Giving Thanks: Express Gratitude with Crafts, Foods, Fun and Contemplation

Thanksgiving is upon us in the U.S. Even those who routinely feel and express gratitude have a sanctioned reason to pause and do so more profoundly than usual. Gratitude can transform one’s entire experience and outlook. It imbues relationships, observations and activities with awe and fullness and the realization that “this moment” — and our own unique collection of moments — is the best there is.

The Thanksgiving holiday makes space for us to allow gratitude into our (often busy) lives in new ways and to pass that feeling on to our children. I’m very grateful for many things, including my wonderful and creative blogger friends who have taken the time to contribute their own ideas for gratitude and celebration.

While I love the smells of turkey cooking — in addition to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on T.V. — I also enjoy getting out in nature on Thanksgiving Day. Frugal Mama shares four make-ahead traditional Thanksgiving recipes that allow you to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, with all the trimmings, as well as some time away from the kitchen.

Pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving and Fall food and, while you can make it from scratch, this recipe using canned pumpkin, is extremely easy and makes a very tasty pie.

You can bake your own crust or use one of the pre-made ones, some of which are getting better and better tasting. Epicurious taste-tested pre-made pie crusts. Among their favorites is one of  mine, Whole Foods 365 Organic Pie Shells. Good Housekeeping also weighs in with their pre-made pie crust taste test.

From Rhythm of the Home and Vintage Chica comes a beautiful Thankfulness Journal project.  Of course, this well-made felt-covered book would be a wonderful project to make, use and enjoy any time of year.

The same could be said of this equally inspiring and beautiful gratitude banner from Future Craft Collective. It’s fun and lovely in itself and wonderful in the way it allows family members to contemplate and formalize their gratitude.


Shoveling snow? Why not turn it into a fun and magical outdoor activity for you and your kids? That’s what Mel at Traveling Mel did. Her photos are delightful and inspiring, as always.

Bethe, the Grass Stain Guru, shares her own wonderful list of 10 things to be thankful for in nature.

I just had the good fortune to learn about the Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley, CA, which explores the science behind happiness and gratitude and the ways that we can nurture those brain pathways that promote them. According the the folks at Greater Good, happiness and gratitude can be learned and practiced traits.

Want more information about cultivating an attitude of gratitude? Gratitude Twenty Four Seven is just that – a very inspiring site from Jarl Forsman and Steve Sekhon full of daily tips and affirmations to help you be more grateful and fulfilled every day.

Arvind Devalia gives us some ideas about embracing what we already have.

My own gratitude list includes:
A family that laughs a lot
Good friends
The smell of clean laundry
The air after it rains
Vintage anything
Old cities
Hats and gloves
Hopeful new immigrants
Good health
A warm house
Meaningful work
Books and book stores
Amusement Parks
County Fairs
Swing music
Road trips
A smile from a stranger
Snow-capped mountains
Starry nights
Wonder name a few things

What’s yours?

Happy Thanksgiving!


Photos: Farm Security Administration, Rick Audet, Bernadette Noll, Susan Sachs Lipman

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10 responses to “Giving Thanks: Express Gratitude with Crafts, Foods, Fun and Contemplation

  1. Suz, you wrote a great gratitude list. I love the snowberries photo. Can you tell me more about snowberries? I’m very happy to have introduced you to Arvind, he has a lot to give.

  2. lisa wilson huffman

    Suz, so many of the things you are grateful for involve scent! I’m grateful for you as you inspire me with your friendship, creativity, spirit and intelligence!

  3. Hi Alison and Lisa! What joyous visits and comments.

    Alison, Thank you for your post of gratitude and your comments on my list and photo. Although I took the snowberry picture in my neighborhood a few winters ago (and love how the plant looks), I know next to nothing about it. I found this web site, which may be helpful. Let me know what you think:

    Lisa, I hadn’t thought about the scent quotient, but of course it is there — in most everything — to our delight. Thank you for your very kind comment. Of course I think the same lovely things about you — and then some. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

  4. I’m thankful that you wrote this blog during this “silly season” of rushing around and it gave me a moment of pause. Ok, I’m pausing…..hands off key board.
    We are so blessed with our abundance of “things” but Health seems to top my list. I’m so thankful that I can wake up everyday in such a beautiful place and enjoy it in full health. The continued good heath of my children, parents, and friends makes me thankful every day. Happy Thanksgiving Suz and again thank you for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving. I love your blog.

  5. Hi Suz- I’m with you-getting outside is the best part of Thanksgiving (or any day). No stuff, nothing to do, just time to connect with family and friends and appreciate the great outdoors.

    Thanks for the link to my shoveling post. We’ve been getting to do it three or so times a day for the last few days!

  6. I like thanksgiving days too much, because it gives me to chance to prepare my own special meals for my family.

  7. Lovely post! And I agree re: the Whole Foods organic pie crusts. =)

  8. I’m so honored to be included in this special post, Suz. You always have such great goodies to share! Loved the sites about happiness and gratitude and nature. I’m grateful for thinkers like you, Suz!

  9. Pingback: Honor Your Family With Fun Gratitude Crafts | Slow Family OnlineSlow Family Online

  10. Pingback: Honor Your Family With Fun Gratitude Crafts | Slow Family OnlineSlow Family Online

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