Thankful Tree and Turkeys

It's Thanksgiving Time again!  Hooray!

Every year, we do Thankful Turkeys which I love and of course we do our Thankful Leaves but I really wanted to do something more than just words.  Soooo.. this year we added Thankful Fruit.  Yes Fruit.  The fruit represent the actual acts that we do to show our gratitude and love.  So every night at dinner, I ask them.  It's been really hard some days to think of something but it's been really good because it makes everyone think. (This year-2013, we are doing daily Thank You cards to help everyone get more fruit up there).

My oldest two do pretty well (8 and 6).  My 4 year old sometimes gets it and sometimes not.  Any younger than that, of course, only grasp being thankful for things and I'm okay with that. As you can see, with turkeys, leaves, and fruit we have a very festive fireplace which does a great job of reminding us to be grateful and what season this really is.  I told everyone the goal is to be thankful enough and show it enough so that our leaves and fruit hide our turkeys so they won't be eaten on Thanksgiving (Did you know turkeys actually sleep in trees?). 

Make Your Own Thankful Turkey

Start with a round piece of brown paper.  Add eyes, a head, and a beak.  Every year we do it different ways (sometimes we cut stuff out, sometimes use googly eyes) but I always try to keep it simple enough so it's fun but quick.

Each day, one person gets spotlighted.  Ask everyone, "What do you LOVE about ______?" I emphasize the word love because I want them to really think about something great and special.  If they give me a general answer like "They play with me," I get them to be more specific if they are older.  Write everyone's name on the leaf they said so that that person will remember who said what.  And of course, no repeats.  We are doing it for 2 weeks this year so everyone with say 2 things about each other.  Sometimes I'll add on another day where everyone gets to go (like on Thanksgiving).  These turkeys have 1 week on them.  I love seeing them as they grow.  I cut lots of feathers out and leave them by the dinner table so it's easy to remember and I have a captive audience.  After the feathers, I do the fruit (my younger kids made the fruit so they are very interesting shapes).  Then everyone has something to tape up.  At the end of the night, they step back and look at how slowly but surely the fireplace is changing into something really beautiful and cool.  (This year-2013, I decided to do one feather for each person everyday.  This way if we forget a day, it's not like we forgot a whole person!  It's a little more difficult keeping track of who did who but that's why I write the names on the feathers of who said what.  Its nice to have everyone know something good about themselves everyday.  And I can do as many days as I want which is nice.)

When Thanksgiving is over, most like to take their turkeys to their room and either hang them up or record in their journals what everyone wrote about them.  It's a nice little keepsake.  This year, I'm going to take the fruit and leaves and make a new garland with them.  We'll see how it goes. 

Your Turn- What kind of Thanksgiving tree do you have?