Learning to be grateful and say “thank you” isn’t always the easiest lesson to teach–or learn. In a season that often seems to focus on overindulgence, being joyful and thankful for the things we already have can be left by the wayside. This week, explore some ways to help your children–and yourself–slow down, take stock, practice and express gratitude, and revel in the joy of God’s promises this season. Explore these ideas for cultivating a whole season of joy and gratitude to take right into the new year!

Gratitude and Joy in Presence, More than Presents

Focus on the Family addresses a culture of entitlement in their “Gratitude” series, and offers tips for teaching gratitude to children–no matter how young–who sometimes do not realize how much they have to be grateful for.

This gratitude scavenger hunt from Let’s Get Together is a lovely way to explore your surroundings and share your unique blessings. This is a great activity to incorporate into your holiday celebrations. If you’re connecting with friends or family virtually, this is also a fun activity to share ahead of time, then let each family or participant share their findings with the group.

This blog post from Kids of Integrity shares a variety of joyful ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus, without focusing on giving or receiving material presents.

Gratitude and Joy through Challenges

But what if your look back at this past year isn’t all rosy? Health issues, financial difficulties, and family problems can make it hard to focus on and express gratitude. How do you help your children–and yourself–cultivate a heart of gratitude in difficult and unhappy situations?

The author of this blog post includes a list of Bible verses to read, write, and remember in times of hardship and fear.

This “Thankfulness No Matter What” lesson plan from Ministry to Children draws on the story of Jehoshaphat from 2 Chronicles to demonstrate God’s enduring love, and includes a Bible reading, application lesson, and craft.

A gorgeous gratitude tree is a lovely way to display a reminder of everything your family has to be thankful for. You can easily use different colored craft papers to tie in with your home decor or to highlight seasonal decorations.

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