During the Thanksgiving it may be difficult to be happy or thankful when feeling the pain of lost. I personally know the feeling of having two very important people gone; my sister passed three years ago (right after Christmas) and my mom two years ago (shortly before Thanksgiving). My mom frequently led the family prayer, so not having her lead the prayer is something I will never get used to. The good news is that I do not have to get used to it, I can create new memories and do things differently. One of my favorite things my family did was to go around and share something my sister would say every year at Thanksgiving. While we missed her terribly, it was hilarious to remember the things she would say, especially if dinner was held at her house; she liked to cook and have everyone over, but she did not like to entertain for more than an hour. I encourage you to take time to remember the person you miss, or remember someone else’s family member. One of the things I hear consistently and experience is the desire for my family members to never be forgotten. This Thanksgiving, remember and give thanks for the memories. It can also be difficult to just enjoy the holiday when there is the madness and mayhem of rushing around being so busy that you forget to stop and enjoy the day. It can be tempting to let the commercials, advertisements, and stores dictate your day, be strong, and fight the urge. Some thanksgiving ideas I really like:
- Create a Family Thanksgiving Album: Each year have everyone write something they are thankful for in the album and save space for a picture of the person. It is a wonderful way to see how the children mature in things they are thankful for and to see their physical growth. In addition, when you are struggling to feel thankful, you can take a trip down memory lane by looking at your album.
- Before eating dinner or sometime during the dinner, ask everyone to share something they are thankful for during the year.
- Start a Thankful Jar. During the year, family should put notes in the jar about random things they are thankful for and then read them at Thanksgiving. The notes can range from minor to major events that happen throughout the year. Maybe on one day someone is thankful they passed a difficult math test, on another day someone is thankful for not feeling sick, on another day someone is thankful for had a chance to do something special, or getting a new car, or finding their keys, or getting a raise, or… you get the idea.
- Younger children, unable to write, can keep a picture journal of thankfulness. They can draw or cut pictures from a magazine.
Remember, one of the keys to happiness is thankfulness.