Easy DIY Thanksgiving traditions

Don’t panic.  With just a bit of creativity your family can have a beautiful Thanksgiving with some fun DIY crafts that will provide memories for years to come.  

One of our favorite traditions around Thanksgiving is the “Thankfulness Tree”. Ours was a Do-it-yourself tree made of construction paper that we loved creating each year.  

I guess that year we had fancy post-its to stick up - no cutting out oval leaves.

Once the base of the tree was up against the wall and the leaves were cut out, we would put them in a basket.  Then, with all the enticements a mom could muster, I would encourage everyone to fill up that tree with Thankfulness leaves as the holiday approached.  Even the day of, as family and friends arrived, the kids would bring the basket of leaves around in the hope of setting a record of the fullest tree thus far!  .

When the joyful gluttony of the evening was over and before a certain Grandpa slipped into his food coma, we would take the leaves off the tree and take turns reading them.  Sometimes we would have to guess who wrote which one (that was my favorite part - when they weren’t signed).  

Yes, maybe it was a corny tradition, but it reminded us all of what we had to be grateful for and what the purpose of this, my favorite holiday, really is.

Here are 3 more top Thanksgiving traditions we love:

#1 Create the smells of the holidays

The easiest was is to just boil water in an old pot (just please keep an eye on it and please put it on a back burner),  then turn it down to a simmer and add a few organic whole cloves  ($9) and a dash of cinnamon ($8).  The smells always put everyone is a good mood. (sometimes even make the dreaded over vacation home work better)

Alternately, you can let the kids take turns each night to light a fragrant candle.  We always lit those long matches for the fire place and handed them to the kids to light the candle, but now they have flameless USB lighters on Amazon.  (let me know if you like them)   For a limited time you can get 40% off these beautiful and lovely smelling Chesapeake Bay candles using this promo code:  40SPREADJOY

#2  Kids Table Place Mat

Using kraft paper ($21) and really fun chalkboard makers  ($15) to make kids placemats.  

Just trace around plates, draw in utensils and let the kids personalize to their hearts content!

#3  Make a Thanksgiving Banner.

Cut out pictures from magazines or even your own pictures if you have a picture printer.  They range from $30 up to $147 will all the bells and whistles.

Attach the pictures using modge podge ($7) or even staples to a burlap banner ($6).

Hang them in the dining room or over the fireplace or anywhere the kids can point out all the things they are thankful for.  Each year you can create new ones and what a fun thing to pass down to the next generation


What traditions do you have around Thanksgiving in your family?  I’d love to hear in the comments below

Take our daughters and sons to work day 2017

Some of you know, in addition to my beautiful glittery life with Sheila Jordan Face & Body Art, I also work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. On April 27th we celebrate “take our daughters and sons to work day”.  It’s a pretty well organized volunteer program that employees put together for their children.  The kids get quite a day of seeing robots in the OR and and inside look at health care.   I remember when this event began in 1993 it was “take your daughters to work day” and my friend’s daughter just sat on the floor in her mom’s office and simply had a chance to see mom at work and maybe play with her calculator.  I like it both ways. Of course, I’m happy to bring face painting fun to corporate events that offer kids a day at work that makes work seem like a party! (wouldn’t it be great if it always was!) And you can’t have a child following a surgeon around on their basic day in the OR.  But I miss the simplicity of the basic “watch mommy or daddy work” idea. It’s a noble goal that Take our daughters and sons to work Foundation has strived for which is meant to expand opportunities and transform the lives of millions of girls and boys. What’s been your experience? a large corporate event? or a small intimate experience?  Which to do prefer?  Let me know…

Here’s a link to a step by step plan for setting up your own “Take our daughters and sons to work day” https://daughtersandsonstowork.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Bright-Ideas-Guide.pdf  and of course don’t forget to contact us for the face and body art!  www.sheilajordanart.com  #COUNTONME

The holidays suck

You know you have a moment at some point in the 8 weeks of craziness called “The Holidays” that you think that.  But I’m telling you I have a plan to minimze that feeling:

Give something, Get something more.  Haven’t you heard this before?  Everyone from the Rockerfellers to Tiny Tim know it’s true.  So this season when you look at all the shiny “must haves” in the windows, happy families on TV and skinny-holiday-cookie-eating co-workers, just breath and remember happiness is so much bigger that all of that.  Find something in this world you want to see changed and make an effort.  Money is great, but doing something more physical is even better.  And best of all is turning this one time gesture into a repeating habit that is a blessing to others throught the year.  Here are some of my favorite ideas:

**  Visit at a nursing home - bring friends to do crafts, sing-a-longs or just visit.   http://www.freebiefindingmom.com/25-grandparents-day-crafts/

**  Write cards and letters to our service men and women - need I say more?  They deserve a few minutes of our time don’t you think?  https://www.operationgratitude.com/

**  Be Big - Big Brothers/Big Sisters or another mentoring program.  Usually you can customize how much commitment you can give but anything is worth it. This link is for where I am in New York City, use it or search for something near you: http://www.bigsnyc.org/how-to-become-a-volunteer-mentor-faqs

**  Teach what you know - You have great skills that can be shared through volunteering.  Can you read? (I know you can), paint faces (I know someone who can) or do needle work or crafts? If you really don’t think you have anything to share I encourage you to contact me and after talking for a few minutes I’m sure we could come up with a great idea of what you could share.  I’ll be using these holiday designs and more to (hopefully) bring joy to kids and adults this year:  Follow me on instagram here

**  Lastly, tell as few people as possible.  I love the verse from the Bible translated like this:  “So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it with trumpet fanfare. This is what hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets in order to be praised by people. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward.” Matthew 6:2

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