It seems all I have to do is talk to a friend or get on facebook to realize we all are longing for ways to show and understand gratitude during November. Many are listing something they are thankful for each day this month. I love this idea but decided to pass on it this year. Still, I wanted to find a way to really appreciate the Thanksgiving season before rushing on to Christmas.
One of my favorite things to do is read blogs. As I was reading Ann Voskamp's blog last week, I came across a great way to center your heart and home on thankfulness. She has beautiful, free printouts to make a Thanks Giving Tree. I decided to make my own and document it for all of you. While I don't have children and made it specifically for my husband and myself, this would be a wonderful project for the whole family. You can print out your own here.
First, grab your family and cut out the leaves. There are plenty! They need not be perfect and I have a hunch a leaf cut out by your four-year-old will make your tree that much more special, if not exact. For those who aren't into cutting things out, they can gather sticks from the yard. Word to the wise: gathering sticks in the dark is not necessarily the best choice. Not that I know from personal experience. Yes, yes I do. :).
Once you've cut them out, use a hole punch to make a spot and then thread your ribbon. It's completely up to you which kind to use--make it reflect your family. I used a mix of gold ribbon and red yarn since that's what I had on hand. When you've tied them all you'll have a lovely pile of fall thankfulness leaves. See?
The pre-made leaves have enough for you to use one each day. Since it's the 13th already, you can catch up by doing a whole bunch of thankfulness leaves on one day. Or you can divide them between family members for the rest of the month, having several family members help each day.
The front of each leaf has a verse. You can read the verse together and pray the verse for your family. Then, on the back, list something you are thankful for from the day. The day I made our tree, our small group had just celebrated one year of waiting with us for our adoption. Thus, this is what I wrote on our leaf for the 11th:
Once you've written it on the leaf, hang that leaf as a visual sign of your blessings. The true goal is to gain gratitude throughout the month for all God's gifts. Your family may have a rough day. God's greatness can still be shown for the gifts he gives, even the hard ones.
I chose to make my tree our dining room's centerpiece. We'll be adding to our tree at family meal time.
I hope your family finds ways to gain gratitude for God's gifts during this beautiful season, regardless of how you choose to express it.
Psalm 136:1 "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever."