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Crafts for Every Holiday

Thanksgiving: November

What is the true meaning of Thanksgiving? Do you really know its history? Who made Thanksgiving a national holiday and where do the foods and customs we have today originate?

You may believe the way we celebrate Thanksgiving is the way the Pilgrims did -- but you're wrong. Our celebration actually dates back to Victorian times. The modern observance of Thanksgiving was the result of a campaign initiated by Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey's Lady's Book, a popular Victorian women's magazine. Mrs. Hale almost single-handedly created the Thanksgiving we celebrate today. Before her efforts, Thanksgiving was an irregularly celebrated occasion that differed from state to state.

Often, with so much attention focused on Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving is given only cursory attention. Don't let this happen in your family!

Have each member of the family create a gratitude journal they can keep all year long, perhaps even daily. Each day, write down five things you are thankful for. It may be difficult to think of five things at first, but as you start looking more closely at the little things, you'll have difficulty sticking with only five (so don't!).

At Thanksgiving dinner, have each person write five things they're grateful for on a slip of paper, roll it up, and secure with a piece of raffia or some other natural material. Collect the scrolls, mix them up, and then redistribute. Have each member of your celebration read their scroll aloud.

Make sure you invite people for dinner who have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving. It's really not much trouble to set the table for one or two more people. Prepare a box of food with your children and take it to someone who is less fortunate or perhaps can't get out to celebrate.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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