Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grateful Is as Grateful Does

From the bean of Green Bean.

Halloween is over.  Lost in a mass of non-fair trade candy wrappers and rotting pumpkins.  November - and Thanksgiving - occupies that space between the party of Halloween and the party of Christmas.  It lounges there, full of obligation and severity.  But really, who has time for Thanksgiving. The meal is fine and another pumpkin pie is always welcome!  The days off of work and school are met with joy.  They give us time to shop early for the "real holidays".  And seeing family?  It's all good but, seriously, we'll see plenty of those folks between now and the end of the year.

So, what does Thanksgiving and the bleak month of November offer besides an onramp to the winter holidays?

Gratitude.

The thankfulness.  The importance of pausing.  Of relishing.  Of savoring.  Our family.  Our homes.  Our jobs.  Our food.  Our ability to cloth ourselves and to give and receive something this holiday season.

Gratitude is something often overlooked.  Shoved aside in our rush to the Christmas tree.  But I believe November was put here for a reason.  It offers us the opportunity to realize how fortunate we are.


Every year, in our house, we do a gratitude tree of some sort.  The kids and I cut out leaves from colored construction paper.  As the days tick by, we write down things we are grateful for.  The leaves can be taped on a drawn tree.  Tied to a garland.  Looped over a branch brought into the house.  Stowed in a box.  On Thanksgiving Day, we read the many people and things we've remembered and for which we are grateful and truly embrace the meaning of the day.

Other Ideas for Developing Gratitude

- Write what you are grateful for during the month of November on small strips of paper.  In December, turn those strips into a paper chain and let gratitude wrap your Christmas tree or decorate your mantel.

- Place a kernel of corn on each Thanksgiving plate.  Everyone states what they are grateful for before eating Thanksgiving Dinner.


** This is a Meaningful Memory Post.  If you would like to share your greener holiday traditions in a guest post, please email us at greenphoneboothATgmailDOTcom.

2 comments:

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

What a wonderful and lovely idea :) You start with a bare winter tree and almost go back in time in the season with every autumn leaf that's taped up. Love it!

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

Thanksgiving is quite possibly my favorite holiday, for the exact reasons you list here -- little build-up or hoopla or commercialism -- just food, family, and gratitude. Also such a purely American holiday that we can all join in without worries about stepping on anyone's toes as far as belief is concerned. Terrific ideas for getting the whole family involved and thinking all November long.

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