5 Meaningful Things to Do In Preparation for Thanksgiving

Photo courtesy of Simply Vintage Girl

 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Colossians 2:6-7

“Thankfulness puts us in God’s living room. It paves the way to His presence.” – Nancy Leigh Demoss

Do you need a little inspiration for celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Here are a few fun ideas I have stumbled upon (thanks in part to Pinterest) that we are including in our simple celebrations this year. Why five? It’s doable. Simple. And yet rich with meaning.

1. Read the history of Thanksgiving. A great resource is Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey. It retells the story in two different formats to enable you to adapt easily to a younger or mixed audience.

2. Make a Thanksgiving Tree (pictured above). Use a lovely arrangement of branches with little tags to record daily your blessings through this month of November. To keep it easy, I found little pre-made blank craft tags (under $2 for 25 tags) at Fred Meyer’s for our tree (here’s a picture of what we are using). Not as colorful as the one pictured above but doable for us and beautiful in its own way. Or try this even simpler version of cultivating thankfulness and giving by making the Thanks & Giving Trees.

3. Include others in your celebration. Is there any individuals (i.e. international students) or families that don’t have relatives in the area? Include others as a way of reaching out in your community. If you look around, there are many lonely people during the season.

4. Let your kids tell the story. Walk through the story of the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving with this fun hands on telling of the Thanksgiving story in a series of crafts. Make it together and then allow your kids to present it during your thanksgiving celebrations.

5. Read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It’s the perfect time of year to buy your copy of this book and be blown away by the beauty and power of this woman’s writing. She is truly a gift. Start recording your gifts one by one as you begin to see the precious daily gifts that surround us in the everyday mundane moments of life. This book is a treasure and the journey to record one thousand gifts is life changing. We shared many quotes from this book around the Thanksgiving table last year and it was very inspiring.

As Ann Voskamp so elegantly says: “The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be — unbelievably- possible! The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.”

A few other fun projects for families:

Thanksgiving Craft Ideas- a pdf full of fun purposeful Thanksgiving crafts offered from Vision Forum. Includes a little menu craft for your thanksgiving celebration in which to write the 5 Kernels of Corn Poem.
Thanksgiving Corn Craft

Free Thanksgiving Coloring Pages

Printable Native American Headdress
Thanksgiving Paper Chain

“The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live…He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.” – Albert Schweitzer

The floor is open to hear your thoughts and creative ideas for Thanksgiving!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

15 Responses to 5 Meaningful Things to Do In Preparation for Thanksgiving

  1. Mozell Desjarlais January 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    there are so many craft ideas out there but i like those craft ideas which are cute. *

    Newest post coming from our new web-site
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  2. Amy November 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    is there a way to get connected with the site (#4) that gives ideas of how to tell the thanksgiving story with crafts? I’m really excited about that one!

  3. Amy November 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Is there a way to get connected with the link that let kids tell the thanksgiving story with crafts? I really excited to try it!

  4. Janette November 12, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    FYI #4 the let your child tell the story hands on link does not work. It says it is only for invited guests when I click on it.

  5. Becki October 10, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    I’m curious about the dinner rolls with “thankful for” messages baked inside. What kind of rolls do you use, and what kind of paper/pen do you use for messages?

  6. Barbara Rainey November 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    I’m so honored that you would recommend my book! Thank you! The Pilgrim story, and their grateful dependence on God, has been inspiring my family for many many years. I pray it will become a favorite tradition for many of your readers’ Thanksgiving celebrations! Our children need godly heroes.

  7. Crystal November 7, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    We just started our “Thankful Tree”. Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  8. Lanai November 6, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Love the ideas!
    One of our own that my husband and I are putting into play this year is an idea we found on pinterest.
    We’re having our first thanksgiving as our own family, being that we just had a little one this year. We both are blessed to have family that we are able (and will) celebrate the holidays with but we wanted to give back this year. We love the idea of having others in your home who don’t have a family to celebrate with because the holidays are so difficult for them. So we’re having a couple of families over for a thanksgiving dinner. At that dinner I will have dinner rolls..
    The idea is to have everyone tell me what they are thankful for prior to thanksgiving day. I will type it up & put it the dinner rolls before I bake them. when we sit down for dinner everyone will take a roll and open up & find someone’s note. We will go around the table and read them and guess who they belong to.
    This will be a fun tradition for the years to come with kids and adults! I can’t wait!!

  9. Bethany November 5, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Thank you for the ideas! I think it is really important to see Thanksgiving as more than a day to overeat. Celebrating Thanksgiving as a time to give thanks for our blessings really sets the stage for a non-materialistic, non-commercialized holiday season.

  10. Lacey Wilcox November 5, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    I love these ideas! And the picture of the ship is absolutely precious! I love it!

  11. Chocolate on my Cranium November 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    My mother-in-law sent us a bunch of Thanksgiving printables (word searches, coloring pages, stories, etc) for our homeschool. It will be so nice to add those to our studies. Thanks for the Story of Thanksgiving in crafts link. My children will LOVE that!

    Also a nice surprise to see our traditional Thanks & Giving Trees on the list. We have so many children (9) that now we have two HUGE life size trees on our living room wall instead of individual trees for each child. But it is a tradition we still do, 13 years and counting!

  12. Ashley Willcox November 4, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Thank you for all these wonderful, practical suggestions! I think we will definitely make a Thankful Tree!

  13. Emily November 4, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Ann Voskamp’s book is on sale this week at Lifeway Stores (at least it is in my area) for only $5. Half off and a great read to boot!

  14. Victoria November 4, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Such a great post. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, it is such a blessing to have time to think about all that God has blessed us with over the year. Another idea is something that I did with my students at school last year. We made a Thanksgiving placemat out of a cut and color template of a cornucopia. I gave each student a large sheet of contstuction paper with a cornucopia drawn on it. Then I gave them several sheets of smaller paper with different harvest vegetables on it. On each vegetable they wrote something that they were thankful for, then they colored, cut out and glued on their cornucopia. I laminated their placemats so they could take them home and share with their families.

  15. Karla November 4, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    One of the things I discovered on Pinterest is the Thanksgiving Story Bracelet. I’ll be doing these with my kids this year (http://pinterest.com/pin/355616840/); if we have enough beads we’ll make extras for the rest of the family.

    I also pinned the Thankful Tree, but not sure if we’ll get around to it. On a smaller level – more geared towards kids – I pinned a thankful pumpkin craft using paper plates (http://pinterest.com/pin/428758930/).