Giving Thanks

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Saying “thank you” is polite, right? We thank people for passing us the butter, for holding a door open, or for telling us we look nice. But when God gives us things—like food to eat, people who love us, and even his own Son—we often forget to say “thank you”! Here are some fun ideas to make your Thanksgiving celebration, or any other occasion, a time to give God thanks.

Thankful Tree

Make this fun table decoration to use at Thanksgiving dinner—or anytime!

What you need:

  • flowerpot
  • sand or rice
  • tree branch
  • construction paper
  • yarn
  • black marker

What you do:

Fill the flowerpot with sand or rice. Stick the tree branch in the pot. Cut out leaf shapes from construction paper—at least one per guest, and more if you want. Punch a hole at one end of each leaf. Thread a piece of yarn through each hole and knot it. When your guests arrive, ask each of them to write something they’re thankful for on a leaf and hang it on your Thankful Tree. Then read those things out loud during dinner or at prayer time.

The Bowl Game

Write each of the following things on a separate slip of paper and put them in a bowl. Ask everyone around your table to take one, read the category on it, and tell one thing in that category that they’re thankful for and why.

  • A favorite food
  • One of your five senses
  • A person not in your family
  • A time when God took care of you
  • A good book
  • Your favorite smell
  • A favorite teacher
  • A sport or hobby you enjoy
  • Your favorite place
  • A favorite Bible verse
  • Your favorite day of the year
  • A favorite toy
  • Your best family memory
  • A time when you helped someone
  • Something a parent taught you
  • A good friend
  • Work you like to do
  • A favorite song

Thanksgiving Games

Candy Corn Drop

This game is just for fun, and the taller you are, the harder it gets! All you need are some small paper cups and a few bags of candy corn. First, give each player a paper cup filled with candy corns. Have players stand in a line with an empty paper cup between their feet. Holding a candy corn to their chin, they have to try to drop it into the cup by their feet. The person who drops the most corns into his or her cup in one minute wins!

Thankful Words

Give everybody at your table a pencil and a piece of paper. Challenge them to see how many words they can make out of the letters in the words “Thanksgiving Day.” Words have to be longer than two letters, and no people names are allowed. Don’t forget that plurals count as separate words, like “hat” and “hats.” There are WAY more possibilities than you think!

I’m Thankful

This is a fun memory game for groups. The more people who play, the more challenging it is! Start with the youngest person in your group. That person says something they’re thankful for, like “I’m thankful for mashed potatoes.” The next person repeats what the first person says, and adds something of their own: “I am thankful for mashed potatoes and a warm bed.” The next person repeats those two things and adds another: “I’m thankful for mashed potatoes, a warm bed, and my cat.” Keep going until everyone has had a chance to add something or until someone messes up.

Cone Cornucopias

The cornucopia (say it corn-oo-CO-pea-yah) is a traditional symbol of Thanksgiving. It’s usually a horn-shaped basket filled with lots of different fruits and vegetables, and it reminds us of the many good things God gives us. Here’s how to make a cornucopia that’s good to eat and (mostly) good for you, too!

What you need:

  • Raisins, dried cranberries, and other dried fruit
  • Nuts or sunflower seeds
  • Cheerios or other cereal
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Mini pretzels
  • One sugar cone (pointed ice cream cone) per person

What you do:

In a big bowl, mix everything except the sugar cones. Scoop some of the mixture into a cone and enjoy! Then thank God for the people all over the world who grow food for you and your family to eat.

About the Author

Sandy Swartzentruber serves as the resource coordinator for Faith Formation Ministries and is a member of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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