Tomorrow is the last day of November, and so we will once again wrap up this year’s Gratitude Tree, my annual attempt to keep the kids’ heads straight during the contagious and overwhelming excitement of the holidays. October ends with a bang with Jax’s birthday and Halloween one after another, then the Christmas catalogs start rolling in and the kids get a glazed look in their eyes with the influx of holiday commercials and Christmas-themed television shows, not to mention the lingering sugar from their Halloween candy. That’s why the first week of November we donated our Halloween candy to the troops overseas, and I think that is a tradition I will gratefully continue! I thank my lucky stars that we live in a commercialized black hole, so the Christmas hype is easier to avoid for us than most, but I still like doing something every now and again to remind Jax, Em, and Little H that we are more blessed than we could have ever imagined. Thus our Gratitude Tree was born.
I cut a tree silhouette out of butcher paper and since I never found those foam leaves this year as I had before, used the kids’ hand prints to form our daily “leaves.” Then every day they rotated writing what they were thankful for, trying not to repeat too often, although Little H was always thankful for her “new bookshelf” and her bed!
Em was definitely the most thoughtful; Jax often did one-word answers, such as “books” or “food.” Em was my girl for the most varied and specific answers, which I loved as much as her investigative spelling.
I put Little H’s autumn button branch above our tree with the words “Give Thanks” printed on it, and our kitchen has been more cheerful and gratifying all November because of it.