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Building Thanksgiving Tradition

We try hard to cultivate gratitude with our kids everyday. We say a grace and things we are thankful for at dinner time. When times are tough (like when the play date ended yesterday…which is pretty tough when you're two…) I try to re-focus on what was really fun and how lucky we are to have play dates with friends we love. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of that essential focus on how very blessed we are, everyday. Even if we had only a box of macaroni and cheese we would still celebrate more blessings than I can even begin to fully list.

Like the paper chain we made last year, we have been writing down our Thankfuls at dinner time. This year we have construction paper leaves and are hanging them on our table tree (sticks in clay, in a vase – just for this kind of thing). It's going to make a wonderful center piece on the sideboard tomorrow, and give us things to think about, read, and enjoy over our pie.

I also came across a wonderful table cloth idea somewhere on the Internet (and can't remember where, so if its your idea…Thank You!). I bought a plain table cloth and some fabric markers. We drew on it a bit, and plan on writing Thankfuls on it tomorrow. Guests and family can add their decorations, names, thoughts, and hopefully the year. We will do this again next year, and the year after… Until the table cloth is covered in every corner. Handprints will get bigger. Memories will be preserved in marker drawings and the odd cranberry stain. It will be a work of Art. We've only begun, but I can imagine the evolution of the table cloth and the excitement as we pull it out for each year's feast.For the past while we have been writing our dinner thankfuls on construction paper leaves and tying them to our table tree. We will keep adding – much like the chain we made last year – through Dinner tomorrow, then look over what we are thankful for before dessert.

And after Thanksgiving… I'm not really a Black Friday person. I fall more into the Buy-Nothing-Day side of things. I love Megan Francis' call to retailers in this post and her request to Save Thanksgiving. I'm there. For us, the day after Thanksgiving has its own traditions. The Holiday Season starts – we know this because it starts Friday morning with leftover pie for breakfast and the first playing of Holiday Music. We get out the Holiday decorations and begin to deck our halls.

I'm thinking of a new tradition as well, suggested by a dear friend. I think that instead of shopping, or carefully not shopping, I will create. I will pull out some craft supplies and make gifts – though I've already made a fair amount… Maybe next year I will invite a friend or two. I will not participate in the mad stampede for the newest shiny piece of mass produced crap. I will make lovely gifts for my adored friends and family. I will eat my pie, listen to Bing Crosby, paint, glue, or sew, and probably watch a Christmas movie of one kind or another. My kids will learn that this is the tradition, not a new big screen TV or new Furby.

Join me on this? Put down the coupons and pick up your needle and thread.

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Family Gifts Friday.



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