Friday, December 14, 2012

Creating a tapestry of thankfulness!

Last year I had the privilege of hearing husband and wife team Jack and Kathy Stockman speak at a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. They run a ministry called "Celebrations and Traditions", whose mission is to "inspire and assist people in building families, friendships, and faith through the development of meaningful and fun celebrations and traditions." You can find them on Facebook under "celebrations and traditions" or at They have great ideas for special celebrations throughout the year. Guess what? They inspired me, and one of their ideas led to a new favorite family tradition: the thankfulness tablecloth! 

4 generations, and LOTS to be thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner 2012!
I think this tradition resonated with me for two reasons. First, it's really cool! Second, it is SO EASY to do! The Stockmans suggested taking a plain white tablecloth, and choosing one color of sharpie (or other permanent marker) for each year. We've found that the fine point markers work best. Set the Thanksgiving or Christmas table with your special cloth. Note: my "special" cloth cost around $10 online. Then comes the cool part. Have each person in your family trace their hand, and write something they're thankful for, or a way they've seen God work in their life that year. That's it! For the following years, select a different color. Over time, you'll develop a tapestry of handprints, and a visual reminder of God's faithfulness to your family. Beautiful!

We started this tradition at Thanksgiving last fall when my side of the family was gathered together, then the tablecloth traveled up to Minnesota with us for Christmas to capture my husband's side of the family too. As it turns out, 2011 was a special year on BOTH sides.  Seeing the tiny footprints of two new babies, and the handprints of newly two newly adopted teenagers from that year is truly special. My grandmother is 91, so I hope that someday my girls will look back with love seeing their small hands next to hers. And it's priceless knowing that your 3 year-old nephew is thankful for "church and breakfast!"

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? As I've found, it's always a great time to start a new one. Especially when it's easy and meaningful!

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