Symbols of Thanksgiving

Of all the seasons, autumn is my favorite.  The colors of the leaves, the pumpkins and mums, the warmth of bonfires and hot cocoa, the fun of football and hay rides… all wrapped up in this season called autumn.

One of my favorite parts of this whole season is Thanksgiving Day.  I love the decorating, the baking, the preparing and the feasting.  I love the music, games and the Macy’s Day Parade.  As a little girl, I remember waking in the morning and tuning into NBC on the big RCA console.  There were the giant balloons flying through the skyscrapers, the floats carrying the superstars of the day and most of all the Radio City Rockette’s.  I would watch with anticipation for those ladies in heels.  The music would start and their choreographed steps would just amaze everyone.  I would wait with bated breath as the dancers would link arms in a chorus line and finish off the show with their eye-high leg kick in perfect unison.   It still brings a giggle of amazement to me even today….watching those legs kick above their heads, all in a straight line, all in perfect unison. Wow, to be able to do that!!! 

Through all those ways of celebrating Thanksgiving, my heart always returns to family togetherness and giving thanks.  We have so much to be thankful for yet sometimes in the rush of the next holiday coming and through scouring over the ads for Black Friday shopping, we miss moments and opportunities of stopping and giving thanks.

I was recently talking with a Jewish friend about the beauty of the Mezuza, the protection box on Jewish doors.  A symbol of rememberance…a marking off that this place is sacred and holy to God.  I love the idea of this tradition.  Setting symbols in our homes…ways to remember the goodness of God.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many…Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV)

So to bring in the idea of symbols, I found some creative, simple Symbols of Thanksgiving for our homes…ways to teach our children and celebrate together a way of giving thanks.

Leaves of thanks

  • Leaves of Gratitude – At our Ladies Breakfast, we had these as our centerpieces.  I cut branches from outside and placed them in a mason jar with a card attached.  I laid the cut-out leaves around the base of the jar.  Each lady wrote her gift of thanks on a leaf and placed it on the tree.  This could be done for each guest coming to your house on Thanksgiving Day or you could celebrate the whole month by placing a leaf on the tree each day with a note of thanks to God for all His blessings.  I found this great idea at Beauty and Bedlam.  Click on this link for more ideas and a free pdf file for your own leaf print outs.
  • Thanksgiving Gratitude Rolls –  This is another idea I found on Beauty and Bedlam.  (She’s got some great ideas)  This one reminds me a little bit of a fortune cookie with a twist.  Each guest writes a gift of thanks on a small piece of parchment paper.  When all the guests have arrived, each paper is loosely wrapped in a Pillsbury crescent roll and baked.  Then at dinner each guest can unwrap a roll and read the note inside.  This is a fun way to share our gifts of thanksgiving. (Note:  don’t use regular paper, USE PARCHMENT PAPER and permanent marker.)
  • Tablecloth of Thanks –  I love this idea.  Lay a light-colored, smooth-textured tablecloth out on a side table.  Have each family member and guest trace their hand on the tablecloth with fabric pens. (Spread the fingers wide to resemble a turkey with full feathers.) If different colored pens are offered, people can be quite creative.  Each guest writes a gift of thanks inside their hand, signs and dates it.  I love this idea because the cloth, names, and gifts can be added to each year.  It’s a great way to remember gifts of thanks down through the years; watch as little hands grow and also have a way to remember the gifts of those guests who are no longer with us.  ( I’m excited to be starting my own Tablecloth of Thanks this year.  It will be a creative “guest book” for years to come.)
  • Speaking of guest books….this is another way to give thanks creatively.  Place a Thanksgiving Journal out for all guests to share their thoughts, thanks and blessings.

During this Thanksgiving season, let’s take time to give thanks to the One who has given us all things.

I would love to hear from you!

  • What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?
  • What is a creative way you will be giving thanks this season?

6 thoughts on “Symbols of Thanksgiving

  1. Great ideas, Rachel! You are so creative and have such an eye for details…enjoyed reading about the traditions and pretty decorating tips. Thanks for sharing the links. Have a wonderful thanksgiving with your family. I know one thing I am thankful for this year, it’s blogging with such spirit-filled folks, like you! Blessings ~Zoey


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