Be Thankful Everyday
Cut out leaves from construction paper (approx 5" x 3") and then a few weeks before Thanksgiving send out a short letter to all your guests, the leaf and a blank index card.
The leafs were all different shapes and pretty fall colors and the letter instructed each guest to list 3 of their favorite things (Examples: book, time of day, movie, type of soda, movie, food, dessert, etc - anything and I asked that they try to think of items that others wouldn’t necessarily know) on one side of the leaf and their name on the other side of the leaf.
On the index card they are to list the 3 things they were most thankful for that year (it had to be a specific thing - not just generic like "family", "health", etc). Be sure to tell them not to share their answers with ANYONE.
Be sure to remind everyone to take a few minutes to complete the leaf and index card - giving each SOME thought and to bring them on Thanksgiving.
Before Thanksgiving arrives be sure to make a blank set of construction paper leafs and put them away until Thanksgiving.
The night before thanksgiving paint a huge tree with bare branches. Our submitter, painted it on a sliding glass door but you should be able to do it on a really big piece of cardboard and or paper. (You can buy paints intended for window art at a craft store). Above the tree I painted "Be Thankful Everyday...even for the Little Things! As the guests arrive collect the leaves and index cards. Once you get them all - sneak up to another room and copy all the leaves onto the new blank leafs - so they are all in the same handwriting.
Then number the leaves based on the number of people attending 1 – 10 or 1 – 16, etc…
Make a corresponding list of which numbered leaf belongs to each person (this "answer key" is for later) ex: #1 - Joyce, #2 - Jen, #3 - Glenn, etc. Then also number all the index cards 1 thru 15 (no need to re-copy the index cards - just number them).
Then tape all the leaves to our tree on the glass door - it looked great! (Use a wall if no door) I then rounded everyone up and gave them each an answer sheet - a paper with a list of everyone's name on it. Tell everyone to write which number leaf belonged to each person! Not as easy as it sounds! Once everyone has completed their sheet collect all.
the answer sheets. Then read each leaf aloud, score the sheets and announce who it belonged to!
This takes a while to pull together, but you really learn a lot about each other.
You can give a prize for the person with the most correct answers or thank everyone for participating and move on to dinner, dessert or a special snack.
What about the Index Cards?
Right before dinner either at the table or in a separate room have everyone get in a circle and then hand out the index cards. (make sure that no has their own card) Then tell the person with card #1 to read theirs aloud first. Then #2, then #3 etc… The cards remained anonymous - and this made for a neat and thoughtful "Grace" before dinner!