A really good friend of mine is American. She's lived here in NZ for years and is definitely Kiwi, but every now and then she shows her American roots. Like when she makes pumpkin pie (something many Kiwis don't even know the taste of). Or in late November, when she makes a Thanksgiving dinner for her family. This year, I was inspired by my friend, together with Kiwi folks in our life group who have adopted Thanksgiving.
We had Thanksgiving too. I thought, why not. It's about being grateful, remembering just how plentiful our lives are, just as the early American settlers were thankful for their bounteous first Autumn harvest.
We didn't have a meal. That was way too far beyond my ability and brain space (especially when I only decided a week before that we'd do something!). But we had a Thankful tree, and an afternoon tea at which some friends joined us in eating ginger crunch and strawberries and writing things we are thankful for on leaves that we then hung on our tree.
I really enjoyed it.
I'm 'into' being grateful. I think we need to be reminded (frequently) that we are very blessed, and that a grateful heart is a softer and more giving heart, and generally also a happier heart. I really want my son to grow up learning to be grateful. Remembering to be grateful. CHOOSING to be grateful. In fact I believe in it so strongly that his bedtime prayers at present almost always consist of "Thank you God for..."
To make our Thankful tree, I printed some Google Images of leaves in about the right size, and cut others out of coloured paper (as this was my first time I figured we'd try a few different ones!). I took the handsaw out on a walk (in my backpack so my husband wasn't too embarrassed to be seen with me!) and cut a small branch, stripped it's leaves, and stuck it in a large glass container with sand in the bottom. A little wobbly but okay.
The 'leaves' had holes punched in them, and small pieces of pipe cleaner to tie them to the tree. The idea came from my life group, where they use those little decorative wooden pegs to hang leaves on a tree. I just used what we had in the house so it didn't cost us anything extra to do.
I'd like to continue Thanksgiving, but make it more fully 'ours.' We might get to have the full meal next year with my friend and her family, which would be really special! I hope to do a tree again, but I'm thinking that as it's not Autumn here I might use silver leaves or spray paint the branches silver and use green leaves.
If you were writing on a Thankful leaf today, what would you say?