Parenting

More Than Turkey: Thanksgiving Traditions To Nurture Gratitude In Your Family

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

My kids are preschool age, and this year we are working to add more activities around the holiday to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Here are some of the things we are doing this year. If you have ways your family practices gratitude, I’d be… grateful 😉 if you’d share them with me!

  • Volunteer together! Come up with your own family service project, or check out our list of places where families can volunteer together for ideas.
  • Start a gratitude sharing practice. Pick a large jar, bulletin board or other place to post little notes of things each person is thankful for. Then choose a time when most of the family is together (dinner, or perhaps bedtime) each day to add an entry for that day. With little, we keep it simple – we’ve often been thankful for candy and iPad time, though we are also sometimes thankful for bigger things like helpful neighbor friends, the moon, and even mom and dad.
  • Write (or draw, if you have small children) a thank you note to someone to let them know how much you appreciate them. Consider teachers (including from years past!), coaches, grandparents, neighbors, mail carriers, etc.
  • Make simple gifts. As Thanksgiving fades into the holiday season there’s a lot of talk about gifts and giving. Working together to make simple gifts (our family hands out caramel popcorn each year) for the people in your life is both fun and rewarding. Other ideas to consider: cookies, ornaments, candles, bath bombs, soaps.
  • Pass along a toy. This once is a real challenge in my house, but we’re working on it. My kids are the beneficiaries of a lot of great hand-me-downs, and I want to encourage them to share with others the same way others have shared with us.