I know that its a little late for this post, but we just returned from an extended holiday trip to my parent's home.
In my family, where deer hunting comes before all else, Thanksgiving could easily feel like an afterthought. But this year we gathered together and celebrated with intention and gratitude. It was a sincere celebration of family, love, and appreciation.
The new tradition we created this Thanksgiving was a Gratitude Tree. A friend mentioned that she was creating a Thanksgiving Tree on her holiday table this year. She explained the concept and with a little bit of Googling I found dozens of variations on the idea. We jumped on board, and I suspect we'll do it every year. This lovely activity could easily transfer to a Solstice or Christmas celebration to add deeper meaning to that celebration as well.
The concept is simple: create a "tree" on your holiday table with a branch, ornament stand, or small Christmas tree. Provide guests with paper leaves or snowflakes, pens and a simple question: what are your grateful for? Throughout the evening, guests quietly penned the important things in their lives on leaves and suspending them from the tree.
After the table was cleared we gathered for a glass of wine and took turns reading the anonymous blessings. Some authors were easy to determine ("I love Sager. I love Sager. I love Sager" or "I am grateful for my wife putting up with my hunting for the past 40 years."), while others were more difficult to determine ("I am grateful for my loving wife and two kids.").
For me it was meaningful to hear my family express with such depth on this special day.
Thanks, Denise, for the inspiration! xo