Some Thanksgiving Thoughts & Favorites

by sarahmfry, November 26, 2011
I've been reading a lot about how Thanksgiving gets lost in the early-Christmas-shuffle.  I think it's actually neat how the two holidays complement each other.  And we have found some small things that help our family to really honor and celebrate Thanksgiving. Familylife has some really wonderful resources.  They have a Thanksgiving bundle on sale right now.  Another fun thing we do (starting this year) is set up a "harvest tree," which is a second (craigslist) Christmas tree full of autumn harvest bounty. 

We have done different Thanksgiving dinner traditions for sharing our gratefulness.  But usually, we simply go around the table and share something for which we are grateful.  Each year in our family, it seems this time is made more poignant by the perspective gained by the losses and difficulties of the year.  This year my sister-in-law's (Garen's wife Crystal)  mother went to heaven on November 9.   Her father and family joined us for Thanksgiving.  There is something powerful about purposefully being thankful while looking full-faced at the painfulness of life.  One person said, "I'm thankful for God's answers to prayer that matter what they are."  We reflected on the various painful changes that the past year has brought, but with such deep perspective that all 21 of us at the table want most of all to meet again in Heaven.
You can't wrap those memories up and put them under any tree.  Priceless.
Family Journal
This is one of our favorite traditions.  About 5 years ago we bought a big red blank journal.  We pass the book around at Thanksgiving (and other special gatherings) and let everyone sign it.  It is a treasure to look back and see a record of who was at our celebrations and their thoughts on family, gratefulness, and blessings.  Yesterday the kids and I read through the entrys from this year so far and the kids added their entrys.  I was in tears.  It is a priceless keepsake.  It even has an entry - shaky and beautiful - written by my Grandma Wolf before she went to heaven.
Thanksgiving Day Cards from Familylife

I LOVE this book!  It is a little book full of big stories about people who were grateful in spite of very bad circumstances.  We read the stories aloud, then fill in the blanks provided with difficult or bad circumstances for which we are thankful.  It has been good for us to talk together about how we can be grateful for everything - even the hard things This book offers convicting and inspiring perspective.  (When we purchased this it was a softcover version. Now they offer a nice hardcover edition for $9.99!)

Let's Talk Turkey (Name cards & conversation starters from familylife)

We are crazy about audiobooks

Thanksgiving: A time to Remember - Book and Audiobook
I was a little confused before I ordered these a few years ago about what was what here, because the book comes with a CD and there's also a separate audiobook.  So here's the summary:  The book is full of Thanksgiving history, facts, stories and ideas. There is a CD of Thanksgiving music included in the back of the book.  The separate Audiobook has a dramatized version of the Thanksgiving story.  They are both awesome!  My kids even ask to listen to the audiobook throughout the year.  ("Mom, where is the CD with the pumpkin pie on it?")

Another favorite book:  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  You have probably heard me mention this heart-and-mind-shaping book.  In short, living a life focused by thankfulness helps us to renew our mind, fight the enemy, worship in wonder.  It is a transformational way of living. Not easy, but life-changing.  This is one of those books that has been like a foundational building block for me. And God keeps confirming and adding to the message in my heart and mind over and over in some pretty exciting ways.


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