Growing up, Thanksgiving was one of my favorite days of the year. My family had the tradition of dressing up on Thanksgiving day. We’d eat a good (but simple) holiday meal. There were songs, and laughter and it felt like a celebration of all the good things that we’d experienced in the year behind us.
I have so many good memories about Thanksgiving growing up. But as an adult I am well aware of how easy it is to make Thanksgiving more about the food (and maybe the football) than it is about gratitude and thanking God for His provision in our lives. And I don’t want that to happen in our home!
I believe that Gratitude is one of the most important things in life, and I want to to be front and center in our home.
Keeping Thanksgiving itself simple is one way that I find is key in making enough time in the day for the important things beyond delicious food and piles of dishes. But here are four more easy ways to keep thankfulness the focus of your Thanksgiving Day.
Four Ways to Add More “Thanks” into Your Celebrations
Make a Thankful Tree
Years ago, I fell in love with this idea. Use colorful fall leaves as a canvas for writing down all the little (or big) blessings and hang them on your “Thankful Tree”. On Thanksgiving day, you can use your tree as a centerpiece and as a daily reminder to be grateful. I love this because not only is it beautiful, but it is a wonderful way to create a tangible, visible celebration of the gifts God gives us.
There are so many different ways you could create your own Thankful Tree. Gather and press real fall leaves. Print out some of the templates for a thankful tree from the web. Cut out, color, draw or punch out leaves from any kind of paper you like. As long as it’s big enough to write a word or two on, it will be perfect. Collect or create a “tree” to hang or paste your leaves on to as you write down what you are thankful for. It’s really easy, and the whole family can be involved.
I love seeing all the beautiful thankful trees that people have created, so if you are looking for inspiration you’ll find several ideas in my thanksgiving board on pinterest.
Write Thankful Notes
There is nothing quite like getting a note from someone expressing how much you mean to them. The few I’ve received over the years have been treasures to me. That’s why I think Thanksgiving is the perfect time to sit down and tell the people we love how much they mean to us.
All you need is a stack of cards, some colorful pens and a few fall inspired stickers just for fun. The notes don’t have to be complex. Just make them heartfelt and they will inspire thankfulness not only in your heart, but in the recipients’ hearts as well.
This is another family activity. Even my toddler enjoys writing notes and especially applying the stickers!
Make A Thankful Playlist
Take a little time before Thanksgiving rolls around and make a playlist of all the songs that remind you of how God has taken care of you over the years. Use it as a soundtrack for Thanksgiving. Music is a powerful reminder and a beautiful way to celebrate. And what better to listen to on Thanksgiving day than an entire line up of music that reminds you of how good God has been!
At the top of my personal playlist? “Blessings” by Laura Story.
Keep a Thankful Heart All Year
I firmly believe that Gratitude can change our lives. Being thankful isn’t just for a single day. It should be an attitude we cultivate all year. It’s important to choose gratitude every day of our lives. So take a little time this Thanksgiving day and make plans as a family about how you can keep a thankful heart all year long.
Here are two of my personal favorite ways to do this.
- Create a Joy Journal- a special book just for writing down all the many little things we are thankful for every day.
- Set up a Thanks Bank. I love the idea of mounting this little jar for collecting blessings in a central place in our home. What a great way to be reminded to be intentional about being thankful!
When next Thanksgiving rolls around, gather as a family and go over some of your favorite blessings from the year behind you. This is my favorite tradition of all.
Do you have a tradition or an idea to help keep Thanksgiving Thankful?
Write a post and share your tips and stories with us by linking back to this post or leaving a comment. I’d love to read and learn from what works for you and your family to help make gratitude a bigger part of your Thanksgiving day—and every day throughout the year!