Make wood pallet pilgrims
Governor William Bradford hosted a feast in celebration of the Pilgrims' first successful corn harvest in November 1621 and invited a number of the colony's Native American friends, including Wampanoag leader Massasoit. The three-day event is now recognized as the "first Thanksgiving" in American history, despite the fact that the Pilgrims themselves might not have coined the phrase at the time.
Every year we celebrate our colonial roots, so why not display these lovely Pilgrims at our front door? You only need some old wood pallets, paint and basic woodworking skills.
Engrave the winning wishbone
Bird divination, or utilizing birds as oracles to foretell the future, was a practice of the Etruscan civilization in ancient Italy (at least from 800 BCE). It was customary to let chickens read the future by pecking at the ground-laying Etruscan letters. The wishbone, or furcula, of a dead chicken was placed in the sun so that people may touch it and continue to use the fowl's oracular ability long after it had died. The wishbone got its name because those who touched it made wishes while they did so.
Romans adopted parts of the Etruscans' cultural practices, such as wishbone wishing and bird divination. The Romans eventually stopped making wishes on bones in the ground and instead fought over the wishbone to break it; the winner was whoever broke off the largest part of the bone. The wishbone custom spread to the British Isles once the Romans introduced their culture and traditions there.
A traditional Thanksgiving tradition involves two people holding onto the wishbone's opposite ends and pulling until it snaps. Whoever has the larger piece at the end gets to make a wish! But we had a great idea. Using an engraving pen, carve the name of the winner on it, and keep it as a reminder of how lucky you were!
A great way to remember to be thankful is a gratitude jar. Engrave some phrases on glass jars, ask each family member to write down one thing they are grateful for on a piece of paper, then fold it up and put it in the jar. You can start this activity some days before the holiday, adding something new each day.
On Thaksgiving, allow your children to take turns opening the jar and reading aloud each of the Thankfulness Papers. Discuss as a family how you might continue to cultivate gratitude over the rest of the year, and continue with this tradition until next Thanksgiving. You will be amazed at how much you should be thankful for.
We hope you have fun with these activities we compiled for you, and that they help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
“The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.” - Norman Vincent Peale
Check out our blogs for more ideas and inspiration!