I must have read about the idea in one of the craft books I used to check out from the library, back in the good old days when my children were very small and outside demands were few.
The premise was simple – Together, my children and I made (oh let’s be honest, I made it- Isn’t that how these things always go?) a turkey out of construction paper, glued him to a piece of poster board, and decorated the edges with brightly colored fall leaves. I hung the poster board up in our kitchen a week before Thanksgiving.
The only thing different about this turkey from what you see in this photo is that in the beginning, he was bare. Tailfeatherless.
Beneath him on a table was a basket full of construction paper feathers and a glue stick. At the beginning of Thanksgiving week, I asked all of our family members to write down something they were thankful on one of the feathers for every day or two, and glue it to the back of the turkey. That Wednesday, my parents and grandmother arrived and added feathers of their own. By Thanksgiving Day, our turkey’s tailfeathers were plentiful.
And what started out as a fun and simple idea for a craft turned into something that brings tears to my eyes every time I look at this photo.
From my oldest stepdaughter: “I am thankful for my sister.”
From my father: “I am thankful for my beautiful wife.”
From my husband: “I am thankful that God has blessed my family with so many gifts.”
From my son: “I am thankful for cookies and candy and sweet treats!”
And from my daughter: “I am thankful that I can snuggle with my mommy.”
That last one is especially hard for me to read, three Thanksgivings later. My daughter is seven now, and she doesn’t snuggle with me nearly as much as she used to. Sob.
Our Thanksgiving turkey has become a recurring (I can’t say annual, because some years I forget!) family tradition—one that I plan to continue even after the children are grown. It’s a simple, easy way to remind us of why we’re celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s not for the Macy’s parade on television, or the cooking, or the football games or the food.
It’s because we’re thankful, each in our own way, for each other, and for all God has given us.
Lindsay Ferrier is wife to WSMV-TV reporter Dennis Ferrier, mom to a 4-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl, and stepmom to 18 and 20-year-old girls. Her family is currently “between pets” and she’s trying to keep it that way for as long as possible. Lindsay currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee and is the author of Suburban Turmoil.