Friday, November 1, 2013

4 Traditions 4 Thanksgiving

4 Traditions...
Issue: Thanksgiving 

In This Issue
The Thankful Tree
Family Trivia
Thanksgiving Gazette
Giving Thanks
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Michelle Fozounmayeh
A joy filled wife and mom that enjoys writing, praying, speaking at women events and being an Area Coordinator with the ministry Moms In Prayer International.

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Throughout the years I have come to have a deep respect for the role family rituals and traditions have on the healthy state of our family.

For many years I worked as a Family Consultant with Once Upon A Family and picked up a few ideas.  Although traditions in our home have had seasons of success and seasons of rest or have had to be modified and/or changed to fit our family's needs, they still exist!  

Each issue of 4 Traditions features ideas I have gathered and/or created that you can use or modify to fit your family's needs.

The Thankful Tree...

This is a great way to put your Thanksgiving guests in a thankful mood.  Make or purchase paper leaves in autumn-colors as you have guests.  Make or purchase a table-top Thanksgiving Tree, or have a basket or bowl handy.  Ask each person to write down what they are thankful for on a leaf.  Tie little ribbons through a hole in the top of each leaf, so they can be hung on your "Thankful Tree." If you have one of those little wrought iron trees that you can set on your Thanksgiving table, this will make a beautiful centerpiece.   If you do not have a tree the leaves can be placed in a basket or bowl on the dinner table. Take turns reading them as you enjoy dessert, then save them to add to the collection from years past.  You can preserve this history by adding them to a Thanksgiving album as an after dinner activity.  Everyone, especially children, will enjoy looking back over the years and reading what they were thankful for.

Family Trivia...

This tradition requires a little advance preparation, but the results make the effort more than worthwhile.  A few weeks before Turkey Day, prepare and email a questionnaire to everyone invited.  Plan your questions so that the answers will reveal funny tidbits of your family history that not everyone has heard before.  Whoever knew that grandpa was a tightrope walker in the Canadian Circus, or that mom went bungee jumping on spring break while she was in college?  Ask all of your guests to bring these answered questions and play a fun game of Family Trivia after dinner. 

Thanksgiving Gazette...

If you are not hosting the big dinner, then here's your chance to contribute to the holiday. Make a yearly gazette!  It can be done the old fashion way with paper and markers, done using an online template or it can be a video gazette.  This tradition involves turning your family into a news crew, and is especially fun with a big crowd.  Assign everyone in the family a task to be responsible for throughout the day.  The older children can act as reporters and photographers, while the adults can be the interviewees.  Every year choose one of the eldest family members and make their life history the headline news.  The younger children can even help, by contributing to the "art" section of the gazette.  Don't forget inside family jokes, and a quote for the day.  Finish it up by the end of the day, print and pass out a copy to everyone.  Don't spent too much time making it perfect, it's the imperfections that can become the best touches.  Be sure to send extra copies to family members who couldn't attend your Thanksgiving Dinner.

Giving Thanks 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to express appreciation to someone that has done something special for you, or touched you in some way.  At each person's place setting leave a blank card and pen, and let them know that before dessert is served a letter of thanks must be written.  It is a nice time to look back and reflect on the year and those important people in our lives.  Young children can dictate their thank-you letter to mom or dad, and even include some "art from the heart."  Once the letters have been written, provide each person with a stamped envelope, so it is easy to finish this touching task. 
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