Wednesday, November 12, 2008

THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS: THANKFUL BOARD


{Thankful board circa 2004}

We have a chalkboard in our kitchen that is quite literally the center of our universe. Anything important, and even a bunch of trivialities, make their way to "the chalkboard." (I use quotations here because that's how we refer to it, as if it's the only chalkboard on the planet.) So as Thanksgiving approached several years ago when Pumpkin and Petunia were still toddlers (preschool and pre-preschool, respectively), I thought it would be cute to record what each child was thankful for and the chalkboard was the natural place for such a list.  As a family, we gathered around the chalkboard and I asked each child what they were thankful for. Pumpkin, being the oldest took the lead and dictated his list as I recorded it verbatim. Petunia followed and the list was ceremoniously placed back on the wall in the kitchen. 

When family and friends arrived for Thanksgiving, the list was the centerpiece of the discussion and we all had fun seeing thanks through the eyes of toddlers. When it came time to decorate for Christmas, I cringed at the thought of erasing the chalkboard. The list was made on a whim and I hadn't really thought it through. How could I erase something that came straight from my children's hearts? What kind of monster was I?! Then I realized (duh!) that I could take a picture. So I got out the camera, took a shot or two of the list and had the photo developed (yes, it was that long ago). Only then when I had the photo of the list in hand, did I erase it from the board. 

Since then, every year the children make their thankful lists on the chalkboard. They are old enough now to write it themselves and we have added a third list these past couple of years for Peanut. This is the first year that she will understand well enough to dictate her thankfuls herself and we're really looking forward to hear what she has to say. My husband and I do write our own lists, but we hang them separately so as to not take up space on the chalkboard that the kids would like to fill. 

What I didn't realize that first year as I took a picture of the chalkboard before erasing the list was that these photos, now taken every year on the day we begin preparing the house for Christmas, would become one of the most meaningful records that our family keeps. Marking moments in time, seeing the constants on the list each year: grandparents, cousins, the beach. And the things that change as each child grows and matures: Rescue Heroes lose their spot to baseball; the Wiggles lose their spot to High School Musical. I cannot wait to see what the list holds this year; there are always some suprises. Personally, I am always thankful for children who value the people in their lives enough to always put them at the top of their lists.

Remember to link to or write about your family's traditions in the comments. I would love to hear all about the things that make this holiday special for you!

6 comments:

Suzy said...

I love your thanksgiving board! We may adopt your board for our family.

LeAnn said...

Great idea! I bet you enjoy comparing the children's handwriting through the years.

jennifer@love,laughter,and lyrics said...

oh. I love this idea!

kimberly/tippy toes said...

Great idea! I love how on Pumpkin's side, Sito's pool ranked higher than Sito!

Pumpkin Petunia said...

LOL Kim! Hey, priorities. He needs something to keep him busy all summer!

Pumpkin Petunia said...

Now that I look at it, Sito's pool ranked *much* higher than Sito, didn't it? In Sito's defense, it IS a really nice pool!