Happiness is a Button Turkey


I figured it was high time to bring out the Thanksgiving decorations. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving gets the short end of the drumstick when it comes to pure volume of decorations.  But what it lacks in volume, it certainly makes up for in quality. For, of all of the holiday-based school art projects, the Turkey Day creations are, by far, my favorite.

I bring you, Exhibit A:  “Pine Cone Turkey with Mae West Feathers.” Why don’tcha come up and see me sometime?

Exhibit B: “Handprint Turkey with Hat.”

Exhibit C: “What I’m Thankful For Pilgrim” – please do read the fine print on this one. At the time, my three year old was apparently most thankful for chicken breasts.

Exhibit D: “The Milk Carton Mayflower” for those apparently non-lactose intolerant pilgrims

And, finally, I bring you this years Exhibit E: “Button Turkey.” My son was tasked with decorating a paper turkey with anything he wanted: crayons, paints, feathers – and my son, a man after my own heart, chose buttons.

Sometimes there’s nothing more wonderful or important than sitting down with my child and making a turkey out of buttons. Luckily, my son was able to find a button in the shape of a hat to really highlight this turkey’s rakish good looks.

When it comes to Thanksgiving craft projects, I’m not a believer in purely “child-based” projects for the holidays.  I think all members of the family can come together and create beautiful pieces that will last a lifetime.

Thankful Jars
My favorites are “Thankful Jars,” which provide a great opportunity for families to work together.

  • Depending upon the number of guests you’ll be having this Thanksgiving, purchase the appropriate number of Mason jars (which you can find at any grocery store).
  • Let your creativity run wild and decorate the jars any way you like. My children and I like to pick out pretty fall-colored ribbon and make construction paper leaves and flowers.
  • Also, we like to take pieces of paper and, in my children’s handwriting, write each guest’s name.
  • Punch holes in the base of each leaf, flower and name card and string enough ribbon through each to tie a bow around the mouth of the jar.
  • Cut four to five strips of white paper for each jar – large enough for your guests to write one thing for which they are thankful.

As a pre-dinner activity, have everyone fill out their papers, fold them and tuck them inside their Thankful Jars. At dinner, go around the table, allowing everyone to read theirs aloud. The best part is that you can save particularly special ones.

Unfortunately, for my husband (the consummate Yankee fan), I saved his. Derek Jeter and Katie? At least I made the cut.

Table Runner

Another of my favorite family projects is a handmade table runner. Because I’m something of a paper nut, I had the bright idea to create my own table runner out of wrapping paper.

So, gathering all of my crafty courage, I visited The Container Store. My sons and I found two beautiful papers, one brown floral for an accent and one that looked like cream-colored linen as a base. We also picked up a large spool of satin ribbon to match the papers.

  • Once you have found wrapping paper that best suits your Turkey Day color scheme, measure your table and cut one of the papers (which will serve as the base) to cover the length of the table and about a foot and a half wide.
  • Then, take your accent paper and cut it into enough 1-by-1-foot sections to span the length of the base.
  • Glue those accent sections onto the base paper, leaving about an inch in between each section.
  • Take a hole punch and put holes every six inches along the perimeter of the runner.
  • String the entire length of the ribbon through those holes and tie in a pretty bow at the end.

I love my table runner and have used it on everyday occasions!

I know full well that I will be that mother who consistently breaks out the art projects from years gone by as a form of holiday decoration. And I will blow the dust off of the Milk Carton Mayflower each Thanksgiving. And the Dinner Plate Heart (don’t ask) each Valentine’s Day. And the Athletic Sock Snowman each Christmas.  And I will smile at the time gone by and the small hands that made each treasure .

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