5 Ways Families Can Cultivate Gratitude This Thanksgiving

November 21, 2018 Updated: November 21, 2018

The holiday season is about to get underway. How wonderful that we begin with a celebration of family, blessings, and gratitude.

Thanksgiving is centered on everything a holiday should be—the gathering of loved ones, sharing of abundance, and deeply felt thanks for the blessings in our lives.

To make the most of this celebration with your family, steep your activities in “an attitude of gratitude.” Here are five simple ways to do just that.

Turn Your Blessings Into Art

Enjoy a craft project as a family that showcases the things you’re thankful for. Whether making a wreath, hanging paper leaves on branches, or creating a chain in autumnal shades of construction paper, write what you’re thankful for on the pieces of your masterpiece. The result will be a family-made display of abundance that you can appreciate throughout the season.

Thanksgiving at Story Time

Reading aloud is a wonderful activity to share with your family all year long. There are many lovely children’s books that illustrate the spirit of Thanksgiving. Try titles like, “Strega Nona’s Harvest” by Tomie dePaola; “Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman; and “Over the River and Through the Wood,” the classic poem by L. Maria Child and illustrated by Matt Tavares.

Give to Others

Perhaps the best way to show appreciation for the abundance in your life is to give it away to others. Do some research in your local community to find a cause or group you feel compelled to help. Some organizations provide Thanksgiving dinners, winter clothing, or holiday presents this time of year.

Donate your resources, including time and effort as a family, to those in need. The lessons of generosity and compassion may be the greatest blessing your family receives all holiday season long.

Involve the Children in Preparations

There is something magical about the preparation and sharing of the Thanksgiving feast. Even very young children can take part. A toddler can set the table. A young child can mash potatoes. A preschooler can help bake cookies or pies. As their skills improve, kids can take full responsibility for dishes or other duties that contribute to Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuck Them In With Thanks

A simple but powerful way to instill a spirit of gratitude in your family is to share what you’re thankful for each night before bed. Regularly expressing gratitude or even answering a question like, “What was your favorite part of the day?” trains everyone to look for the good and appreciate life’s blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @barbaradanza