Thanksgiving is a time of remembrance. Thankful stones are an easy and meaningful tradition to incorporate into your family. Although I wish I had begun making these with my kids when they were young, now is as good a time as any to begin building an alter, so to speak. In Biblical times, the people of Israel built stone alters as a way to remember. Your family can do the same.
Before Thanksgiving, or over the holiday weekend, create a special stepping stone with your immediate family. During the dinner itself, your guests can play a part in making an elegant table setting that can be saved from year to year.
Family Thanksgiving stone
Each year have your family pour one concrete stepping stone. Decorate as desired. Encourage family members to gather small trinkets that remind them of special things that happened over the past year. Hand prints, names or simply the year can be pressed into the soft cement before it sets.
Follow the directions on a large bag of quick-setting cement to make a wet cement in a large bucket. Once it is properly mixed and of the consistency of oatmeal, pour into the bottom of a sturdy box, such as a large pizza box. Smooth the surface with a paint stick and then let set for five minutes. Use a stick to carve the date in the wet cement or use shiny pebbles or marbles to create the numbers. Let the stone dry for at least 48 hours in a cool, dry place, before tearing the box away.
One family stone a year creates an intriguing glimpse into your changing family. Display the stones in a prominent place in your garden throughout the year to make your own Hall of Fame. Take a walk to this area to admire the different stones after dinner.
Thanksgiving place-setting thankful stones
Thanksgiving stones can also be used as the main part of your Thanksgiving table decor. While the holiday is often expressed in abundance, consider going the opposite direction with a Zen-like decorating scene.
Smooth, light-colored rocks can be gathered from the beach, or purchased from a garden center, craft, or home improvement store. You will also need Sharpie markers. Black sharpies work fine, or you can go colorful with a collection of the Coleurs Café markers which includes hues such as pomegranate, blueberry, hibiscus and mocha.
Write each guest's name on one side of a smooth rock. Use it to mark each individual's place setting. Leave Sharpies out for guests to write a word on their stone that expresses something they are thankful for this year.
More stones can be placed in a large glass bowl on the buffet for guests to embellish before dinner. These extra thankful stones can then be thoughtfully placed down the center of the table with the thankful words showing.
A good way to do this is to have a solid color table cloth on the table and a table runner down the center. Ask your guests to place their rocks one at a time around the center while saying what they are thankful for. Small gourds and votive candles can complete the simple look.
Combining these two ideas, the family stone and the thankful stones, your family has a solid record of things they have been thankful for in the past. These prompts can be used as intriguing story starters at the dinner table.
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