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Chain of Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Craft for the Not-So-Crafty

Gratitude is a prevalent and important theme as we begin the month of November. But how do we involve our kids in this mindful celebration and introduce the concept of gratitude, a concept that is often difficult to embrace even as an adult? For several years, our family has done a gratitude craft on Thanksgiving Day, and in fact it has become a favorite family tradition.

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{Disclaimer: this is not a fancy Pinterest craft, but rather an experiential craft. We keep ours simple, but I am sure that crafty folks could jazz it up.}

This idea began as a way to entertain the kids while we busily worked on Thanksgiving preparations. We supply the kids with paper, children’s scissors, markers and sometimes stickers and glitter, just for fun. The kids cut strips of construction paper or card stock and then write or draw one thing they are thankful or grateful for on each strip. They do this until the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or they are out of ideas, whichever happens first. Then they staple or glue them all together, to form a “chain of gratitude.” We then take time during the day as a family to read each grateful word aloud in praise. In the early years the chains were short, but sweet and thoughtful. Inevitably, as they got older, the “chain of gratitude” grew in kind; a truly touching allegory. The “chain of gratitude” remains hung for the rest of the holiday season, as a reminder of all their gratitude and hard work!

This year, inspired by social media challenges and other gratitude campaigns, we have decided to spread the craft over the whole month.

Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving Day to begin our grateful introspection, we are going to begin on the 1st of November. Each day we will all (not just the kids!) write out at least one gratitude strip (more if desired). We will collect the strips in a baggie until Thanksgiving Day. In keeping with tradition, the kids will assemble the chain, adding more gratitude strips if they wish, as they watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and we prepare the feast. I am especially excited to read this years chain aloud, as it will be a culmination of a month of gratitude from our whole family, children and adults alike. Per usual, the new “chain of gratitude” will again hang throughout the holiday season.

This craft is a simple project (for even the self-proclaimed “un-crafty” person), which results in a tangible, decorative representation of a very thoughtful and aware exploration of gratitude and grace. The beauty of something so simple is that it can be tailored it to fit each family. Collect strips for a month like us, or do it for a week, day or year! Make a personalized, memorable expression of gratitude that will become a cherished tradition in your home.

Here are the steps to make your very own “chain of gratitude” (for the more visual person):

Provide paper and scissors, or pre-cut strips, for writing.

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Have kids write something they are grateful for daily. If child is too young to write, parents can scribe.

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Keep strips in a baggie, adding new strips daily until the big day.

Assemble the chain using staples or glue. We usually use staples for convenience, as glue will need time to dry.

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 Hang your “chain of gratitude” and enjoy!

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