The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving: Teaching Your Children About Thanksgiving and Thankfulness

Teaching Your Children About Thanksgiving and Thankfulness . . .

The focus has been on being thankful in many of the posts this month . . . an attribute that is so important in our lives. It’s important to have a thankful heart, not only during the Thanksgiving season, but every day. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” God wants us to be thankful for all our blessings, many of which go by each day unnoticed.

The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving . . . the “Why”

Last year, as I was thinking about the Thanksgiving season, an idea came to me to write a book to help teach children about Thanksgiving and being thankful. I have been concerned for some time that our children have missed out on many truths about our nation’s history, and about why the Pilgrims came to America in the first place.

If you watch the Bill O’Reilly Show on Fox News, it is evident,  just by watching “Watter’s World”, that there is a problem. Jesse goes to colleges and universities and asks simple questions about our country’s history/ government. Most can’t answer even the simplest questions, like, “Who was the first President of the America?” To me, that borders on the unbelievable. So, I thought, there has to be a way to impart the “why” of Thanksgiving and the attribute of thankfulness in life lessons for children. That’s when “The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving: Teaching Your Children About Thanksgiving and Thankfulness” began.

And, it began with a song . . .

We all know the Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. I’ve always liked it, but even I didn’t know the history of this carol. It seems that several hundred years ago, from 1558 until 1829, the  Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly.  During this era someone wrote this carol as a song to teach young Catholics different aspects of their faith. There were two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a meaning that was “hidden”, known only to members of the Church. Consequently, the children did learn through this song.

Translate that to today, we know, through music research, that things taught through music, or a song, are remembered for decades . . . perhaps for life. Think about the commercials from your childhood, like the Oscar Meyer Weiner tune. With that said, it made sense to change the words to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to the attributes of Thanksgiving and thankfulness to teach the children through song.

The Journey through song . . .

“The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving” begins with Thankfulness . . . being thankful in all things. The journey goes through eleven more verses regarding aspects of thankfulness or facts about the history of the Pilgrims and their journey and the Thanksgiving Feast.

Some of these include:

  • Giving
  • Family
  • Sharing
  • Community
  • Turkeys
  • Pumpkins
  • Hope
  • Pilgrims/ Mayflower and God

  • Squanto, the Massasoit Indians and the Pilgrims

  • A Traditional Thanksgiving Feast

I recommend doing one verse/ activity each day, but your can choose the ones you want to do or do several over the course of a few days. How your do it is based on your time and ideas concerning your own family. It is important to both sing and do.

Singing and Doing . . .

It is not only important to sing the different verses of “The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving”. One must put them also into action . . . DOING some activities to help in the understanding of some of these concepts. Here are some of the examples:

Singing:  “On the first day of Thanksgiving, my family made for me, a Thanksgiving Tree with fall leaves.”

Doing: Make a Thanksgiving Tree. Write different things you are thankful for, place on the tree–one each day. Watch the tree branches become filled with the leaves of thankfulness. Or write in a Gratitude Journal, daily listing several things you are thankful for that day.

Concluding the Journey . . . After the feast is over

Thanksgiving and thankfulness don’t end with the holiday being over. It is a daily walk. The more you are thankful, the more joy you have. And, having a thankful heart is an attribute that is pleasing to God and others will be impacted by it. It is my hope, that in the days, weeks, and months ahead, you will continue some of the activities you started in “The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving”. Or, check out some of the Additional Activities, which are listed in the e-book, to further your children’s understanding and appreciation for this  uniquely American holiday. Whatever you choose to do, whether big or small, will bring positive results in your family. Thankful people ae happier people . . . at least most of the time.

If you would like to check out “The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving” e-book, it is available in the Kindle store on Amazon. Click the link below.





I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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Kara Bout It