November is here! How is that possible?! Once November hits it seems like the holidays steamroll through and time speeds up. It feels as if every weekend starts to fill up with holiday activities and there isn’t much downtime. This year I want to be more intentional with our time through the holidays and absorb every moment with my mini me’s (that seem to be growing by the second – TIME SLOW DOWN!).
With November, comes my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving we, as most people do, focus on all of the things and people in our lives that we are thankful for. C and I both try our best to make raising grateful children a high priority in our homes. So for the month of November why not make gratitude the focus? Instead of making Thanksgiving Day the one day we focus on thankfulness with our kids, lets aim to do it every day this month. I am guilty of making this intention each year and letting it fall by the wayside. To make sure it sticks all through November, I decided to try to come up with a few activities that can be done each day to keep gratitude and thankfulness at the front of our family discussions.
Below are a handful of “Thankful” ideas that you can choose to do as a family in the month of November.
- Gratitude Jar – Find a time each day or week that works for your family and ask each member of the family to write down what they are thankful for. Then place them into the jar. (For small children you can ask them and write it for them). On thanksgiving sit down and read what each person is thankful for! Before my (soon to be) brother in law deployed we celebrated “Thanksmas” since he will be gone for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. During our celebration I had given everyone a few pumpkin cutouts and each family member wrote what they were thankful for on a few pumpkins. Then we shuffled them up and I read each one aloud. We had fun guessing who wrote what and more often than not each one lead to the person sharing a story of why they were thankful. We laughed a lot and it fostered a fun family conversation. A Gratitude Jar is a must do!
- Thankful Hands Tablecloth– You can grab a $6 drop cloth from Lowes or Home Depot for this one! (Just as we did in this post). This is a perfect idea for a kids table, or you can use a larger tablecloth if you plan to use this on the main thanksgiving table. Have each child put a handprint on the tablecloth, by painting their hand in a thanksgiving esq color. Once the handprint dries, write their name and the date with a fine tip sharpie marker, along with what they are most thankful for that year. Each year you can come back to this tablecloth and add a new handprint along with the date and what they are thankful for. This will be a family treasure that everyone will enjoy looking at and reading past “thankfuls” for thanksgivings to come!
- Thankful Postcards – I am a HUGE Fan of snail mail. I love receiving it, but most of all I LOVE sending it. My daughter also loves getting things in the mail, but she’s a bigger fan of sending cards (Which is why family members are constantly giving her packs of cards. She even got a bag full as a birthday present. She is probably the only 5 year old that would ever appreciate getting blank cards and new pens for her birthday!) Anyway, (get back on track LO!) for the month of November you can pick a new person to write to each week or every few days. Have your child think about why they are thankful for that person and send them a card with the reasons why. Or a sweet little note explaining they are thankful. This is an easy one to make age appropriate. Have them draw a picture and ask them what they want to thank that person for and write it for them or if they are able have them write a nice thankful note themselves. Everyone loves getting mail and getting a note in the mail explaining why someone is thankful for them will bring even more joy!
- Thankful “Turkey” Toss- A fun family game would be to make a ball into a turkey (this is optional) and sit in a circle and toss the ball around and each time you catch it you have to state something you are thankful for! You could even add in you have to state why you are thankful for the person you throw it to before you throw it.
- Sundays Well Spent– “Sundays Well Spent Bring A Week of Content” is a motto we live by in our house. Sundays are usually our busiest days, with church, my husbands church class and CCI Dog Training for Clifford, but I find if we focus on spending the day well we go into the week feeling happier. Through November you can remember “Sundays Well Spent” and find an intentional activity to do as a family on Sundays. Whether it be taking a family bike ride, sitting outside, or sitting down to eat a family meal. During each of these family times make the focus on gratitude. Have each person in the family talk about something or someone they are thankful for. Have each person decide on a thankful activity they are going to accomplish for the week (donating a toy, cans to a canned food drive, completing a random act of kindness, or my daughters favorite “playing with someone who is alone on the playground”). If you keep the saying “Sundays Well Spent” in the back of your mind, it should be an easy reminder to be grateful for Sunday as a family and complete a thankfulness activity each Sunday.
Make gratitude a focus each day in November! Keep it simple and it can most certainly be fun! You may even find this focus on gratitude carries over past November!