Thanksgiving Tree

I know most people are turning their thoughts toward Christmas about this time–if they haven’t for quite some time, but sometimes I think things just move too fast and I like to savor Thanksgiving. I don’t shop or decorate until the first weekend in December as a rule. So if you all don’t mind, I’m still in a Thanksgiving frame of mind.

All month long, I’ve seen various writers list one thing on Facebook every day that they’re thankful for. I think this is a great idea. I thought about doing it, but just didn’t have time. So I tried to do something similar here.

It is so easy to take people and things for granted. We start complaining about the very things that a lot of others would love to have. I still remember—after not eating lima beans or spaghetti squash—my mom telling me that children were starving in Africa. I very flippantly thought (would never say) that she should just send them the lima beans.

So this month when I was tempted to complain about the dishes. I stopped to realize that my family has running water and enough food to fill our bellies every day.

When I started grumbling at the piles of laundry, I realized how blessed I was that my children had so many clothes they could go a week without washing them.

When I began to panic because baby-who-does-not-sleep, just wouldn’t take even a short nap and the manuscripts won’t write or edit themselves, I stopped to realize how blessed I am to have her and how short a time she’s going to be so tiny.

On the same note, complaining about a four-book contract? Yeah…that’s a privilege.

I frequently complain that I don’t have much time. But do you know why? Because I have wonderful children, a loving husband and a house to care for. Another privilege.

After doing this for about a week, I decided to share it with my husbands and children in the form of a Thanksgiving tree.

 
Every day, the kids were encouraged, but not forced, to think of something they are thankful for. We got responses such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but also my neighbor who lets us go swimming when it’s hot. Lots of thanks for family and more specific for baby sisters or moms/dads. We loved this idea so much, we decided to make it a tradition.

They’re still kids and are going to take things for granted, but I’m going to try not to and maybe if I don’t complain about doing laundry, they’ll learn by example, or maybe not but it’s worth a try.

We offered the leaves to family and friends who came over on Thanksgiving.  I think it will be fun to read them next year when we put the tree back up.

So, if you leave something you’re thankful for in the comments, and you don’t mind, I’ll be sure to write it on my Thanksgiving tree—which will be up until Nov 30th.

And on that note, did you start any new traditions this year? Got a favorite old tradition?