Our Giving Tree

November 22, 2011
by Holly Becker

img_2609One of my biggest hopes for my children is that they grow into adults who put gratitude into practice. I whole-heartedly want them to appreciate the people in their lives and the things and opportunities that they have.

To kick start the holiday season with a thankful heart, we made a Thanksgiving tree to hang on the wall by our kitchen table. Trust me. If someone as unskilled as I am in all things crafty can do it, anyone can. I drew the tree on brown packing paper and made leaves using cut out leaf rubbings. Just saying that makes me feel like Martha Stewart (a very remedial Martha Stewart though)!

My kids have enjoyed helping me find leaves in our yard to make the rubbings, and we’ve marveled at the beauty of God’s creation….the changing leaves and fall colors. They also are the first to remind me if I forget about making our leaves. I guess they’re thankful for another excuse to delay bedtime. In all seriousness, I really do think they enjoy taking part in creating our tree and having the chance to say something important and be heard.

Each night every member of our family shares and writes down on a leaf what he or she is thankful for that day, and we tape our leaves to the tree. The display is an interesting peek into each person’s mind and heart. Some of our blessing have included the following (and in no particular order of importance): teachers, antibiotics, hot air balloons, Jesus, pet frogs, grandparents, green grass, hot chocolate, siblings, days off from school, LEGOS, friends and electricity.

Our tree is a physical reminder of all the blessing we encounter each day. I’m finding that when I stop and consciously look for blessings, the more of them I see. It’s so easy to lose sight of the blessings that God gives us because we’re too busy to slow down. We take forgranted the littles things that bring simple joy to living and often fail to appreciate those we love the most.

I hope that my children will one day understand that Thanksgiving is not just a one-day holiday on the calendar every November. Thanksgiving is a year-long celebration of gratitude…. if we choose to take the time to do it. I hope I can set that example as a mom.

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