Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1910 01:14:37 -0700

Author: Doug Johnson

Subject: FWD: Count Your Blessings



One of the most common traditions described by many people is finding a
way to talk about what family members are thankful for. Here are some
suggestions for doing that:

- Before beginning the Thanksgiving dinner, each person takes a turn to
share one or two things they are grateful for this year. Start with the
youngest; each succeeding person must think of something that hasn't been
said yet! Variation: have each person repeat the things said by all the
previous people in order, then add one of their own.

- To make the "sharing" of blessings more interesting, pass around a bowl
of M&Ms or other small candies, or grapes, nuts, etc. Each person must
state something they're thankful for before they can take a candy.
Continue going around the table until the bowl is empty. Variation: if
you say something someone else already said, you have to give your piece
of candy to them.

- To illustrate how many blessings you really have, give each person
several marbles or other small objects. Then pass around a cup - each
person names a blessing and adds a marble to the cup. Soon the cup will
be "running over" with blessings.

- Write the alphabet on a poster. Starting with "A" list some things you
are thankful for that start with that letter. Let the whole family
participate. Variation: have each person write down a thing starting with
that letter; if you think of something no one else in the room has, you
get a point - most points gets a treat!

- Keep a "Thanksgiving Journal." Several families have a special journal
used only at Thanksgiving (can be as simple as a decorated looseleaf
binder, or a special bound journal book). They invite each family member
to write something in the journal that they are thankful for that year, or
a short summary of their blessings. Guests can also register their
thoughts. If desired add photos from the day's events. As the years go
by, the journal becomes a treasured family reminder of blessings.

- Keep a basket (or a cornucopia, or box decorated as a turkey, etc.) in a
prominent place in the home. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, each
family member writes on slips of paper things they are thankful for. On
Thanksgiving day, read through the slips. Add some interest by guessing
who wrote each item!

- Hang a piece of poster paper on the wall. Have each person draw a
turkey ("primary-style") by tracing their hand and decorating; on the
thumb and fingers, write five things you're thankful for.

- Write the things you're thankful for on colored paper "feathers" that
can be used to decorate a turkey (made from a box or milk carton), which
can then be used as the centerpiece of the dinner table.

- Make a "tree" out of a grocery bag or poster paper, with the trunk and
branches. During the days leading up to Thanksgiving, have family members
add "leaves" of colored paper to the tree, each listing something they're
thankful for. Variation: have the "tree" show the "family tree" of names
to help remind children of their ancestry.

- Have each family member record a list of the things he or she is
thankful for; then seal the lists in an envelope or "time capsule" to be
read at next year's dinner. Each year, review as a family the lists from
the previous year, then create a new list for next year.

- Have a family member or members prepared to review the events of the
first Thanksgiving celebrations (pilgrims, Indians, etc.) and compare the
blessings of your life with the challenges of the past.

- Have each person come prepared with a poem, scripture, thought, story,
etc. to share before dinner that helps bring a spirit of thankfulness.

- In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, encourage family prayers to
focus on being prayers of thankfulness; don't ask for additional favors,
just express gratitude for the blessings you have received.