HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
November 13, 2006, Herald Journal

Giving thanks on thanksgiving


I really enjoyed the poem "Thanksgiving" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Its message rings loud and clear that we are not to forget all the daily blessings bestowed upon us that can go unnoticed and unappreciated so easily.

The poem reminds us so wonderfully that Thanksgiving was and continues to be a day devoted for remembering the things we have to be grateful for and for giving thanks for all of those blessings.

Thanksgiving is a special time to give thanks for all of the blessings that we receive, such as the “obvious” blessings, such as food and sun and trees that we often forget are blessings.

We can also count our blessings for all of the moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.

Sometimes we all have tendencies to remember the bad things more easily than the good, and Thanksgiving can keep us mindful of our blessings and to have a gracious heart all year long. It is important to instill in our children a gracious attitude and a thankful heart also!

When you are enjoying your special day of thanks and feasting with loved ones, make a point of outwardly “counting” your blessings and reflecting on memories shared!

• Begin your meal with a moment of thanks. Have every guest convey a blessing that they have received. You could also remember those less fortunate.

Thanksgiving is a day set aside in America and Canada for giving thanks and reflecting on our blessings. Thanksgiving is also a time for religious reflection, church services and prayer.

• Create a thankful chain, garland of gratitude or turkey of thanks with the children to focus again on what each person is thankful for.

On paper chain links or cut-out leaf shapes or turkey feathers of various colors, have the children (and adults too) write or draw pictures (depending on age) conveying or depicting what they are thankful for.

Put together by stapling or gluing the paper chain links or leaves together or attaching feathers to a construction paper turkey and display in or around the room.

• Play some simple games to add to your family Thanksgiving traditions. www.amazingmoms.com offers some fun ideas.

• Play the traditional twenty questions games with a Thanksgiving theme. Choose someone or something related to Thanksgiving. One player begins with saying something like, “I am thinking of a person, place or thing related to Thanksgiving.”

The other players try to guess what it is by asking no more than 20 questions which can be answered with a “yes, no, or I don’t know.”

• You could also play a drawing, Pictionary game with a Thanksgiving theme as well. Using a white board, chalk board or paper and appropriate writing utensil, take turns drawing a picture related to Thanksgiving (pumpkin, Pilgrim’s hat, boat, turkey, fruit, pie, etc), and the others must guess what the drawer is drawing.

The first person to guess, gets the opportunity to draw the next picture or picks the next person to draw if he/she already has had a turn.

• Try a Thanksgiving version of “warmer...cooler” to find Mr. Turkey. One player is the turkey finder and leaves the room. The helpers hide a “turkey,” whether it be a paper, picture or trinket version of a turkey.

The finder returns with the mission to find the turkey, and the helpers give clues by “gobbling” like turkeys. If the finder is not close, the helpers gobble quietly, and if the finder gets closer, the helpers gobble more and more loudly until the turkey is found!

“Gobble, gobble,” to all of you too!