The first Thanksgiving was celebrated amongst the Native Americans and Pilgrims as a feast that lasted three days after their first harvest. The colonists were accustomed to setting aside time to give thanks to God for their blessings. From military battles to survival, they had much to be thankful for and sometimes the celebrations would last for days and would include prayer. Today, Thanksgiving traditions still center around food, but often the gratitude component gets edged out by football games, preparing for Black Friday shopping and putting up Christmas decorations. Families and friends often find themselves struggling to find ways to reflect on being grateful together. April George and Kerry Maunus saw that need in their families and created Turkey on the Table®.
George and Maunus are two mompreneurs on a mission to make change. Created with the desire to develop gratitude in their children, this activity also reinforces the traditions that embrace the spirit and meaning of Thanksgiving. The Turkey on the Table® kit includes an adorable knit turkey, a book, marker, and Thankful Feathers®. The family activity begins with a featherless turkey, whose Thankful Feathers® are added daily in November, until it is fully dressed with “thanks” on Thanksgiving Day. It can also be used as a Thanksgiving Day activity to create a visual display of gratitude with the extended family.
Kerry Maunus, co-creator and author of Turkey on the Table® shares why they created Turkey on the Table®.
“We wanted our children to have a sense of gratitude for the things they have. Gratitude in children increases happiness, and has a positive effect on their emotional well-being.” “We hope the book and activity brings families together, and helps them in appreciating and articulating everything they have to be thankful for.”
‘Giving back’ is an equally important component of Turkey on the Table®, and every single purchase does just that, by providing 10 meals to people in need through their partnership with Feeding America®. To date, Turkey on the Table® has provided over 547,000 meals to Feeding America®, and the goal is to hit the 1 million meals by the end of 2018.
“We take so much for granted, and having food on our table is one of them” co-creator April George says. “There are so many families who count on donations from their local food bank, and our mission is to provide meals for as many people as possible.”
Let the trees of the forest sing,let them sing for joy before the Lord,for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;his love endures forever.Cry gather us and deliver us from the nations,that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” 1 Chronicles 16:33-35
Give thanks. Being grateful shouldn’t just be limited to Thanksgiving. Take time this week to let someone in your life know that you are thankful for them. It could be a family member, friend, teacher, colleague, or someone you interact with on a daily basis like a barista. Write them a note or give them a small treat and let them know why you appreciate them. Maybe it is something you saw them do or maybe it is a character quality you appreciate. For November, consider getting a Turkey on the Table® for your family or small group. As you gather together write down and share what your feathers are. This can also be a great gift for your child’s classroom. Write down the date on your feathers, that way you can look back over the years and see what you shared.
Reflect. It can be easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holidays. Take a step back and take time to give thanks to God. It could be going on a walk and thanking him for the creation around you. It could be writing a letter or in your journal about all the ways He has provided for your family throughout the year or even thanking Him for being there through a difficult situation. Even if you are in the midst of a trial or challenging situation, thank God. Being grateful can often help our perspective on a situation. Rather than focusing on all of the negative things, we can see the small details, which can help us to see God at work in the midst of our troubles.
Give back. Think of a way that you can serve together as a family, small group or group of friends. It could be volunteering together at a local ministry or at your church. It could be making a meal or buying groceries for a family that needs some help. Ask your pastor or small group leader for ideas too. While many people want to feed the homeless during this season, consider working with an organization that serves the needs of this community year-round. They will know the best ways to get involved and have opportunities for you to serve rather than just showing up and giving one meal.
For more information on Turkey on the Table®, click here.
We were given a Turkey on the Table® but all of our thoughts and opinions are our own.