The hurry of the holidays is already upon us. Seems like just yesterday we were enjoying a lazy summer barbeque and harvesting tomatoes from our garden. Today, I feel the crush of holiday stress while “Here Comes Santa Claus” belts out from every store in the mall. What happened to Thanksgiving, by the way? One of the most beautiful and simply wholesome holidays has been all but lost between Halloween and Christmas.
Maybe it’s because there’s no money to be made from Thanksgiving apart from the food. Maybe it’s because people would rather just get on with Christmas (which I love too). Either way, I think we are losing something by whizzing by Thanksgiving in our hurry to buy Christmas presents, hang the lights outside and get the tree decorated.
So here it is: I’m on a mission to revive Thanksgiving in my family, not just cruise past it on our way to Christmas, but to stop, enjoy it and absorb what it all means. Especially in my harried mom-life, reflecting on all the blessings is one of the ways to truly make Thanksgiving special.
In that spirit, I thought I would share a couple of ideas to try and get the most out of Thanksgiving. I don’t usually give tips like this – not related to cloth diapers – but I thought it would be fun. These are by no means meant to stress you out and give you another thing to think about, but to help make the most of the season. Enjoy!
- A Thanksgiving Tree: Last Thanksgiving, while 8-and-a-half months pregnant, I created a “Thanksgiving tree.” I just went outside and gathered a bunch of large branches that had fallen and grouped them together in a big glass vase in the dining room. I cut out little tags from a brown grocery bag (but cutting them out in the shape of leaves would be really cute too). I punched a hole in each tag, tied some raffia through each one and put out a bowl of them with pens. When my extended family arrived, I invited them to write what they were thankful for on the tags and hang them on the tree. At first they rolled their eyes, but throughout the day, the tree slowly filled up. And after dessert there was a beautiful Thanksgiving tree filled with all things that make our lives so blessed. I have friends that have made their tree by cutting it and multi-colored leaves from crafting felt. There are lots of other cute ideas and different twists on the tree concept if you just search online for “Thanksgiving tree.”
- A brisk walk: I’ve grown up with this one – my grandmother was a big advocate of getting outside on Thanksgiving for a vigorous walk, the brisker the weather, the better. We usually do it between dinner and dessert or even before dinner. It’s a great way to burn off a few calories, get your blood flowing and enjoy a very quiet world – not many other people are out on Thanksgiving Day. We have now woven it into our traditions both in honor of my Oma and as a way to reflect on our blessings. For me, there’s something about being in nature that makes it easy to be thankful.
- Pick up a tag: This one strays into Christmas a little, but Thanksgiving is the time of year to grab a tag off of that tree at the mall, your church or community center to “adopt” a needy child or family for the holidays. Seems appropriate at a time when we are counting our blessings to stretch those blessings to families in our own community who don’t have as much to be thankful for .
(A note: diapers can be a huge expense for needy families, so find out if there are any organizations in your area – perhaps through a local cloth diaper boutique – that are working with needy families to start them on cloth diapers. As long as the family has access to a laundry facility, a little education and a starter pack, it could save struggling families hundreds of dollars).
- Find the grateful in everyday tasks: Finally, something I am reminded of at Thanksgiving time is to try – it’s hard, but I try – to find something to be grateful for even in the midst of ordinary tasks. While washing bottles or stuffing diapers when my mind tends to wander anyway, I try to use this time to count my blessings and slow my racing mind, not fill it with to-do lists and annoyances. The monotony of these tasks make it easy to use the time for reflection, so especially now as things get crazy, those are going to be my designated moments to stop and soak in what means the most to me during the holidays (and year round too!).
I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving!
What are the ways you remember to count your blessings, especially around Thanksgiving? What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday.