This is a post I’ve wanted to write for almost a year – I wanted to blog about it last year after it happened, but realistically, who wants to read about a Thanksgiving craft in December? Exactly. So, here it is … apologies for jumping the gun before Halloween, but I need to get it up or there’s a good chance it won’t happen!
Let me start by saying this entire project was my mother’s doing. My mom is one of those special moms who really does holidays well – she always has, but as my sister and I have gotten older, and we’re not always all together for holidays, when we DO all get together, she tends to go all out. I have her to thank for my overwhelmingly romantic notions, and my OCD-perfectionist tendencies. My mother’s main goal in life has always been, and continues to be, to make other people feel happy, and welcome, and year after year she knocks it out of the park. Since she and my dad live about 5 hours away from us, we do holidays on an every other year rotation with the Husband’s family. Last year, we did Thanksgiving with my family, and Christmas with the Husband’s (this year, we’ll do the opposite), and because my mother couldn’t help herself, she came up with this amazing craft/feather hunt for the boys to do on Thanksgiving Day.
To start with, she bought a couple of styrofoam balls, covered them with cheap craft store feathers, and then added a beak, feet, and googly eyes – she also bought a big bag of long, brightly colored feathers for the tail feathers, but intentionally left those off. So, when we arrived, we arrived to Thom the (somewhat) naked turkey … sorry, I neglected to get a photo of said naked bird, but I mean, he deserved a little dignity, right?
On Thanksgiving morning, my dad took the bag of tail feathers out into the back yard and “hid” them. We then sent the boys out back to find all the feathers, rescuing Thom from his indignity. They marched his tail feathers inside, excited to see what grandma had in store for them.
My mom pulled Thom down, and told them that they needed to stick his feathers back in, but for every feather they found and returned to Thom, they needed to say something they were thankful for.
At first, they were thankful for the things you would expect 2.5 and 5.5 year olds to be thankful for – candy, Spiderman, cartoons, bugs, etc – but as the rest of the family added in our feathers, you could tell they were listening and starting to really think about things. Their answers became shifted to things like – daddy, shoes to keep my feet warm, my toothbrush, my teacher, my house. It was neat, as a parent, to watch that shift occur, to see them start thinking about the bigger picture.
We won’t be at “home” for Thanksgiving this year, but I still plan on doing some version of this game with the boys again. Between all the food and festivities, it’s always important for us all to remember how lucky we are for everything we have. We might not have a ton of money in the bank, but our family is rich in other ways, and I want my boys to be aware of that – always.