A family exercise in gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches, lots of my friends do “thankful” activities with their kids. The idea is simple, ask the kids what they’re thankful for and display their answers — and yours.

This is our take on it. I decided to trace our hands and hang them like a garland in our dining room.

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Initially I planned on making the hands look like turkeys. In hindsight, that’s hilarious to me. I can’t believe I thought I’d be motivated enough to draw or glue little beaks and hats on these things. Hands take a lot of time and attention to cut out; you have to cut around FIVE fingers! By the time I’d cut out one hand for each of us, I scrapped the turkey idea and started wondering what level of detail I really needed to maintain. Would David would notice if the hands didn’t have thumbs?

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We each have a color, which David chose for us. The most fun part is that David gets really, really excited to put up a hand. Like everything in my life, I don’t stick to a schedule with it, so on busy days we don’t do it. But he loves choosing what he’s thankful for, and hearing what the rest of us are thankful for.

We let him choose whatever he wants. His first three things were: Caleb, watching TV, and going to Target.

Tom was horrified, “Well. I guess that means we’re doing something wrong.”


His answers make me want to keep up this tradition. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had a chance to explain to him what it means to be “thankful” (it isn’t really a word kids are born knowing). And it gave me just ONE MORE excuse to go to Target.

This little one was eating a snack while I took photos, and she kept saying “CHEESE!” whenever I took a photo. And so, an action shot. Our dining room in use.

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Turns out, our garland of hands (rather than turkeys) was a happy mistake. One day David looked at it and said, “Mommy! Look! Our hands are together! That means we’re friends!”

He’s right, and I’m so thankful.


  1. Katherine A. November 21, 2014

    Few things.

    1. John loves Target too.

    2. This post kind of motivates me to do something. We never do anything. 🙁

    3. Do you guys own your house? I can’t remember, and I can’t remember when you moved in.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • amandakrieger November 21, 2014

      so glad David isn’t the only target-loving little boy!

      we do own, we bought it 3.5 years ago, a few months before david was born (and before i was blogging!)

  2. Grammy November 21, 2014

    Sounds to me that you are doing something right. He’s normal! 🙂


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