Thanksgiving has always been a perfect holiday for me – no gifts, no egg hunts or trick or treating – just a simple day to enjoy time spent with the family. I always look forward to a laid back celebration.
The kids sometimes have a different reason for being excited about this particular holiday though… because Thanksgiving is also the day before our Elf on the Shelf returns and Christmas fun begins full force. I’m pretty sure they would gladly hit the fast forward button on Thanksgiving if it meant that elf could get up to his silly antics a little sooner.
Of course, I’m always trying to teach them to enjoy the moment and value this holiday that reminds us to be truly grateful for all the things we might take for granted. Each year I try to incorporate some activities into our Thanksgiving celebration to remind all of us that it’s about more than just turkey and black friday deals in the morning.
One of the ways that I keep this though fresh in our heads is to plan activities all month long that help the kids understand what it means to be thankful, and to rediscover every day things with new eyes. We use this Thankful Tree Printable as a visual reminder of those things leading up to the holidays.
I print out Our Thankful Tree and cut out the ornaments ahead of time. The week before Thanksgiving I hang the tree on the wall and encourage the kids to fill in an ornament whenever they feel thankful about something. We let them write whatever they like – sometimes it’s a toy or a friend and sometimes it’s a moment or a funny joke. I love to see how our tree fills up – and changes – each year!
You can attach the ornaments to the tree with a glue stick or scotch tape. Sometimes I print a second tree and ask our Thanksgiving dinner guests to fill one out too!
Sometimes we have a small artificial tree up before Thanksgiving, and I punch holes in the ornaments to hang from the tree with string.
After Thanksgiving we try to continue the theme of thankfulness by celebrating family and time together in other ways. One of my favorite traditions is to opt out of Black Friday. We don’t spend the day in any stores or browsing online sales – we go completely dark, leaving our phones behind as we head to our favorite tree farm in search of the perfect Christmas tree. Afterwards we go home to crank up the holiday tunes, bake cookies and drink hot cocoa as we decorate our tree.
What Thanksgiving traditions are your favorite? Drop a comment to let me know!