The beautiful fall sights and temperatures coupled with the harvest adornments remind us that it’s that special time of year when we purposefully count our blessings. Though we should incorporate an attitude of gratitude daily, we’re especially reminded to do so in the month of November. Use each day to talk with family members about the blessings you share. Talk in the car while darting here and there, discuss at mealtimes or playtime, and share at bedtime the people and possessions and memories for which you are grateful. Spend much time this month with a heart of thanksgiving, and remember to tell those you love just how special they are to you.
Choose to celebrate with some of the following holidays, or create some of your own.
Great American Warm-Up Day — Does your family have sweaters and coats that no longer fit? Gather gently worn jackets, scarves and sweaters and share them with someone in need of warmth this season. Then, bundle up in blankets and sit on the front porch on a cool evening and read some favorite books, like Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,” “The Rag Coat” or “A New Coat for Anna.”
Take a Hike Day — What better way to take in the beauty of the season than a family hike? Even better, make several treks this month at different times of the day to truly appreciate the splendor of fall. Walk early in the morning and admire the sunrise, watch for Canada geese and listen for morning calls and songs of other winged creatures. Walk in the middle of the day, sans coats, and collect fallen leaves of all shades and shapes to use for decorations at home. Find a path to hike in the evening; keep your eyes on the sky as the sunset paints magnificent hues of pinks and purples and birds return to their roost. And find a time to hike at night, when the harvest moon shines brightly to light the way.
Mickey Mouse Day — Celebrate the gifts of Walt Disney with food, fun and film. Create Mickey sandwiches for dinner with a large round biscuit cutter. Cut out circles of bread, meat and cheese to create a sandwich and place it in the center of the plate, then use some kind of cookie for dessert and add Mickey’s ears. Pull up some old black-and-white Mickey cartoons on the computer to watch while dining, or find some old Mickey Mouse Club clips and sing along with the Mouseketeers. Finish the celebration with some research about Mickey’s beginnings. Did you know his name wasn’t Mickey originally?
Doll Collection Month — For more information about and pictures of dolls and toys than you could ever dream, check out the online sites www.toyhalloffame.org or www.museumofplay.org. Gather the dolls and stuffed animals in your home for a tea party, and reminisce about how each one joined the family. Then, make this fun doll craft using tassels purchased at a craft store. Lay the tassel flat on a table, then pull a couple of strands of yarn on each side of the tassel upward and lay them horizontally. Cut these strands shorter to form arms. Using a small strip of yarn or thin ribbon, tie a knot in the middle of the tassel strands, forming a waist. Leave the remaining strands hanging loose to create a doll with a dress, or split the strands in half and tie a knot near the end of each group of strands to form legs and feet. Choose different colored tassels and make a collection of tassel dolls.
Thanksgiving — Add a sweet potato bar to your Thanksgiving meal this year. Wash sweet potatoes and prick them with a fork, then bake them just as you would a white baking potato. While they are baking, gather the toppings — seasonings, fruits, veggies, nuts, cheeses and sweets like basil, cilantro, oregano, cinnamon, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, raisins, sunflower seeds, crushed pecans, Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, cheddar cheese, syrup, honey, brown sugar and miniature marshmallows.
Take time this month to enjoy all the blessings bestowed upon your family. Eat turkey and dressing, celebrate Mickey, take lots of hikes, and share warmth with those surrounding you.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.