Thanksgiving is upon us in the U.S. Even those who routinely feel and express gratitude have a sanctioned reason to pause and do so more profoundly than usual. Gratitude can transform one’s entire experience or outlook. It imbues relationships, observations and activities with awe and fullness and the realization that “this moment” — and our own unique collection of moments — is the best there is.
The Thanksgiving holiday makes space for us to allow gratitude into our (often busy) lives in new ways and to pass that feeling on to our children. I’m very grateful for many things, including my wonderful and creative blogger friends who have taken the time to contribute their own ideas for gratitude and celebration.
While I love the smells of turkey cooking — in addition to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on T.V. — I also enjoy getting out in nature on Thanksgiving Day. Frugal Mama shares four make-ahead traditional Thanksgiving recipes that allow you to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, with all the trimmings, as well as some time away from the kitchen.
You can bake your own crust or use one of the pre-made ones, some of which are getting better and better tasting. Epicurious taste-tested pre-made pie crusts. Among their favorites is one of mine, Whole Foods 365 Organic Pie Shells. Good Housekeeping also weighs in with their pre-made pie crust taste test.
From Rhythm of the Home and Vintage Chica comes a beautiful Thankfulness Journal project. Of course, this well-made felt-covered book would be a wonderful project to make, use and enjoy any time of year.
The same could be said of this equally inspiring and beautiful gratitude banner from Future Craft Collective. It’s fun and lovely in itself and wonderful in the way it allows family members to contemplate and formalize their gratitude.
Easy and fun thankfulness ornaments come from Unplug Your Kids. Do you remember making salt-dough ornaments and objects? I sure do. This old-school project never goes out of style and the gratitude aspect adds a nice touch.
Shoveling snow? Why not turn it into a fun and magical outdoor activity for you and your kids? That’s what Mel at Your Wild Child did. Her photos are delightful and inspiring, as always.
I just had the good fortune to learn about the Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley, CA, which explores the science behind happiness and the ways that we can nurture those brain pathways that promote it. According the the folks at Greater Good, happiness can be a learned and practiced trait.
Greater Good also offers a community gratitude journal that allows you to go in and add your own comments about the things that you’re grateful for.
Want more information about cultivating an attitude of gratitude? Arvind Devalia gives us some ideas about embracing what we already have. Thank you to Alison Kerr at Loving Nature’s Garden for her own post about gratitude and for letting me know about this blog.
My own gratitude list includes:
A family that laughs a lot
The smell of clean laundry
The air after it rains
Hats and gloves
Hopeful new immigrants
A warm house
Books and book stores
A smile from a stranger
..to name a few things
Photos: Farm Security Administration, Rick Audet, Bernadette Noll, Susan Sachs Lipman