Starting in October clients often ask me about some of my preferred Thanksgiving traditions.
I would like to share a remarkably simple but sweet activity we have done variations of since our kids were young and continue with each year.
As most of you may know or have heard about me, I have tended to embrace a simplicity, frugality, and conservationist focused lifestyle for many years.
So, most anything I do with these kinds of activities I tend to do with minimal fuss or cost; and seek to reuse, recycle, and repurpose as often as possible.
Trusting you will enjoy trying the following with your loved ones.
Some people call it a Thankful Tree, can be done as garland or banner. My favorite is the “tree” form.
Goal with this activity is to create a simple, seasonally decorated/ accented display in a “tree” form for written notes to hang or be displayed from “tree’s” branches.
We place our decorated but unadorned tree in dining room in
center of table - but tree could go on sideboard or mantel. preference is yours when it is filled.
Grab a couple smaller branches about 3 or 4 about 10-12 inches each.
Anchor them in pot with soil, stones, or Styrofoam etc. Or branches can be set in vase or another suitable container.
When the kids were small, we would let them find skinny smaller branches from the yard, then invite them to choose the container and decorate it with paints, stickers etc. following a fall theme.
Key is to be creative and ideally make use of stuff you have on hand - no need to dash to craft store and spend money unless that is your preference.
Next decide what you would like “thankful notes” you will be hanging from tree, to look like.
One year we cut colored index cards into thirds, then folded each piece to open like a card - then kids glued fallen leaves from yard to each.
Another year we cut up a brown paper bag into folded slips, kids decorated each slip with seasonal stickers.
With the notes you want to finish with three elements, a combination of a blank note space on one side, seasonal decoration on other side and string, yarn, ribbon, twine or clip to attach each prepared card to individual branches of your created tree or garland
Look to create at least three each of the decoration for each person attending Thanksgiving dinner.
As people arrive and or await dinner - explain they need to have a seat and grab three blank decorated small notes and write at least one thing on each note they are thankful for, plus why they are thankful.
Nothing elaborate needs to be written, short sweet and from the heart is goal.
Encourage everyone to add their name or at least their initials to their written notes when finished
I have a number of memento boxes and have kept some of these “thankful notes” from trees - garlands and wall hangings over the years.
I find it a blast to look at the ones from the past.
One year one of our sons got his first car, just before Thanksgiving, and I have three separate thankful cards he wrote and hung on tree created that year.. that say... I am thankful for ... “My car - don’t have to take bus”
“My car -don’t have to ask parents for lifts.” “My car - I can go wherever I want to” Fun, to still feel the excitement and recall that son’s milestone of having his first car.
Another part of this tradition is to have oldest family member present for dinner read aloud each note after all the notes are completed.
Depending on personalities assembled - you can mention name or initials that are on each note read, or simply read out note and let author of note remain anonymous or if they are bubbling over with enthusiasm, they will tend to want to acknowledge aloud that was their note being read.
It is always best to be as allowing as possible as to what people... even in a family setting may feel comfortable sharing, regarding their thankful notes.
Collectively, this kind of activity accomplishes a lot ... for all ages.
Trees energetically symbolize togetherness, family, ancestors, abundance, and longevity.
Creating a tree symbol and adding a family’s collective energies of reflections on thankfulness is a wonderful positive energy source to have in most any home this time of year.
Energetically... These shared creations also reinforce positivity and power of reflecting on thankfulness in people
Also inspires creativity, fun, shared information and memories among family and friends
As well as encouraging simplicity, repurposing, conservation, and establishment of a flexible and sweet family tradition.
These kinds of simple activities keep children and adults meaningfully engaged and sharing common and positive thoughts around their own thankfulness. Which I believe serves to easily enrich and enhance an atmosphere of shared experience and meaningful fun.
Please give some thoughts to trying to create your own thankfulness tree. I think you will be glad you did... and finally ... for those who might be wondering ...
We historically keep our created thankful trees, garlands, or banners up till end of October.
Then we start on our Halloween traditions.
I am planning to share Halloween and likely some Christmas traditions via future blog posts, podcasts and social media
Till next time.