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Day Eleven: The Thanksgiving Tree

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Several years ago, we started a Thanksgiving tradition at our house — a Thanksgiving Tree. It was a quirky little idea designed to help us all cultivate gratitude during the season. The kids went in search of an interesting branch at the farm, and we braced it with a bunch of rocks in a pot on our dining table. Every day at dinner time during the week or so prior to Thanksgiving, we each shared one thing we were grateful for. The kids were young and couldn’t write, so I recorded their little moments of gratitude on cut pieces of colored paper and hung them on the “tree.” During that year, they were thankful for things like the color red and chicken nuggets and various Disney movies. And Mommy and Daddy. We didn’t end up doing our Thanksgiving Tree tradition last year in all the craziness, but this year I was determined we would start it again.

We did. On our first farm walk earlier this week, the kids and I went in search of a suitable branch. We found “it” down at the curve of the road. It was actually two nearly bare gray branches we held up together and determined they could work when paired together. Drummer Boy led the charge to gather rocks from the gravel road in our buckets and used them to scotch the branches together in a green crock pitcher. It’s been sitting at the end of our table leaving ample room for serving dishes but also reminding us of the holiday.

So, we’ve been naming blessings. And writing them down. And hanging them on a tree. This year, I created a printable Thanksgiving hang tag that I shared in some of my Small Pond Graphics communications. Baby Girl and Bug got into the fun of cutting them out and punching holes in them. Sometimes at breakfast and sometimes at dinner this week, we’ve each chosen our hangable and our crayon. The kids are old enough now to write their own thankful words with a little spelling help. I’m proud of them for thinking carefully about what to write, and their smiles at choosing the best hanging spot make me smile too.

As with most young traditions, I’m not sure the kids really “get” the tradition part. But, as I’ve seen with other crazy Mom ideas, I imagine that as we continue to repeat each year they will come to be the ones reminding me how it should be done. I guess that’s how traditions work. That makes me smile. I want this act to be part of who we are. This act of giving thanks. Of counting blessings. It’s so easy to indulge them, to give them everything I possibly can. But, I want them to understand the importance of gratitude, of nurturing a grateful heart, of knowing that blessings come in all kinds of packages. I hope you enjoy a glimpse at some of our blessings. May you and yours enjoy counting a few of your own.

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