The day after Halloween makes me sad.  It’s the day stores shift into full Christmas mode.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and have already started my Christmas shopping, but there is such a push for the “season of giving and receiving” that we tend to forget the “season of thanks”.  A few years ago, I decided, we as a family, needed to spend more time thinking about the many blessing we have.  So we started the tradition of our Thankful Tree.

On November 1st, we spend the day drawing a tree on a large piece of paper. While we color it in, we discuss the importance of our tree and why we should be thankful.  Then we work together to cut out a huge pile of leaves.  Everyday for the month of November we choose a leaf, write something we are thankful for, and stick the leaf on the tree.

It is awesome to see the tree fill up during the month.  At first the kids have no trouble thinking of things to be thankful for.  Usually we get the names of friends and family members, but as the month progresses, it is more challenging to think of something to be thankful for. One year Josiah claimed he was thankful for George Washington and another day it was Fort McHenry. Being only three years old, and having just listened to Hannah’s History Lesson, Josiah believed they were important to include on our tree.

My favorite part of the tree is the challenge coming up with blessings beyond the obvious choices.  The kids really have to put thought into their answers and it gives me a glimpse into their hearts.
Lydia does not have the verbal capability to convey her answers, yet she too gets leaves for the tree.  It is awesome to see Josiah and Hannah volunteer to create leaves for Lydia.  They take a moment to see the world from her perspective and it melts my heart every time.

During this year there have been so many negative voices and there are many things that we have lost.  I believe, now more than ever, we need to take the time to focus on our blessings. Don’t be in a hurry to breeze through November, Christmas will be here soon enough.