Have you noticed how the world continues to encroach upon Thanksgiving? Every year, the “holy” part of this holiday is being chiseled away and replaced by shopping, football and our anticipation for Christmas. Make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a great college or professional football game with our families or getting an early start on Christmas shopping. However, unless we become intentional about shoring up this national holiday, namely giving thanks, the meaning of Thanksgiving will soon be lost.

I’ve collected an assortment of ideas that are designed to keep the THANKS in Thanksgiving. These can be done in-person, through zoom or in a prerecorded message. The little ones in your family may need help from a parent, grandparent or older sibling.

Blessings Wreath:
Ask each member of your family to…
– Trace their hands on at least three pieces of brightly colored construction paper.
– Cut out these tracings.
– Discuss some of the blessings for which they are thankful.
– Write one blessing per hand.
– Glue the hands to a piece of poster board in the shape of a wreath.

Blessings Jar:
Name the things for which everyone in your family is thankful. Don’t forget the things we take for granted such as electricity, running water, the ability to see, God’s creation, and so on.

Record each item mentioned on a piece of colored paper (sticky notes work great). Store these notes in a glass jar. This becomes your family’s blessing jar, which you can use for years to come.

Thanksgiving Graffiti Board:
Ask your grandchildren to write down or draw a picture of the things for which they are thankful on a piece of poster board. Encourage them to cover the board with drawings and words.

Have them explain the board to you during your conference call. You may want to make a graffiti board as well, and explain it to them.

Pumpkin Centerpiece:
Place a pumpkin in the center of a table. Place two or three black markers beside the pumpkin.

Ask your family to write the things for which they are thankful on the pumpkin. Enjoy this pumpkin until you bring out the Christmas decorations.

Thanksgiving Show-n-Tell:
Invite every family member to share something during a Thanksgiving show-n-tell.

Ask each member to show the item they chose and explain why they are thankful for it.

Family Thank You Note:
Work together as a family to draft a thank-you note to the Lord. This note can be used as your family’s Thanksgiving prayer for 2020.

Thanksgiving Memory Game:
Gather in a circle.
– The youngest child begins the game by saying, “I am thankful for ______________.”
– The next person in the circle says, “I am thankful for _________” and then repeats what the youngest child said.
– The next person in the circle says, “I am thankful for __________”, and then repeats what the other family members have mentioned.
– Continue around the circle until everyone has a chance to share.

Final Thoughts:
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us hold fast to the words that Paul wrote to Ephesians. Let us give “thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

I would love to hear from you. Did you use one of these suggestions? If so, which one? How did it help you keep the THANKS in Thanksgiving?

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