done it again.
2. Thankful Jar. One year, I got a jar and cut up small slips of paper. When any of us thought of something we were thankful for, we wrote it down and brought it to dinner. Whoever brought a slip to dinner shared it with the rest of the family and put it in the jar. We decided this one should stay around even after the turkey and mashed potatoes were gone. That was probably three years ago, and we still use the jar. Sometimes, people ask what we’ll do with all of the slips we’ve stuffed in the jar since it’s inception. I don’t know.
3. Pocket Calendar. I found a fall-themed calendar that has a small pocket for each day of November. Every night for the entire month, we each share one thing we are thankful for. Someone writes each idea down on one shared paper, and we put it in the pocket. Each year, when I pack it away, I leave the thankful lists in the pockets. Since we’ve been using this for several years, it’s fun to look back and remember ideas from years past.
4. Thankful Tree. One year, I made a large tree and leaves out of paper. The bare tree hung on our wall as we slowly decorated it with ideas of what we were thankful for written on the paper leaves. This was a fun visual for our kids as the tree filled up. I loved this so much that my husband then painted a tree on the wall that we used for a few years. Unfortunately, we have since moved, but I often think of how much I loved that tree!
5. Dinner Table Talk. Every night, as we sit around the dinner table, we always come up with a topic of discussion. It is not uncommon to settle on gratefulness. Sometimes, we leave it completely open to anything you’re thankful for. Other times, we have a focus… name a person you are thankful for and why, a situation or event that has blessed you, etc.
My husband and I feel strongly that gratitude is an important trait to instill in our kids. We pray they will always remember how blessed they are and share that with others year round. Now, I think we’ll do another “100 Things to be Thankful For” list again this year!