Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Thanksgiving – A Festival to Say Thank You for Turkeys?

turkey cakesAs an outsider ‘Thanksgiving’ is a bit of a mystery.  My basic understanding is that is a time to say thank you, get together with family and eat a big turkey meal and is associated with harvest festival.

However, as a young child you might be forgiven for believing that it is a celebration of turkeys.  Whilst browsing Pinterest a few weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by the amount of turkey crafts. There were a few posts about ‘trees of thanks’ but every other Thanksgiving activity included turkeys. I asked my 9-year-old

You’ve learned about Thanksgiving at school. What do turkeys have to do with Thanksgiving?

I have no idea.

Did they eat turkey at the first Thanksgiving?

I think so.

I know that turkey is eaten at Thanksgiving but then we eat turkey at Christmas and we would think it a little weird if everyone started making turkey crafts for Christmas.

I did a bit if searching on the internet.  The origins of Thanksgiving come from the arrival of the pilgrim fathers to America from Plymouth, England.  The journey across the ocean on the Mayflower was dangerous and many lives were lost.  Coinciding with the European Harvest Festival the pilgrims decided to hold a feast to thank God for their safe arrival and invited the native Americans to join them.  It is suggested that 4 turkeys (a native American bird) were killed for the feast (though it is likely they ate many other local fowl, game and seafood too).  The turkey came to be known as a symbol of affluence (even in Victorian times only the very richest Europeans could afford to eat turkey at Christmas) . I assume therefore, that the turkey at thanksgiving symbolises a way expressing thanks for prosperity.

I was interested to find out if my-5-year old knew what Thanksgiving was.

I know what it is. It’s when we give lots of stuff.

She remembers her friend across the road bringing her pretzels last year.

Why do we give stuff?

To say Thank You

I wondered if she knew anything about the first Thanksgiving.  I told them about the first settlers here from Europe.

How do you think they got here?

On a boat.

I think it would make a lot of sense to help their understanding of Thanksgiving if they could understand how difficult it is to travel on a boat without an engine for thousands of miles across the ocean.  I  looked for a book from the Library to help explain. None of them seemed quite right until we found this one, a simple description of the pilgrims journey from the point of view of the children.

The Pilgrims first tahnksgiving

I decided to take the idea to a free build play session where we began by reading the book.

The children were very interested in the fact that the pilgrims could only eat certain foods on the boat like hard biscuits.

But I like hard biscuits” said one child.

“Yes but not if you ate them all the time.”

How did they manage the journey without getting scurvy?” asked another.

“A good question, many of them didn’t”

We brainstormed some of the reasons the pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving

why did the pilgrims celebrate thanksgiving.A parent had donated large cardboard boxes for us to make a replica of the Mayflower. Fourteen children worked collaboratively to build the boat.  They added a mast and sail, lifeboats, steering, roof, a plank and loaded the boat up with food from the play kitchen.

model of the mayflower

It has been left up for the children to continue to play with and develop their own stories.

I think that makes more sense than making a turkey out of a pine cone.

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What Would I Do Without My Kids? The 2 Sides of the Coin.

As I lifted my 2-year-old out of her cot to embark on the school run and she nuzzled sleepily into my neck, I held her firmly and asked myself ‘what would I do without my kids?’

When she greets me with an enthusiastic ‘mummy’ or smiles at me and laughs at the things I do that nobody else deems funny.

When I share stories with my girls and the 2 little ones curl up, one under each arm.

When I watch my eldest growing up into a wonderful young lady with a mind of her own, a caring nature and an amazing bond with her dad.

When I’m having a rest and my 4-year-old says ‘I’ll close the door mummy so no-one disturbs you’.

When I say to my 2-year-old ‘it’s time for nap now’ and she replies ‘ok mummy’

Each time I watch them growing into bright, funny, confident, beautiful girls I am proud and thankful. At those times what would I do without them?

On the other hand

When I’m rushing to get out the door and my 2-year-old decides she must put on her shoes herself.

When orders are being barked from all directions at the breakfast table but I haven’t yet even managed my first cup of coffee.

When I’m struggling around the supermarket with my 4-year-old clinging to the side of the trolley, blocking up the aisles and my 2-year-old crying because she can’t have a chocolate bar.

When my 4-year-old wets herself for the 4th time that day .

When all hell breaks loose in the car because my 8-year-old wants to sing along to ‘Don’t Like Mondays’ but my 4-year-old wants to be the only one who is allowed to sing.

When the chaos of mess and noise is just too much….  I  ask myself again, ‘What would I do without my kids?’

  • I’d travel and write.
  • I’d go running with my husband and meet him for lunch
  • I’d have a social life after 6pm
  • I’d get involved in theatre again and be able to rehearse 3 times a week.
  • I’d never be seen in McDonalds drinking coffee with my jumper inside out and a friend who didn’t even notice.

But…..

What would I really do without my kids?

Some days I’d struggle to get out of bed or venture out of the house and I’d cry every time I saw a family enjoying themselves.

They’ve pulled me through the toughest times, giving me purpose, hope and unconditional love.

Without them life would be grey.

I’d never be without them.

blowing bubbles