Edmonds Kind of Play: The Grateful Turkey and other ways to help kids appreciate holidays

Jen Marx
Jen Marx

I have noticed a trend on Facebook, as well as in “real life.” Parents are openly worried about how to keep their children grateful in a world where you don’t even have to set an alarm on a Saturday to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I worry about this myself, a lot, and while I had it easier than my parents and they had it easier than theirs, our kids live in a time where giving thanks is getting overshadowed by getting presents.

While I have in NO way fully succeeded at getting my kids to see how great they have it, I do have a couple of things I try to incorporate, emphasis on the “try.” The first is a craft and the second is giving. I have a few great ways to give locally and hopefully show the kids how giving can be as great as receiving.

Let’s start with the craft. While I tend to tell people we do this craft “every year,” after further review it turns out we have only done it twice. I do intend to do it every year. We call it “The Grateful Turkey” and it’s a craft I found when I had energy for that kind of stuff. We are going to do it again this weekend, for at least one week of focusing on what we are thankful for.

The Grateful Turkey is a cute holiday-themed way to write down things you are thankful for and have them displayed in the house. The plan is to keep the focus on what we have and not what we want. The basics to make The Grateful Turkey are: Thanksgiving-colored construction paper (brown, red, yellow, orange,) scissors, glue, markers and some tape for hanging it up on the wall. If you are so inclined, googly eyes and other stuff they sell at Hobby Lobby make this a little more of a “Martha Stewart” craft. Now there are two ways to make this craft — the one you do when your mother-In-law is in town and the one you do when you only have enough energy to keep one eye open at a time. I’ll cover both.

"Fancy" grateful turkey
“Fancy” grateful turkey

The Fancy* way to do it is to take the trace your kids feet onto the brown construction paper and either cut it out or have them do it, depending on your patience level. The two feet will serve as the turkey’s body, the heels overlap and kinda fan out to make the bottom/breast of the turkey. Then trace the kid’s, or even the whole family’s, hands on the red, orange, and yellow paper. Cut out the traced hands and glue them to the back of the turkey/feet cut outs, they will serve as the feathers. Once you glue all the pieces together you can draw a face on and hopefully it is better than the one I drew in the picture. Use the feathers to write different things you are thankful for.

*Fancy is relative here, if you Google grateful/gratitude and turkey your searches will come back with pages that include hot glue guns, paint and people who are actually crafty, making parenting look easy. If you look close enough in the picture of mine, you are likely to find dog hair.

Basic turkey
“Basic” turkey

The really basic way is to cut out a circle for the turkey’s body, a rectangle for the turkey’s neck and a second, smaller circle for the turkey’s head. If you slept all night, go crazy and make a beak, feet and a waddle. If you can draw at all, then you can go that route for the head and face. Then cut out different-length feathers in the red, orange, and yellow paper and glue them to the turkey/brown circle.

It is fun to save them and look at them each year. As you can see, the fancier way has cute reminders of how little their hands used to be and the easy way looks a little better. I prefer the more homemade look myself, weird-eyed turkey and all.

Local giving: Giving Trees, Holly House, snacks for homeless kids, Days for Girls

Many of the posts I’ve read from exasperated parents and “gimme-gimme” kids have included questions about where to donate locally. I thought I would add a few here, which show there are people in need everywhere, including Edmonds.

If you frequent the Frances Anderson Center at 700 Main St., like I do, you have seen the Christmas tree next to the front desk. This is one of the two “Giving Trees” in Edmonds serving those in need through Volunteers of America Western Washington. The second tree is at Edmonds City Hall, 121 Fifth Ave. N. The trees have tags on them with the names of a local child or adult, along with a gift they would like or even need. Just pull the tag and return the wrapped gift to City Hall or The Frances Anderson Center by Dec. 13.

Holly House is a local organization that serves over 2,000 low-income children in 15 schools in the Edmonds School District. Donations go directly to families during a “shopping event,” where pre-registered parents can pick up items for their family at no charge. Holly House collects donations all year and there are currently some specific needs for the 2013 event. Per their website, they are looking for 900 pairs of pajamas – infant to 10-year-olds, toys and gifts for infants to 17-year-olds, stuffed animals — all sizes — and individually-wrapped candy for the stockings. Some local schools are having drives where you can send the items to school with your kids or drop boxes can be found at Fred Meyer on 196th in Lynnwood, Armadillo Storage Office at 23031 Highway 99 in Edmonds, or MS Helping Hands at 409 Howell Way in Edmonds. Check out the Holly House website for more information and additional drop box locations.

Recently, we learned about a local Edmonds mom, Melody McMillan-Nelms, teaming up with Revelations Yogurt and Dessert Bar to gather snacks for the almost 250 homeless students in the Edmonds School District. I contacted McMillan-Nelms and she confirmed that your donation of individually wrapped, portable snacks can still be dropped off at Revelations, 527 Main St., and they will be delivered to The Edmonds School District. In fact, another delivery just went to the school district this week. I am particularly touched by this effort as I watched it go from a post on the Edmonds Moms Facebook page to a collaboration of local moms and a local business to help kids who were hungry on the bus. Donations are also welcome at the Edmonds School District Office, 20420 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood, right next to Edmonds Community College.

Another Edmonds Mom, April Haberman, heads the Edmonds chapter of Days for Girls, an international feminine hygiene program. Haberman said, in a post on the Edmonds Moms Facebook page, that around two-thirds of the homeless children in our district are girls and many miss days of school each month because they don’t have the supplies that they need. You can find the Days for Girls wish list HERE and donations can also be dropped off at Revelations Yogurt and Dessert Bar, as well as, the Edmonds School District Office. You can attend an afternoon bazaar benefiting Days for Girls at RevYo this Saturday, Nov. 23 from 1-4 p.m.

— By Jen Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds Mom of two young boys, is a traffic reporter by dawn and writer and PBJ maker by day. She is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can contact Jen with your local event at play@myedmondsnews.com or find her trying to make sense of begging kids to ” just eat the mac n cheese” at SnackMomSyndrome.com. If you have a kid-friendly event you’d like to share, email her at play@myedmondsnews.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.