Thanksgiving Tree

Thanksgiving.  It's this week.  It's one of my favorite holidays.  Which for me this year means gearing up for a road trip to Iowa and packing clothes, potty chairs, diapers, and, most importantly, loads snacks and distractions for the car.  (Though exactly when and how this packing will get done with three kids around remains to be seen.)

But for the past week or so, we've taken a little time out at dinner each night to talk about things we are thankful for.  I can't take credit for the idea as I've seen it floating around the internet in different forms over the years, but now I have kids old enough to participate in what I hope will become a family tradition.  It's also about as simple and as cheap as far as projects go (BONUS): branches from the yard, sparkly cardstock I already had, cut into leaf shapes.  String I also already had, hole punched, looped through, and tied in a knot.

Each night at dinner we go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for.  (I mean, except for Nolan.  Though I can pretty much guess that if he could talk his answers would amount to "milk", "pretty much any and all food", and "the two middle fingers on my right hand that almost never leave my mouth".)  Our one rule: no repeats.  Brooklyn got stuck after "the color blue", "the color pink", and "daddy".  Only three days in, huh?  We've helped her out a bit since then.

Also keep your expectations LOW.  At least for the very little ones.  I'm pretty sure that someone wound up in time-out after we were one answer in the first night.  And while I'd love some shots of them hanging their answers up on the branches (possibly their favorite part, besides picking out which leaf to use each night), it's usually pretty dramatic with a lot of "no don't stand ON the bookshelf" and "give me your leaf right NOW"-type comments happening.  Maybe they'll be able to hang them by themselves with a little less stress in a few years.  Like when they're 16?

Shown above: Caden's answer from the very first night.  Can't say I blame him.

I meant to start this awhile ago so we had it up for the whole month of November, but that just didn't happen.  Oh well.  Do what you can when you can.  We started last Monday and will continue until we leave on Wednesday.  Or maybe I'll bring some leaves along for Thanksgiving Day, as well.  It's something you can do for a few days this week, or as a big group with whoever you celebrate Thanksgiving with, or even in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

And we've had some impressive answers.  My designer heart couldn't help but be glad when Brooklyn named colors  s the top things she was thankful for (blue the first night, pink the second), but was also surprised that while Caden's first night was bread, his answer the second night was church.

(Other answers include "cheese", "pizza", and "bunny crackers".  Guess the kids have a thing for food.)

Happy Thanksgiving!