The month of November seems to inadvertently call attention to the grateful gauge in one’s heart. How’s the gratitude attitude in your home? Take time this month — during family mealtime, while riding in the car, just before bedtime, while cooking dinner, while doing chores — to share blessings aloud. Talk about small blessings, huge ones and everything in between. Be sure to point out personal blessings, but talk about the good fortune of others in your circle of friends and family. Teach your kids to be thankful for others’ blessings, also. Count your blessings so often this month that it becomes a habit for every month on the calendar, not just the month that hosts the Thanksgiving season!
Choose to celebrate with some of the zany, but actual holidays below or create a few new ones with those you love.
Magazine Day — How many magazines does your family subscribe to? Make a visit to the library or book store and peruse new magazines. Read a few selections aloud that would interest family members. Pick out a new magazine that the entire family can enjoy and add that one to your subscription list or remember to visit the library regularly to retrieve the magazine. Then choose one evening to gather in the den or around the kitchen table to read the magazine together, from cover to cover.
Geography Awareness Week — Visit a teacher resource store, a physical one or an online one, and pick out a large map of the United States. On a calendar, assign each of the 50 states to a week on the calendar to, almost, fill out the entire year. Use the note on the calendar to remind you to learn as much as you can about that state during the month you penciled it in. Find and learn the capital of the chosen state. Look online to find out what foods the state is famous for and create some new recipes with that product. Find the state bird and state flower, too. Are there famous landmarks in that state? Historical monuments? For extra fun, create a notebook to record the information you learn about each state, and let the kids draw and color pictures of the state symbols, like the bird and flower. If your family has visited the state of the week that you’re studying, put a star on the map!
National Aviation Day — Celebrate this day with a paper airplane race. Find a book in the library or look online for directions to make paper airplanes. Try out all sorts of sizes and shapes of paper airplanes for the race. Toss the paper airplanes from the front porch or from a treehouse or a ladder to see whose plane travels the farthest. Pick a breezy day to send the planes flying. Read about Orville and Wilbur Wright and their contribution to aviation history, too.
Look for Circles Day/Sandwich Month — Combine these two November holidays and create round sandwiches. Use a large biscuit cutter to create round pieces of bread, deli meat and cheese samples. (Save the leftover bread edges for the Thanksgiving Day dressing.) Snack on round sandwiches, then go for a walk downtown to see how many circles you can spot.
Thanksgiving — Create a turkey craft to decorate the table. Let each person stuff brown, lunch-sized paper bags with old newspapers. Glue the top closed once the bag is stuffed. Let each person trace handprints on their favorite shade of construction paper. Cut out the prints, then pass the colors around so that each family member has a print from everyone in the family. Glue the "feather " handprints on the bag of the paper bag. Glue construction paper eyes, a nose and orange feet in place to complete the turkey. Let the crafty, stuffed turkeys decorate the table and kitchen as you work together to prepare the family Thanksgiving feast.
Take time this month to be grateful for little blessings and large blessings and keep the grateful gauge pointing way past the "full" mark. Enjoy all that November has to offer — turkey and the trimmings, parades and football on television or the front yard, splashes of autumn splendor in the treetops, songs of thanksgiving on Sunday mornings in church, and lots and lots of family time. May your family have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving season.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.