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Creating a Book of Blessings
Start a new holiday tradition this year: create a Book of Blessings with your family. A book of blessings is an artistic, decorative listing of those things for which your family is thankful. The book can include contributions from your immediate family, your extended family and even your friends. You can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.
Cataloging your blessings will help create a spirit of thankfulness in you and your children. It will also provide you with a listing of the good things your family has experienced, which is nice to have for those times when life gets you down. Your whole family will come to enjoy this positive chronicling of the family's history.
There are several ways to approach creating a Book of Blessing. You could list all the family's blessings for the year or the blessing each contributor is most thankful for or any variation in between.
Supplies can include as little as a scrapbook, paper (I prefer autumn hues) and colored pens or markers. However, you can also get much more elaborate with stickers, buttons or ribbons. You could even add a touch of nature with pressed leaves, small twigs and evergreen sprigs. A few pressed poinsettia flowers or other late blooming flower will give your pages a festive splash of color. If you are not using photos there is no limit to the decorations you can use. If, however, you are using photos make sure your papers and embellishments are acid free.
If you are unsure of your ability to coordinate colors, buy your paper as part of a set rather than buying individually. Then by sticking to accessories that match the colors in your set you are assured of a coordinating color scheme. I will present you with a couple of variations on the Book of Blessings to get you started.
One fun and simple book to start with is the single contribution from each guest at thanksgiving. Choose or create Thanksgiving cards for each guest. But instead of filling out the card place a slip of paper inside stating:
"I am creating of Book of Blessings and would like you to contribute. Please write a blessing you are particularly thankful for and would like to share. Thank you."
Place each card and instructions in separate envelopes. If you choose two or three coordinating colors, it will look better in the Book of Blessings. Label the envelopes with the names of your guests and set them at their place setting. Then make sure you get a picture of each guest as well as their card.
Now you are ready to create your book. Cut all the cards in half so that you have the front piece separate from the guest's writing. Next, choose paper that matches the envelope colors you used.
To assemble the page cut a large rectangular mat out of paper that matches your envelope color. Next cut a slightly smaller mat out of coordinating paper. Mount your guest's photo first on the smaller rectangle, then the large and then centered on the scrapbook page. I find it best to use a large width on the outside frame and a very thin inner frame.
On the opposite page place the envelope roughly center. Then take the two halves of the card and overlap them on the envelope. Be sure not to obscure the name. Or you could use the top half of the page for the top half of the card and the envelope, placing the card picture over one corner of the envelope. Then mat the words like you did the photo and center it on the bottom half of the page.
For the title page you can simply write "Book of Blessings" and the year in decorative handwriting. Mat your title like you did the photos. Then decorate with pressed leaves and flowers, ribbons and buttons, or whatever decoration most suits your sense of style.
Another option for the individual contribution book is to allow each person to create their entire page. This is a nice option for children. Simply supply them with some glue, glitter or whatever scrapbooking supplies you feel are appropriate and a piece of paper of the appropriate size and set them to work. Depending on the age of the child you may want to set them to work decorating the page and then paste the words on after the artwork is complete.
Alternately, you could get the whole family thinking together about what blessings you've received. Then for each day of November (or whatever time frame you choose) create a page expressing that blessing.
For example, family is always a nice blessing to start with. Choose a nice title font for your text. Then you can mount a family portrait to the page. Or you could create a collage of family photographs. You could also include names written in different fonts. If you are including words in your collage you might want to mat your title words so they stand out.
Actually, if you used your book more like a journal then a scrapbook you could create a blessing page every day. It is a good way to get into the habit of looking for the positive events in your life. This is also a good way to teach your children a spirit of thankfulness.
However you choose to proceed I hope this project will remind you of life's many blessings. Enjoy the gifts of family and friends this holiday season.