Now more than ever, we need to focus on the positives in our lives. Since March of 2020, families worldwide, like mine, have faced more challenges and changes than many thought possible. My family switched from public schooling to homeschooling and my husband went from working in an office building to our bedroom becoming his office. We went from spending so much time with family and friends to visiting through screens, to name a few. Yet, through it all, we did gain a great deal and it’s important to focus on gratitude.
So, this Thanksgiving, instead of being consumed with what we may or may not be able to do, my family will choose to focus on the positives that came from our challenges and changes and we will create a thankful tree.
Our dining room table tends to be our family’s gathering place, whether it is just the five of us or we are have a larger crowd. The size of our gathering this Thanksgiving is still unknown. But we know no matter how we choose to celebrate this Thanksgiving, we will have a large vase filled with branches collected from around our yard from a family yard clean-up. The branches will be joined together in the vase to become our thankful tree.
Placed around the vase on the table will be fall-colored pieces of paper (maybe even Thanksgiving-shaped papers) for all who gather to write or draw what they are thankful for this year. (TIP: The paper can be prepped by attaching strings with tape to the back or tying the string through a punched hole before the gathering.) Once a “thankfulness” is written or drawn, it will be hung on the branches for all to see during our Thanksgiving feast (as my kids like to refer to our Thanksgiving meal).
After the meal, if your family is anything like mine, there will be a break between the feast and dessert. My family normally sits around and talks, but this year we will also share from our thankful tree. I hope to see “thankfulnesses” about the many adventures we were able to take, like spending two months at St. Augustine Beach in Florida, exploring the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, taking weekly trips to our boat (which we never took time for before) or going on weekly trips to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. While sharing, maybe I’ll even hear about the many new friendships made, the days at home with mommy as the teacher, the daily lunches with daddy, or simply that our family has been fortunate and stayed healthy.
During the many trying times of the last year and a half, there still are so many blessings. That is why my family is creating a thankful tree. I am looking forward to hearing all the “thankfulnesses” this Thanksgiving. Who knows, we just might be starting a new family tradition! Be sure to check out ideas for other ways to give back as a family as well!
Bio: Kelly is an elementary teacher taking a break to be a stay-at-home mom to her three wildly rambunctious, yet kind and loving children. She grew up an hour north of Columbus in Lexington, Ohio, where she spent her summers living at the pool and her winters on the “slopes” of Snow Trails. She made her way to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University and never left. She lives in Worthington with her husband and their three little humans. She can often be found outside, wandering from playground to playground with a child or three in tow or looking for her lukewarm coffee. When she isn’t momming, driving from place to place, or doing dishes, she likes to hang with her husband, bother her siblings or mom, go on walks with her friends, or read a good book. When she is all alone, she has no idea what to do with herself.