If you’re anything like me, your Thanksgiving plans have completely fallen off the wagon. We typially head to my husband’s grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving and pack her sweet home full of family from all over several states. It’s always a great time, with great food and great company on her picture perfect farm.
This year? We just can’t justify the risk. Mya’s risk of infection is still there teamed up with such a high risk of COVID for our dear Grandma Kemper. I don’t like spending it away from her, but boy would it be silly to put her at such a risk. The boys are in school, Jerod’s back at work, we are still out and about around Kansas City. It’s just not worth it.
So, it’s a year of different and this Thanksgiving is par for the course. Instead of heading to be with a big part of our family, we are spending it home with just us. The weather is to be beautiful so I’ve found some local hiking trails and we’re going to spend the day out appreciating what we have: spending it together, healthy, happy, and enjoying what God’s provided us.
For dinner this year, we’re even skipping the traditional. I already did a full Thanksgiving dinner a few weekends ago when we still thought we were going to Grandma Kemper’s, and it’s a lot of work for the boys to not really enjoy most of it. So instead, it’s “brinner” for Thanksgiving dinner! A meal that everyone enjoys. No need to force feed our children and fight our way through dinner. We’re going to savor our time together, make it special, and make it just what makes us happy.
For a holiday that everyone is seemingly passing over this year, I wanted to make sure we are still acknowledging it and the meaning and importance of Thanksgiving in the midst of all of our Christmas decorations around our house (I’m not going to deny it…we’re full fledged Christmas here!). Being thankful is an important trait I want my children to possess. We’re so fortunate and I need my children to know and acknowledge that.
So each year I do a simple activity with one of our leftover fall pumpkins that seems to hit the mark each time I do it. I’m always incredibly humbled and touched each time my children really grasp the concept and make something beautiful.
Here’s how it works:
- Nab a leftover pumpkin from your front porch (one that hasn’t been cut up, nibbled on by squirrels, and rotted 😉) or one from your local grocery store. Ours still has a few at the front of the store for those Thanksgiving tablescapes, as well as our local fruit stand down the road. They are literally giving them away for free right now! “Here, you throw it away.”
- Talk with your children about what it means to be thankful. Have a conversation about the things that make them happy and how we should show gratitude and acknowledge those things. Talk about things like your family, friends, your faith, health, home, things within your house, things outdoors you enjoy, etc. There are wonderful books and videos online that can go along with this idea. Our favorite is reading the picture book Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes. It has such beautiful pictures and touches on a great point I like to explain to my kids: we are thankful for the people in our lives and what God has provided us, not just thankful for the inanimate objects in our lives.
- With a dark permanent marker (washable ones will smear!), write “I’m Thankful for…” around the top of the pumpkin, circling the stem.
- Then, let the kids go. Give ideas or leading questions if they get stumped, but the key here is ample think time. Let them sit back and ponder ideas and don’t expect them to be rapid firing items. Sometimes the most sincere ideas come after a long pause. Give your kids the time. And if you need to, let them take a break and add ideas during meal times or during quiet moments together.
- Keep your pumpkin on your table, in your living room, in a special place that you can always see it. This should be a time to be thankful for what we have in life, and in a time when so much seems to be taken away from us, let’s appreciate just what we have.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m thankful for each and every one of you that come to read, to support, and to be a part of my life. You’re special to me in a way that I can never truly express. God has blessed me with so much and you are such a large part of that. Be safe, stay healthy, and have a beautiful Thanksgiving! ❤