Our Gratitude Pumpkin

What is a gratitude pumpkin? One effect of the pandemic? Social media is a big window into other’s ideas. One that caught our eye on Pinterest? The Gratitude Pumpkin or Grateful Pumpkin or Thanksgiving Pumpkin. It’s a simple idea. Grab a pumpkin. Enlist a permanent marker. Write something you are thankful for every day until Thanksgiving. A perfect reminder for Gratitude Month – November. Multiple members of the household? Make sure everyone contributes a grace or thanks. Then for your holiday celebration share the list verbally. Each person sharing one item around the table. There you have it. A new tradition of gratitude for November.

Traditions bind us together

Why jump onboard the tradition of a grateful or gratitude pumpkin this year? Who doesn’t love fall pumpkins from Halloween through Thanksgiving? It’s a fun gourd. But more importantly, our traditions mark us and bind us together as a family. Both while we are together. And later in memories. The little ceremonies of life and season have cumulative value. Like baking Christmas cookies together. The group project of baking is more important than eating the product of shared labor.

Gratitude Beats Resentment

The art of gratitude is an essential skill of happiness. Gratitude acknowledges what we have and value. Resentment emphasizes want, greed, and loss. And we notice that gratitude often encompasses the invaluable intangibles over mere things or consumption. Resentment? Often is tangible thing focused.  The world of the mind vs. the world of conspicuous consumption. In which direction lies happiness and contentment? Wisdom suggests that merely having more things isn’t sufficient for happiness. We need to stop and be intentional about counting our blessings. Also sharing and discussing our blessing brings us closer as a couple. And a family. Traditions define a family’s priorities. They set an example and cultivate habits. The habit of gratitude serves beyond a single month. And thus the gratitude pumpkin cultivates both individual happiness and happiness with each other.

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozick

Pandemic year, quieter, smaller celebration

Especially this year. Admit it. The pandemic year of 2020 is challenging. Social distancing discourages our usual large group family gatherings. That is a tradition. All the siblings and cousins. Multiple generations from far-flung places. Bringing too many separate bubbles and infection vectors together. One tradition shut down. But we still want to connect. And share. And celebrate together, even if virtually. A gratitude pumpkin is a perfect tool. We have multiple versions going in the family. Our pumpkin resides on the potting bench. The list of gratitudes grows daily. Another list is growing on the daughters’ pumpkin one hundred miles away in the Cities. If we can get together? Great! If not? We can share this tradition virtually and fix some of the same dishes in parallel. The gratitude pumpkin is especially appropriate in this year of chaos and limits. We still have each other and so many other things we value. A fun way to focus on our blessings and share with each other our gratitude. The gratitude pumpkin celebrates the season and prepares for a smaller, quieter Thanksgiving.

Gratitude Centerpiece

So we bought a pumpkin in late October and began the daily practice of writing down thankful thoughts on our Gratitude Pumpkin.  Still debating our favorite label. Grateful pumpkin is also fun. And a bit of a pun like Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin. The Great-ful Pumpkin! Others call them Thanksgiving pumpkins. But we kind of think of pumpkin as pie by Thanksgiving. So, with November serving as Gratitude Month? We settled on Gratitude Pumpkin.

Sally and Linus wait for the Great Pumpkin from Charles Schulz's Charlie Brown? Inspiration for a Gratitude Pumpkin.

Worth Repeating?

Will this tradition continue forward for us? One complication? How long will a pumpkin last before going soft? We took the precaution of placing plate under our Gratitude Pumpkin just to be on the cautious side. So maybe a dried gourd might be more permanent. But Gratitude Squash?  Doesn’t have the same ring. No reason we couldn’t use an artificial pumpkin to the same end. But those are questions of how. As to whether we’ll repeat? Yes. It’s been fun coming up with new gratitudes to share. It’s worth adding to our annual traditions. And the festive list is a perfect centerpiece, both visual centerpiece and ceremonial centerpiece. Long live the Grateful Pumpkin! Err, Gratitude Pumpkin.

Our Gratitudes So Far

Here’s our gratitude pumpkin so far (still ten days out from Thanksgiving):

Share what you are thankful for in the comments below. Or send us a picture of YOUR gratitude pumpkin and we’ll happily share it with everyone. May our shared gratitudes help lift each other!

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”  — William Arthur Ward

Happy Thanksgiving & Thank you!

We know this year has been rough, but we are so thankful to have you along with us. Your support, encouragement and comments have been our blessings. Thank you! We wish you and your family many more blessings this Thanksgiving.