Giving Thanks: A Family Craft

“Give thanks: we do, each in his place around the table during grace.”  November, John Updike


Thanksgiving is the holiday we most associate with giving thanks and gratitude. Many families extend their table prayers to include everyone’s thanks-giving. And many families make use of empty time while food is being prepared to occupy children’s hands with an activity focused on giving thanks.

Family Craft
Creating a Thanksgiving garland can be as simple as a paper chain, or as intricate as paper-cut leaves and twists of wisteria. Whichever way you choose to show thanks, this activity is meaningful, intergenerational, and easy to pull together with a minimum of fuss.

Once you’ve made your garland, put it up on the wall, wrap it into a wreath, or drape it across your table or buffet. Leave it there for a week so, stretching this season of giving thanks just a little bit further.

Two Options to Get You Started
If you have time and dexterity, your garland can expand to include colorful leaves and ribbons. Tiffany Bird gives directions here. She offers a plan for making the leaves and then shows how to braid them into raffia after they’ve been written or drawn on.

This version, from Jen Hadfield, is even simpler. Use leaf shapes or simple geometrics and clothespins to clip thanks to a pre-made grapevine.



Whichever way you choose to make a garland, be sure to invite all your guests to pause and write their thanks. You might also include scripture or table graces in your garland!

Share Gratitude
When you are finished, please take a photo. We’d love to see what your garlands look like. Post your photo below the post on Facebook or send us a picture of your garland, we’ll post it on Building Faith next Monday!!



John Updike’s poem November is from A Child’s Calendar, 2002, Holiday House.

Charlotte Hand Greeson shares her passion for formation as a manager, editor, and writer for Building Faith. She lives in California where making a leaf garland of thanks will be as close as she gets to feeling like “Fall.”

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