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Happy November friends!  It’s getting chilly here in Minnesota, and most of the beautiful fall leaves have long fallen from the tree.  However, it’s not so chilly that I don’t want to leave my house.  Not yet anyway.  November has always felt like a peaceful month to me, the craziness of fall weekend activities wrapped up, and the Christmas season not yet upon us.  Reflecting on the blessing in our lives, and preparing for Thanksgiving.

Most of you are saying, yes, we love it too but how do we get our kids to slow down and appreciate this time of year.  Be grateful for their blessings, and enjoy Thanksgiving.  I think mine were making their Christmas lists while they sort their Halloween and seemingly forgetting that there is another holiday and an entire month before December 25th.  I don’t really blame them.  We had already received at least one holiday toy circular in the mail, a request for Christmas gift ideas, and on any trips to retail store in our area of late they saw Christmas lights and other decorates already adorning the aisles and end caps.

So, what’s a person to do?  Not go shopping between Halloween and December 1st?  Well, my bank account would love that, however, that’s not a realistic endeavor in this house.  Instead of trying to block Christmas out, my goal this year is to just reshift their focus.  They all went through the catalogs and circled what they wanted, I’m not a monster, of course I let them have at it.  I loved doing that as a kid with the Sears Wishbook, remember that thing?  Can you imagine the postage if they still sent that out today?!  I digress, so now the catalogs are put away and I’m working on shifting their focus.

Here is a list of five ideas that we’re trying out:

1 – A thankful tree.  I have seen gorgeous pictures that my friends have posted of (Christmas) trees they have decorated as thankful trees.  We went a different route and I picked up a cute little wooden tree from the One Spot at Target.  It has pre-cut leaves with sticky backing on them.  We take turns writing what we are thankful for each night at dinner.  We are going in a rotation, youngest to oldest, with the only rules being that you cannot make duplicates and you cannot say anything negative about anyone’s leaf.  I plan to read them all at Thanksgiving.


2 – Think of someone that you are thankful for in your life and either call them or write a quick note telling them so.  Who wouldn’t love to get that phone call?

3 – Take donations to your local food shelf with your children, have a conversation about what you’re doing, and how it will help others.  I have dropped off many donations in the past or donated in other ways, however, they had never gone with me into the food shelf before.  The act of going in definitely resonated more with them.  Perhaps going into the food shelf isn’t a possibility in your area, you could take a separate shopping trip just for food shelf donations with your kids and go together to a drop site.  I think the act of separating it out from your normal grocery run would have a similar affect.

4 – Give the gift of a Thanksgiving meal to a family in need.  You’re thinking I’m nuts right now, how are you going to make and deliver two meals?  That’s not exactly what I mean.  We did this in my MOPS group this month.  We created an online sign up and everyone picked an item to bring from the list (turkey cooking bag, disposable roasting pan, green beans, turkey, rolls, etc), brought in their items, and then they were sorted into ‘meals’ to families to prepare for themselves on Thanksgiving.  This is definitely one you could involve the kids in, with the gathering and/or delivery.  Perhaps you have a close friend or neighbor that you’d like to do this for.  Maybe you’re not sure who to give it to.  If you have a church or outreach group in your area I’m sure they would be able to find a family that would be very thankful for this.  Don’t go it alone, make an online sign up and involve others.  Maybe your family if they live close by, your kids sports team/group, friends, or neighbors would like to join forces on this one.

5 – Have your kids think of a friend that they are thankful to have in their life and ‘gobble them’.  I saw this ideas over at The Dating Divas and it’s adorable.  Essentially you gather a little bag of goodies for the recipient and ‘ding dong ditch’ it on their doorstep.  They even have a free printable and ideas of what you might want to put in to your bag.  So fun!

So that’s it, that’s what I’ve come up with this year.  Maybe it’ll work, maybe not, but hopefully we are making some memories along the way, holding off Christmas till after Thanksgiving, and learning to be Thankful for our blessings.

Did you try out any of my ideas?  I’d love to hear how it went or what you and your kids thought about it.  Have some ideas that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear those too!


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