The Season of Thanksgiving

It’s hard to believe the stores are already lining their shelves with Christmas merchandise when we’re still weeks away from Thanksgiving.

As such, the season of I want is right around the corner. Every year it seems, with each new commercial, toy catalogue and trip to the store, the words “I want” begin to flow freely from my children’s lips. It frustrates me even more that it comes on the heels of a holiday which is all about being thankful for the multitude of blessings in our lives. And we are definitely blessed!

After last year’s abysmal Christmas wish lists, which included a whole range of outrageous and expensive gifts (even a laptop on one of them), I felt this year it was time to resurrect a family tradition to help my children begin focusing early this holiday season on what is most important.

We start by cutting out a whole bunch of construction paper leaves. I cheated and used this template here because I cannot draw to save my life! Seriously, not even a leaf… We also used this one for the maple leaf, but we all agreed it was a pain in the patootie to cut out. Just to give you fair warning…

Then each person, parent and child, has to choose five things they’re thankful for and write one thing on each leaf. The choices range from serious things like family and friends, to the not so serious like cute boys, cupcakes and being a carbon based lifeform. We punch a hole in each leaf, thread some pretty embroidery floss through the holes to make a hanger, and then hang them up on a dead tree branch set in a pretty flower vase.

We use this as the centerpiece throughout the Thanksgiving season, and it serves as a daily reminder to, well, be thankful. I’m always amazed as the days go by that my kids (even my teenagers) think of other things they want to add to the tree, so I keep an extra stash of leaves cut out and ready to go for when they do. It helps us carry the meaning of Thanksgiving in our hearts the entire season.

What about your family? Do you have any special traditions to celebrate during or on Thanksgiving?

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  1. 1

    What a great idea!! I am also trying to instill some tradition and value of being thankful in my children. Sometimes the commercialism of the holiday blindsides us from the true meaning of the day. I wanted to teach my children about giving more than receiving. So we try to buy small toys, coloring books, crayons, books etc.. and take it to our local homeless shelter for the kids to have throughout the year. I always believe what you give comes back to you eventually. Thank you for reminding everyone of this season of Thanksgiving. : )

  2. 2

    This is so adorable!

  3. 3

    This is a wonderful tradition, I will be passing this along to family and friends. Great post about the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

  4. 4

    What a wonderful idea! I should get my children to think about this, too. Food for thought indeed.

  5. 5

    I love this idea. I saw something similar in the Real Simple magazine but that was just for a party. This is a great way to celebrate the whole season and keep things in perspective.

  6. 6

    What a beautiful idea! Since my husband and I don’t have other family in the area, we host Thanksgiving for anyone who needs a place to eat. No matter who ends up at my table, I force everyone to say something they’re thankful for before we dig in.

  7. 7

    Love this idea! Keeping it stored away for when we start to have kids- thanks for sharing!

  8. 8

    This was a tradition at my kids’ elementary school…but such a fun idea to do at home. I hope to do it with my adultish kids who are still living here…will be fun to see what they write. I think my daughter would agree with “cute boys”–love that!

  9. 9

    What a GREAT tradition! We have the tradition of listing what you’re thankful for at the diner table. We do a bit of a round robin. The teenage boys duck and hesitate, but they always come up with the best ones!

  10. 10

    I love this! What a wonderful tradition!

  11. 11

    Great tradition, your kids will look back on this one day and be so happy to have the memory. We don’t have many Thanksgiving traditions but Christmas we do.

  12. 12

    I think this is such a wonderful idea! It’s easy to take for granted the things we’re thankful for, but it’s great that you have a tradition like this to instill in your children =) And I love that you use it as a centerpiece for your table!

  13. 13

    What a great idea! Lots of meaning, and makes a beautiful centerpiece!

  14. 14

    What a lovely thing to do. Such a nice thing to do with your children, hopefully they will do the same with their children!

  15. 15

    What a nice tradition of writing down your blessings on leaves… it makes such a beautiful and memorable centerpiece too. Although Thanksgiving (now past), is rather low-key in Canada, we do something similar in our family, with verbal recountings of things we’re thankful for – we also begin every meal (dinner meal every day) with thanks which is a nice tradition that reminds us that even the most fundamental things that we take for granted, like food, are indeed blessings. Cheers Jen.

  16. 16

    I love decorating for the fall holidays and am so glad that I finally moved so that I can put out some seasonal decorations. What a fun thing to do with your children.

  17. 17

    I love this idea and thanks for sharing. I’m going to do this with my kids too. We have this Japanese celebration and hang “wishes” on a certain kind of tree and your tree reminded me of that. Thanks!!

  18. 18

    I love the idea and spirit of your centerpiece. I wish I had little ones of my own to do a project like this with! Beautifully done and keeping in the true spirit of the holiday season. :)


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