Friday, November 9, 2012

stick it, kids!


This year I'm trying to keep the focus on THANKSGIVING all month, which means I have to go beyond a general refusal to shop/decorate/bake for Christmas in November.  It also means I have to resist the urge to ask my kids what they want for Christmas because that isn't exactly instilling an attitude of thanksgiving.  It means I have to keep the focus on gratitude because I want them to share my value.  (I could go on and on here about how an attitude of gratitude makes for happier, more content people.  It's true, but I'll save that lecture for another time.)

I placed a foam wreath on the kitchen counter and cut out a bunch of leafs from construction paper.  In the center of the wreath I set up my grandma's old pincushion (shaped like a tomato, total Old School Awesomeness) filled with straight pins.  I told Team Testosterone they could write anything they feel thankful for on a leaf and use a stick-pin to adhere it to the wreath.  Understanding my directions, they promptly began writing down things and sticking them to the wreath with abandon.

I told them they could do this ALL MONTH LONG, no restrictions.


I'm out of stick pins already.

The fascination MIGHT be more about the sticking with pins than it is about being truly thankful for the blessings in our life, but you know what?  I don't care.  At least they aren't writing lists of stuff they WANT, they're writing lists of stuff they HAVE and at some level I have to believe they're getting it, right?

Spill it, reader.  How do you keep the focus on Thanksgiving in November? 

17 comments:

  1. Great idea! Every little bit helps to build up their mindset for the December onslaught of greed!!! (it's like gremlins, my kids are sweet and giving 10 months out of the year...but as soon as the "Toys For Us" catalog hits the mailbox they turn into hyped up brats!)

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  2. Fun idea. I'm laughing over the leaf that says the TV :-)

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  3. I LOVE this idea. Wish I would have known about it when the kids were little.

    On Thanksgiving I always go around the table and have each person say one thing they're thankful for. This is a small version of your idea. :D

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  4. I think this is genius. Don't worry if their excitement is mostly about sticking the pins into the wreath. It's kind of like teaching toddlers to say, "thank you," "you're welcome," and "I'm sorry." It starts off as little more than copying the words, then becomes habit, then becomes something you understand. If they keep it up all month, they'll eventually have to really think about what they are thankful for, in order to stick another pin and leaf onto the wreath. They'll get it!

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  5. I love it! Being Dutch, Thanksgiving isn't really a Holiday I have celebrated much but I generally like putting an emphasis on what we have, rather than what we want.

    That being said, I must admit I have almost all the supplies I need for making Christmas cards, and I stocked up on books for our annual Christmas book countdown. Sorry.

    At least I am not playing Christmas music yet...

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  6. Really love your thankfulness wreath!

    In November, I focus on things I'm thankful about by trying to blog every day. Writing a daily post ups my awareness of the world (new content!) and reminds me of the many reasons I love to live where I do.

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  7. I like the leaf that says "my memory".

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  8. I really like this idea, and will probably be copying it. For Emma, Halloween, her birthday, late gifts from friends we see at Thanksgiving, and then Christmas --it's like a whole 1/4 of the year is about her getting stuff! And I like that it gives you time to think --doing the round-table at dinner can be challenging, since you have to come up with something on the fly.

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  9. Thanksgiving in my family is just that - family. My sister-in-law and I have birthdays near Thanksgiving, so the whole family has pumpkin pie and birthday cake together.
    Instead of Black Friday, we go to the little shops in downtown Appleburg the day after Thanksgiving. My 2yo niece skips alongside us and we have a great time.

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  10. I have the same pincushion, only it was my mom's.
    I like your wreath idea, what a lovely way to remember to be thankful.

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  11. You have to get a copy of the new Junie B. Jones book (about Thanksgiving) just so you can read the list that her first grade class comes up with of things they're thankful for. I had to change my Depends.

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  12. What a great idea focusing on Thanksgiving all during the month of November and not just for one day, also must be hard to not think about Christmas when you go out to the shops and everywhere is Christmas stuff

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  13. I attribute my happiness in life to thinking at least once a day I'm very lucky to have family, friends and financial werewithal.

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  14. I love this idea. Any idea that takes us out of ourselves and into the wider world makes us better people and happier too. Thinking big gives us large emotions.

    For the last half dozen years I have asked kids what they GAVE for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah and then enjoy watching their minds skid to a halt while they process the question. I want to know what they made for Grandma and baby brother and Daddy and Mom and mommy Heather and Teacher. And what were the reactions of the recipients ?~! Asking specific questions gets me better responses than open-ended ones: How did Sissy like the scarf you crocheted her in her favorite colors? Did you get to play with the game you invented for your brothers? And how did they like it? Once again taking kids out of themselves and into the heads and hearts of others.

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  15. I love your wreathe. It's a great idea!

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  16. Every night at dinner our family takes turns saying what we are thankful for that day, so being thankful isn't just a one month out of the year thing for us, it's a daily thing.

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  17. We did a Thanks and Giving tree a few years ago where we had to say something that we were thankful for each day and something we gave each day. I then wrote them on leaves and we glued them to a little tree. It was really cool. But it was way too much work to cut out all of the little leaves so I've never done it again since then.

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Spill it, reader.