Thanksgiving: Creating a Home Full of Gratitude

I will never forget the first time I placed an Amazon order and just a few HOURS later, I saw the delivery person at my front door delivering that very order. It blew my mind! How could they possibly get it there in the same day? It feels like that’s how everything is now. We can increasingly get what we want, when we want it and never even have to leave the house. Food and grocery delivery are amazing but continue to feed our my way, right away culture. We hardly have to wait for anything anymore. In so many ways, this is so convenient and I’m not mad about someone delivering me dinner BUT, the danger is that we, and our children, start expecting that every time we have a need or a want, we are going to get it with SAME DAY DELIVERY.

If we aren’t careful, we start to feel entitled to getting what we want as soon as we want it and stop appreciating what we already have.

If we aren’t careful, we start to feel entitled to getting what we want as soon as we want it and stop appreciating what we already have. That desire for more and better is only satisfied for a moment with the latest pair of shoes or a new, fun thing and then we are back to wanting more. Then, we find ourselves, and our kids, grumpy, dissatisfied and discontent. I bet that you, like me, want to be a grateful person and raise grateful kids. November feels like the perfect time to pause and take some time to be thankful for what we have already, for our families and for what God is doing in our lives. Sis, do you if you are ready to put that tree up November 1st but let’s not skip the opportunity we have in this month to focus on giving thanks. It sets our hearts and the hearts of our kids in the right place in preparation for all of the gift giving and receiving in December.

There are so many benefits to being grateful. Did you know that giving thanks can actually re-wire our brains to be happier and that being grateful actually improves our health? You can read more here but these are the conclusions from many studies on the brain and gratitude:

Positive psychology and mental health researchers in the past few decades have established an overwhelming connection between gratitude and good health. Keeping a gratitude journal causes less stress, improves the quality of sleep, and builds emotional awareness (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005)…

When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.

By consciously practicing gratitude everyday, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves and ultimately create a permanent grateful and positive nature within ourselves.

Positive Psychology

Did you know that you can’t be unhappy and grateful at the same time? More brain research backs this up:

“During active appreciation,” Baker writes, “the threatening messages from your amygdala [fear center of the brain] and the anxious instincts of your brainstem are cut off, suddenly and surely, from access to your brain’s neocortex, where they can fester, replicate themselves, and turn your stream of thoughts into a cold river of dread. It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.”

Psych Central

I geek out on things like that. I love research and facts and wonder if God chuckles when He sees scientists coming to the conclusions that he already knew about us. He tells us over and over in the scriptures to be grateful and give thanks:

  • “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
  • “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
  • “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 2:9-11

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, here are a few ways to practice gratitude in your home:

Thankful Leaves

Take turns writing what each person is thankful for on leaves. You can do this each night at dinner, once a week or on Thanksgiving. You can clip them to twine and make a garland or to twigs and make a thankful tree. It makes a pretty display and reminds everyone what they’re thankful for. HERE are some cute printable leaves.

HERE is a thankful leaf kit from Michaels.

Gratitude Rolls

Each person writes what they are thankful for on a slip of paper. Those papers are rolled into the crescent roll dough and baked. At dinner, people open their rolls and share what they find. Read more about it HERE.

I am so thankful for each of you, mamas. I hope you have a wonderful season of thankfulness in your homes.

3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: Creating a Home Full of Gratitude”

  1. The past 3 years we have used pumpkins on which to write the things we are grateful for – we date the bottom, pack it away and bring out the next year with fall decor. We used leaves before this – love having something to watch as the grands mature in their areas of gratitude. Wish I had done it this way years ago!

  2. Pingback: Episode 55: Gobblers, Graphite and Gratitude - Gather Moms

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