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Thanks and Giving…

on November 3, 2013

Last year, we decided our kiddo needed a healthy dose of thanks and thoughtfulness.  It is easy for kids to get wrapped up in the “I want” mentality of having new toys, games, etc. this time of year.  The toy ads for Target and Toys R Us have already landed in our mailbox and thankfully we can avoid commercials most of the time as we do not subscribe to cable TV.  It can be difficult for kids to really understand and appreciate what they do have and realize that giving back to others can be just as rewarding.

So, last year my daughter and I created our very own 25 days of giving.  I made a list of ways we could give back to others, and we did one every day of December leading up to and including Christmas.  I tried my best to make it cute and wrote out the activities in the form of a pine tree instead of a list and included a fun holiday border around the outside.  I then placed the list in a class fronted frame, and we were able to check off our activities every day.  Some of our items were scheduled for certain days/times and some were done randomly.  It was really rewarding for both of us, I think.  My daughter got really into some of the ideas, and some of them changed a bit throughout the month.  For example, our trip to the local Humane Society to drop off food and old towels led to us adopting a kitten the next day.  We gave an animal in need a new home!  I think that was her favorite act of giving over all.

This is this kitty we rescued last year during our Days of Giving.  He's not really kitten sized anymore.

This is this kitty we rescued last year during our Days of Giving. He’s not really kitten sized anymore.

This year, I wanted to go one step further.  Our kiddo is really thoughtful when it comes to other people, but she sometimes forgets to be thankful for what she already has or for the people/experiences in her life.  To help with this, I also decided we needed to do days of thanks.  The past couple of years, I have seen people post what they are thankful for on social media like Facebook each day leading up to Thanksgiving.  While that doesn’t really work so great for a young one, I love the concept.  We just needed to change the way it was shared.  My kiddo loves crafts and colorful crafts especially, so I thought we could make something festive together that would easily include our messages of thanks.

Starting November 1st, we began our 28 days of thanks.  Every day, she tells me one thing she is thankful for–and every day has to be different.  To display her items, I thought it would be fun to use a turkey and write the thankful items on its feathers.  To do so, I used a turkey cut out from brown construction paper and cut out four feathers each from seven different colors of paper.  I wrote, “I am thankful” on the turkey’s belly and each feather will say “for…”  She gets to pick the feather color and item of thanks each day, and then after I write it down and we glue it on the turkey.  I have no idea yet if all 28 will fit on our turkey, but I sure hope they do!  In a moment of inspiration I decided it would be more fun if our turkey stood up on a table or counter instead of being attached to a wall or the refrigerator.  I used two toilet paper rolls I had been about to recycle as a stand for the turkey by gluing them to the back.  We have added two feathers already, and I am in love with the items of thanks my daughter has chosen.  I cannot wait to see what she chooses every day and see our turkey proudly displayed for Thanksgiving dinner.

Here is our turkey on day two!

Here is our turkey on day two!

Since Thanksgiving is so late this year, we are going to take a few days off in between the 29th and the 1st to prep ourselves for our 25 days of giving.  We adjusted our list to reflect what we are doing this year–for example we have to change preschool giving activities over to kindergarten activities.  Below is a picture of our list as it stands now, though it is a work in progress. I did ask for input on our activities from the kiddo this year.  Since they are things we do together, I want to make sure they are meaningful to her too.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.  A link to the .PDF is below.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea. A link to the .PDF is below.

25 Days of Giving

I am really excited about both our days of thanks and our days of giving.  Not only do they really reinforce character traits we want our daughter to have, but we are able to share such wonderful experiences together that I really believe we are given a gift too.  No matter how cheesy that sounds, I am truly happy to kick off our holiday season by acknowledging the blessings in our life and sharing kindness with others.

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2 responses to “Thanks and Giving…

  1. […] This year for her birthday, I thought about all of the toys she currently has that she still plays with (many that she got for her birthday the past two years) and all of the items she was sure to get from her family and friends parties and my brain went mushy.  She barely has the time or space to play with what she had!  What were we going to do with all the extra stuff?   So, we had a discussion.  We talked about donating some of the toys from her friends birthday party to kids in need.  We have donated things to the Children’s Hospital in the past, and we talked about finding somewhere new to share this time around.  We settled on a homeless shelter in our town that specializes in working with families and single parents–she remembered it from when we had donated some items like winter coats for our 25 days of giving. […]

  2. […] helping people in need by finding donations with my daughter is rewarding.  Participating in our 25 days of giving each December makes me feel connected to others at a time when life is very hectic–and again […]

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