Thanksgiving is only a day away and I’m sure many of us are counting our blessings especially with all the turmoil erupting in the world. I think gratefulness and appreciation of our blessings should be something we think about everyday and encourage our children to do the same. Recently I did a post for Graham Blanchard about a few ways we keep grateful. One of the fun ways we keep track of our blessings is through our Blessings Box! I simply purchased a box from Michaels and we took some time to decorate it. We record our blessings on a slip of paper and put it into our box, then we read them at the end of the month. This is a fun and meaningful activity that you can do throughout the year and not just in the month of November!
Holidays are meant to be joyous occasions, but more often than not holidays become stressful and the meaning is lost among the to do lists and the hectic rush and stress we put ourselves under. Here are a few ways to keep your holidays stress free.
- Release the Idea of a Perfect Holiday- One reason we become so stressed during the holidays is we strive for our holiday to resemble a Norman Rockwell painting. Most likely that won’t happen and even if it does the angst of making it happen is going to put a real damper on your day. Don’t worry if each plate doesn’t match or you don’t have name tags at each setting, the only person who really notices these details is you! Don’t get me wrong we all love a beautiful table and the details are fun, but when it stops being fun let it go! Do your best and enjoy the rest!
- Travel in Advance if Possible-Traffic during the holidays is enough to make you want to turn around forgo the turkey. If at all possible travel to your destination a couple of days in advance and beat the crowd, the same applies for coming home. Oh, don’t forget to get a full tank of gas and any money for tolls!
- Don’t Do it Alone– Holidays are about sharing, so if you are hosting don’t be shy or too prideful to accept help. Cooking with family and friends is fun and it is when memories are made!
- Keep the Conversation Light-Holiday conversations among family members can get a testy because of all the different personalities coming together and well you know… families can clash. Try to keep the conversation light, fun and non controversial know when to change the topic and try to let things roll off your back.
- Be as Prepared as Possible if You’re Hosting– The more prepared you are the less stress you’ll experience. Make those To Do Lists ahead of time and be very detailed about what you need done. Try to equally divide the tasks up in the days you have left so you’re not left feeling overwhelmed.
- Be Clear On Sharing Holidays- If you are sharing holidays with your kid’s dad be clear on the agreement and time for pick up or drop off. It will make the transition smoother for you and them.
- Take a Time Out– Make sure you get in a little down time. Even if it is 20 minutes take time to recharge your batteries.
Make memories, eat a lot, laugh, have fun, be safe, and appreciate the day with your family!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the fact that we’re celebrating gratitude. It is a time for friends and families to gather together, have good conversation, eat, and reflect upon why they are grateful. Our reflection on gratefulness shouldn’t occur only once a year we should be thinking about how grateful we are every day. It is important that as parents we try to instill an attitude of gratefulness in our children. In this day and age I’m incredibly surprised at how our society feels so entitled, especially our children. Just go into any toy store and you are sure to hear tantrums going on in the aisles. Now, I know children are children and it’s hard for them to grasp the concept that they can’t have everything they want. Heck, it is hard for some adults to grasp that concept. But, it is our responsibility to teach our children about being grateful and the duty we have to give unto others.
Jesus was the most giving person who ever lived. He gave his life to die for our sins. Of course none of us could ever out give Jesus, but wouldn’t be nice if we can teach our children how to at least try to imitate that loving kindness that Jesus so unselfishly dispersed among his children. This season make the holidays memorable for your children by giving them the opportunity to give of themselves. Here are some projects that are great for all ages.
Offer a Helping Hand
Do you know of an elderly person who needs assistance? A neighbor whose yard needs racking? Have your children offer a helping hand, whether it is for someone outside of the family or for a family member. This goes beyond chores, what you want them to do is to thoughtfully help someone in need. Maybe it is grandma who needs help cleaning out her basement, or dad who needs help with a household project, the idea is for them to give their time.
Volunteer at a Shelter
If your children are of age, sign the whole family up for a day of service at a shelter. This is a wonderful way for your children to understand how grateful they should be. If your kids are too young, then let them help you collect canned goods to a food bank. Make sure they are involved in the whole process, the collection and the delivery.
Get the whole family involved in cleaning out their closets and gathering all those gently worn clothes they don’t wear anymore, or toys they don’t play with and donate them to a charity, church, or shelter.
Write Grateful Cards
Cards aren’t just for Christmas and birthdays. Have your kids create a list of all the important people in their life (family, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.) then have them write a note to them expressing why they are grateful to have them in their life. I am particularly fond of this activity because writing personal letters have become a lost art. Everyone uses technology, which is fine but how nice is it to receive a handwritten note that you can cherish. Writing notes also gives your children a chance to thoughtfully reflect on why this person is important to them and how grateful they are for their presence in their life. If you have little ones let them draw a picture that expresses their gratitude it will be priceless to the person on the receiving end.
Participate in Fundraisers
I notice an increase in the number of walking fundraisers during this time of year. Check the Internet for walking fundraisers in your area and sign up the whole family. This provides great bonding time while participating in a worthwhile cause.
The activities are limitless! Also don’t reserve saying what you are grateful for only on Thanksgiving day, why not implement this at the dinner table during the whole month of November. Each family member can say something they are grateful for. This season encourage your family to focus on their blessings and to be a blessing to others.
It’s November!!! Can you believe it? I can’t, but I love this month! My 2nd favorite holiday, Thanksgiving will be here in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to eat turkey, go home to Pittsburgh and spend some quality time with family. This is a great time to really celebrate giving thanks. Teaching our kids to have a heart of gratitude is one of the best lessons we can teach them. If you are looking for a gratitude project try a grateful calendar. Every day have your children write something on the calendar they are grateful for in their life. If you have more than one child just make a few copies of a November calendar online and print them out.
Another fun thing to do is get a box and label it the, ‘Give Thanks Box or Grateful Box,’ and put slips of paper next to the box and every day have your family write one thing they are grateful for and then the day after Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day after everyone is done eating read them and reflect on how good God is! There are a ton of creative and fun ways to have your kids think about all the blessings in their life and don’t forget to join in on the fun!