I'm always looking for ways to make the holidays more meaningful for our family, and a few days ago, I ran across a (new to me) Thanksgiving idea I want to incorporate this year. Over at Mommy Life, author Barbara Curtis says every Thanksgiving she gives each member of her family five kernels of corn, representing the rations the Pilgrims had for the winter of 1623 - the year after the first Thanksgiving.
After the feast, more settlers arrived in the New World and the Pilgrims soon discovered they didn't have nearly enough food for everyone to make it through the winter. According to the Pilgrim's own account (written by William Bradford), they survived by eating a few grains of corn as their daily ration.
For children who've never known what it's like to be truly hungry, those five kernels of corn on their plate can really bring the suffering of the Pilgrims home. Once you've explained this bit of history to everyone, and allowed them time to comment on what it would be like to live on so little food, pass around a cup or bowl and allow each family member to place a kernel in it, while telling everyone something they are thankful for. Then end with a family prayer of thanks to God.