Monday, November 22, 2010

Teaching Thankfulness: Consider the First Thanksgiving

What a wonderful celebration we will enjoy this week!  An American holiday, Thanksgiving is a time for remembering the "First Thanksgiving" celebrated long ago as well as a time for focusing on all God's blessings. 

On the last Thursday in November, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, just to name a few, will cover dinner tables all over the United States as we sit down with family and friends to consider all the blessings we have received during the year.  What does this celebration mean to you?  Do the children in your family know the history of the "First Thanksgiving?  Do we spend time being thankful along with enjoying a perfectly roasted bird? 

This Thanksgiving week I would love to share ideas on how to encourage "grateful hearts" in your home with ideas that may become new family traditions.  The idea is not to do everything but to pick something that works for your family.  Consider the ages of your children, the distance you have to travel, the amount of people you are hosting before adding something new to your routine, but I would love for us all to consider new ideas for encouraging gratefulness in ourselves and our children.  Maybe one of my ideas will spark a new idea or maybe you would like to share your own ideas here on the blog.  I would love for you to share with us some of your own family traditions!

I will give a few fun ideas every day, so check back often!

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln officially made Thanksgiving a national holiday as a time to give thanks to God for all the blessings He had given and to remember the "First Thanksgiving" celebrated by the Pilgrims, who voyaged on the Mayflower from England in 1620 and the Native American (Indians) Wampanoag tribe, who helped the Pilgrims survive.

We have several books that we pull out each year to read about the pilgrims and their voyage on the Mayflower.  Reading about all the hardships these men, women and children faced helps us to remember how blessed we are now.  We found our copies at Barnes and Noble, which has a great display each Thanksgiving.

Dress the kids up using paper sacks, feathers, construction paper and other inexpensive items and read the story from a simple children's book.  Small children can act out the scenes.  Put the older kids in charge of the whole production... they can direct, produce and narrate...which gives them something to do and helps everyone feel involved.  Plus Grandma and Grandpa really enjoy seeing the grandchildren perform!

This is a fun and easy recipe that even little children can do.  Your cookies might be a little neater but it is fun for all ages to try.  No cooking is involved, just heating the chocolate.  There might be messy fingers but a few licks will take care of that.

Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats

24 chocolate-striped shortbread cookies
12-ounce package of chocolate chips
24 marshmallows
tube of yellow decorators' frosting

1. Set the chocolate-striped cookies stripes down on a wax-paper-covered tray, spacing them well apart.

2. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler.

3. One at a time, stick a wooden toothpick into a marshmallow, dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, and promptly center it atop a cookie.

4. Using a second toothpick to lightly hold down the marshmallow, carefully pull out the first toothpick.

5. Chill the hats until the chocolate sets, then pipe a yellow decorators' frosting buckle on the front of each hat.

No comments:

Post a Comment