Thursday, November 28, 2013

Creativity Prompts for Thanksgiving

Sure, I could write a post where I remind us all to be grateful.  But plenty of other people will do that.  No, I shall write a post to encourage us to be creative for Thanksgiving.

You may say, "When do I have time to be creative?  There are meals to be made and then dishes to be washed!"  or "Creative?  Thanksgiving is for football."  But we can make some time for creativity.

--Let's begin with gratitude.  If this day is about nothing else, we should find time to think about what makes us grateful.  Draw a picture, take a photo, make a collage that talks about what fills you with gratitude.  Extra points if you can do this without being too obvious.

--Here's a different way to think about gratitude.  Even our hardships bring some gifts, although those gifts may be hidden from us at first.  Think about the burdens of your current life.  What might they teach you?  Or, from a different angle, pretend it's 20-50 years from now--when you look back at this time period, what will you see to be grateful for?

For example, I remember the days right after my spouse's back surgery.  Part of me felt scared and sad, as I worried about the fact that we're getting older, and we can't trust in our bodies like we once could.  But now, less than a year later, I look back on those days after his surgery as cozy days.  We stayed at the house as he recuperated.  We took small walks and rejoiced in the fact that he had so little pain.  We made chicken pot pie and other comfort foods.  We felt joy at his rapid progress.  That time had gifts that I might not have anticipated.

--For some of us, Thanksgiving is about the food.  It's too late to think about different recipes now.  But think about your Thanksgiving feast.  How could you change your approach next year?  Instead of traditional flavors, what would happen if you took a dish and married it with a different part of the world?  Spicy sweet potatoes instead of your traditional marshmellow topped souffle?  Brussel sprouts with sushi flavorings instead of maple or bacon?

Or, if you've had a feast, think about the leftovers.  Sure, you'll have turkey sandwiches.  Can you do anything differently with the rest of the turkey that you'll have left over?

--What will the first Thanksgiving on a distant planet be like?  Write or draw the scene.

--Put your favorite literary characters together and imagine the meal they would serve.

If you need inspiration, you can go to this blog post to watch me play with the idea of a potluck Thanksgiving feast with Jesus and other New Testament figures.
--Write a Thanksgiving poem without using any of the traditional elements of Thanksgiving.

--Do you remember tracing your hand and turning it into a turkey?  You probably haven't done that since elementary school.  Do it again now.

--Create a Thanksgiving scene, the way that Christians create a manger scene for Christmas.  Use the materials you have on hand.

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