Inside: Use this printable gratitude pumpkin to help kids focus on why they’re grateful throughout the month of November.
I love traditions and I absolutely love holidays.
I have boxes and boxes of decorations in my basement.
But I have never loved Thanksgiving. I love the food and I love spending time with the family, but Thanksgiving was always the gateway to my favorite holiday of all.
But all of that changed when we started our new favorite fall family tradition: our Gratitude Pumpkin.
Each October, we save one giant pumpkin we don’t carve into jack o’lanterns and we use it to help us focus on gratitude and being thankful for what we have.
So every night between Halloween and Thanksgiving as we eat dinner, we write on our pumpkin with a sharpie everything we are thankful for.
We start with the big things like family and friends and move onto the ridiculous and silly things we’re thankful for like Starbucks and disc golf and ice cream trucks.
And it’s the highlight of my November every year and makes me enjoy Thanksgiving so much more because it’s always the centerpiece of our table and the focus of every family dinner for a month.
But the bummer is, the morning after Thanksgiving, our Gratitude Pumpkin goes in the trash. Which feels tragic, even if we do take tons of pictures of it.
So this year, we’re doing something new and using these paper Gratitude Pumpkins to document what our kid are grateful for this year.
Why Being Grateful is Essential:
Science has proven time and time again that when we’re feeling sad or depressed or unhappy in anyway, one of the surest ways to get us out of our funk is to focus on why we’re grateful.
Grateful people are happier people.
Happier people live fuller, richer lives because they’re able to then spread their happiness and kindness to other people.
So self-help gurus everywhere will tell you to start the day or end the day with writing down what we’re grateful for.
Because when we take even just a minute to think about all the good we have in our lives, it gives us essential perspective and reminds us to focus on the good more often.
Now matter how bad we have it, no matter how bad our day, there are things we can be grateful for. And focusing on those things rather than bad, helps us find more inner happiness.
And while gratitude is meant to be a year-round activity, we tend to focus on it in November as we head into Thanksgiving.
And each November, of course, we create our live gratitude pumpkin where we write all the things we’re grateful for around the pumpkin until we reach the bottom of the pumpkin.
But now, we’ll also be using a printable paper version of our Gratitude Pumpkin so we don’t only have photos to remember what we’re grateful for.
And the paper printable gratitude pumpkin is perfect for students and classrooms.
How to Use this Printable Gratitude Pumpkin:
1. Download and print the gratitude pumpkin (download it below).
2. Choose the version that works best for you. You can choose color or black and white to save ink.
If you pick the blank pumpkin, you can write what you’re grateful for around the pumpkin like our real gratitude pumpkin.
If you pick the pumpkin with long lines or with dotted lines, you can write what you’re grateful for in sentences.
And if you pick the pumpkin with two columns of lines, you can write what you’re thankful for as a list.
3. Each day or evening, write one or two things you’re thankful for on the printable pumpkin. Remember, you can write down big things you’re thankful for, and silly, little things you’re thankful for.
It can be done in class or as homework.
4. By the end of Novemeber, your gratitude pumpkin will be full and you’ll see everything you’re so lucky to have in your life.
Then you won’t need to throw it away because it’s a rotted gourd. Instead, you can save it as a reminder of everything that was important to you this year.
And you’ll head into December and the craziness of shopping and buying and wish lists with a grateful and thankful heart.
When we’re grateful and thankful, we’ll remember to focus more on giving to others rather than on getting. Which will make December so much more meaningful for all of us.