In a world full of wants and instant gratification, it may seem impossible to teach anyone how to be grateful, let alone children. I mean they are tough customers and if yours are anything like mine, they are starting their Christmas list on December 26th (which is offensive because that is my birthday, I’m kidding…maybe).
Even with all of the things we have to compete with when it comes to teaching our children how to be grateful, there are some simple and intentional activities that you can do during November to point your kids in the right direction.
This might actually be one of my favorite November activities. The kids love it too! The best part is that all it requires is a Pumpkin that didn’t get carved during Halloween and a sharpie. That’s it!
Each day after dinner or during breakfast, it changes for us year to year, each family member writes one thing they are grateful for. We do this the entire month of November to help us see the blessings that are right in front of us.
We don’t do this in our family but we have friends that do and we love to visit and see their Thankful Tree. One of our friends has their kids pick some prime branches from outside to use as the tree portion.
They set up a pretty vase and put the tree on the table surrounded by construction paper leaves and small clothespins. This is similar to the pumpkin with this next part. Each member of the family writes something they are thankful for on a leaf each day until Thanksgiving and then they hang the leaf on the tree.
By the end, the tree is full of leaves!
This is the same idea as the tree but it is a garland instead. If you don’t have the tablespace you can hang a piece of twine or ribbon on a mantle or any wall you want. Have cut out leaves and a sharpie for your daily gratitude!
I knew someone who would have a plain white table cloth (real cloth) that everyone would write what they were thankful for on Thanksgiving. Whether family was in town or not. But the coolest part was they she would then embroider the writing during the year. This became a beautiful tribute to family and provided heirlooms for anyone who wanted one since she did it every year!
If you aren’t a seamstress then you can use paint pens or different colored sharpies to make the writing permanent. Either way, it will become an amazing tradition.
Pre-Holiday Toy Clean Out
Now that we have talked about ways to acknowledge our gratitude let’s talk about ways to serve others this holiday season.
The pre-holiday toy clean-out may be my favorite time of the year. I hate clutter and will always look for opportunities to get rid of things I am tired of picking up but the best part of this is what it teaches my kids. It teaches them to hold loosely the things of this world. We can give our things away and we are still so rich in God’s love and mercy.
It also teaches them that they don’t have room for everything and that if they want something new they need to give something away. This is a great time to have an intentional conversation about helping others, donating what we don’t need or use, and materialism.
Give to Others
There will be many opportunities throughout the holidays to give to others. Whether its Coats for Kids, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, Operation Christmas Child, or just seeing who around you is in need and meeting that need you will not be lost for opportunities to help others.
Bake for your neighborhood, fill a shoebox to send overseas, buy Christmas gifts for a family who can’t afford them, or donate to your local food bank are all ways that your family can get involved.
Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethanie Tayler: email@example.com
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Pontius: email@example.com
Debra Kirby: firstname.lastname@example.org