Recruit Little Helping Hands This Thanksgiving

Written by: Melissa Graham

The air these days is heavy with anticipation. Trees are arriving by the truckload, Starbucks is playing holiday music, and the rest of the retailers have festooned their walls with garland and Christmas baubles.

Hang on. What date is it again?

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday madness. It’s all so sparkly, so festive. To borrow a line from of my favorite Yuletide ditties, “we [all] need a little Christmas,” especially in these uncertain and troubled times.

I get it. I do. But by leapfrogging from Halloween’s sugary indulgences to the big H holiday excesses, we miss a tremendous opportunity as parents. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to teach one the greatest of all virtues: gratitude. Before we give in to the jolly, holly days of December, let’s remind our kids about the real import of our upcoming turkey day: a time to express gratitude, whether to a higher being or simply to one another.

In our home, I’ve found that giving tasks to little hands helps get them into the true spirit of the season. There is whole host of ways to get kids involved in the cooking of your Thanksgiving feast. For example, they can tear the bread for stuffing, mash the potatoes, stir the cranberries, and roll out the pumpkin pie crusts. But even if you’re not hosting, young helpers can contribute to the family table. For example, this adorable turkey centerpiece would be a welcome addition to any table.

To make them: sketch out three parts: feathers for the tail, scalloped wings, and a light bulb shaped head. Decorate the parts with markers. Using tape, attach each of the pieces to craft sticks. Stick the craft sticks into apples in their appropriate locations. Once finished, you can use the turk-apple-eys as placecards. Giving kids a task, even one as simple and as fun as this one, can help them honor the holiday.

For some delicious nutritious kid-friendly Thanksgiving dishes, check out my blog, Little Locavores.

Posted on November 20, 2011 at 9:02 PM