Cultivating a spirit of gratitude has proven to lower stress and lead people toward a more optimistic world view and greater life satisfaction. What better day to cultivate a spirit of gratitude than Thanksgiving? It is the perfect time to focus on our blessings.
- Construction paper
- Hole punch
- A tree or bush in the yard with branches low enough to hang ornaments from
Cut out construction paper circles, punch a hole in each of them, and tie a loop of yarn through each hole. This will create the circle ornaments that can hang on the tree. Make enough circle ornaments for each family member to have at least three.
On Thanksgiving Day, before or after the meal, ask each family member to sit at the table and write down on the ornaments at least three reasons they are thankful (one per ornament). Younger children can draw pictures. Remind everyone that the reasons will be shared.
Gather outside at the tree.
Take turns naming the items and hanging them on the tree.
After the conclusion of the tradition, someone says, “Our tree is full of so many reasons why we are grateful this day. Let us continue our celebration together knowing that our lives are full! Blessed Be!”
Invite everyone to take their ornaments home with them.
It is easy for some people to think of things that they are grateful for. It’s more of a challenge for others. Help those who need a little assistance by prompting. Is there anyone in this house you are thankful for? What about the food you eat or the clothes you wear?
Try not to evaluate what people (particularly children) list on their gratitude ornaments. A child might want to be grateful for their toys, their video games, and their puzzles instead of the bed they sleep in, the food that they eat, and the clothes that they wear. The exercise is about naming the things we are grateful for, not inspiring guilt.
- Create an indoor tree by putting a large branch in a tall vase.
- Make the gratitude ornaments in the shape of leaves
- Do the exercise on a different fall day.
Resource: Faithful Families by Traci Smith