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Our sixth grandchild was born earlier this month. Like all my other grandchildren (and, I am sure, yours) she is beautiful. And very advanced.
Seriously. You can tell just by looking at her.
Having six grand darlings doesn’t make me a total expert on the ins and outs of the grandparenting gig. Still, I’ve picked up a few things along the way and can certainly pass on some tips regarding the Habits of Highly Popular Grandparents.
Habits of Highly Popular Grandparents (and Holiday Survival Skills)
Tip Number One: When spending time with the grands, particularly during the festive season, you need a few activities that do not involve sugar.
Your children will thank you for this. It won’t hurt your blood pressure or sanity either.
Showing up with a new and beautifully gift-wrapped book is certain to up your grandparenting popularity. Just make sure that the book you bring is one that you enjoy reading. Because, trust me, you’re going to have to read if 50 times before you go home. Maybe more.
If weather permits, outdoor activities are always a good idea. A visit to the park, a trip to the zoo, or a hike in the woods in search of pretty leaves and rocks is an excellent way to spend meaningful time with your grand darlings. As an added bonus, it gives the kiddos a way to burn off some energy and the opportunity to yell, whoop, and be loud. The fact that you are encouraging them to be loud will definitely earn their admiration.
For bonus points, you can actually participate in the yelling, whooping, and general mayhem. Children love this. Doing so will make you a Very Popular Grammy.
However, if you’re looking to move from being Very Popular to being The Most Popular Grammy Ever, nothing does the trick quite like crafting.
Because the nearest of my grand darlings lives a good 1,800 miles from me, I invented Grammy’s Craft of the Month Club. It helps increase my grandmotherly street credit and lets those delicious darlings know that I am always, always thinking of them, even when I am far away. (Like our recent yarn pumpkin adventure!)
However, while I’m very grateful to the postal service for providing such a wonderful way to stay connected to my distant grand darlings, nothing beats actual face time with my little loves. Whenever I do get to come for a visit, the first thing my grand darlings ask is, “Grammy, what are we going to make this time?
Here I am, last Thanksgiving season, crafting with two of my little darlings, The Llamette and The Macaroon. Aren’t they pure honey?
How to Make A Gratitude Tree
Besides cementing your popularity with the grand darlings, crafting can be an effective means of passing on important skills, values, and life lessons to the next generation. This is never more true than during Thanksgiving.
Sometimes it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the holiday rush that we forget the meaning behind them. Making this Gratitude Tree with the Llamette gave us an opportunity to talk about the meaning behind the holiday and what it means to be grateful for what we have.
While the Llamette is (like all her siblings and cousins) very advanced, at 3 years of age, she didn’t yet have a solid grasp on the definition of gratitude. (She said, “it’s when it’s wonderful and beautiful outside” – which actually seemed pretty close. See what I mean? Advanced.) But she did understand that it’s important to take a moment and think about things we love.
This Gratitute Tree was the perfect framework for that conversation. It also made for a lovely centerpiece and a great “audience participation” activity at the Thanksgiving dinner table, with each guest listing what they are grateful for and hanging leaves on the tree.
Making your own Gratitude Tree couldn’t be simpler.
First, we went for a walk and foraged for branches to use in our tree. (See what I did there? TWO non-sugary activities in one fell swoop. Talk about a Popular Grammy!) Then we spray painted the branches gold and placed them in a vase.
The crafty part came when we cut out leaves from colored card stock. Leaves are a simple shape and if you trace the outline on the card stock first, all but the very littlest family members can participate in the cutting. (Use safety scissors for preschoolers!)
After using a single hole punch to create (you guessed it) a single hole at the end of the leaves, the kids can thread colorful ribbons through each one. Before hanging the leaves on the tree branches, have a discussion about the things you’re thankful for.
Write down each object of gratitude on a leaf, preferably with a pretty gold paint pen.
As you decorate the tree, point out that the more grateful we are, the more beautiful our tree becomes. Depending on the age of your grands, they might not completely grasp the metaphor, but they’ll get the general idea. It might not be a bad reminder to give to yourself either.
I love the look of this Gratitude Tree, but I love the meaning behind it even more.
See, look how much fun we are having! All giggles and curls and smiles.
How to Make Personalized Turkey Place Cards
When hosting a family dinner, part of the fun is incorporating homemade and seasonal accents. I just can’t help myself. Cute and crafty decor is part of what make a special occasion so special.
The moment I saw these turkey place cards on Pinterest, I headed straight to Michaels to stock up on supplies. Once again, the Llamette and I had the best time making them together. I used this tutorial as inspiration. Their googly eyes give the little flock of turkeys quite a startled expression, which I suppose is appropriate if they are watching guests eat turkey!
What you’ll need:
- construction paper
- googly eyes
1. Start by drawing a half circle on a piece of brown paper.
2. Roll up the paper into cones and use a stapler to staple them together in the back.
3. Glue some fancy feathers on the back.
4. Add googly eyes and other paper accents for desired facial features with glue.
5. Let dry.
6. Pick up a fancy gold pen and in your very best handwriting, add the names of your loved ones who will be joining you for Thanksgiving.
Optional: during your meal, make everyone wear their turkey on their head. Because, photo opps.
Here’s the final product!
Pretty sure anyone in their right mind would be willing to spend at least $100 per turkey at a store. But the fun memories that the Llamette and I made while we were making them?
Priceless. Enduring. Something to be truly grateful for.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.