To give thanks for the many things we have, particularly at the start of the New Year
by Gill O'Neill
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To give thanks for the many things we have, particularly at the start of the New Year.
Preparation and materials
- You will need examples of thank-you letters, either real or made up, some addressed to you and some written by you.
- You could adapt the examples below.
- Tell the children what a lovely time you had at Christmas (or other celebration). Describe the tasks of taking down the decorations and putting everything away. Explain that this is a job you dislike (or like, because it shows you're moving on). Then go on to say that now it's time to come back to work, you decided it would be good to think about all the lovely things you received for Christmas (or other celebration), and how this is a positive thing to do.
Explain that as well as receiving gifts, you gave presents to your friends and family. Tell the children that you have received some lovely thank-you letters, and read one or two of them. Then say that yesterday you decided it was time to get down to writing a few thank-you letters yourself.
- Read out your letters, or use/adapt these:
Dear Aunty Freda,
Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely Christmas with Dave and the girls. We had a lovely Christmas here. Thank you so much for the lovely jumper you sent. It must have taken you ages to knit it - and how thoughtful of you to choose lime green and purple stripes, two of my favourite colours. You must have spent a lot of time on the sleeves - how clever to make them long enough to cover my hands. I shall not need to worry about gloves when I wear it. I hope you liked the perfume we sent you.
All the best to Dave and the girls,
Dear Mum and Dad,
Thank you so much for the bike helmet you sent me, and the screwdriver you sent to Mark. The children liked their umbrellas too. All very useful presents, as we found out on New Year's Day. We took the bikes to the forest cycle track. As we were leaving I checked with Mark that we had packed the helmets and asked him if I needed my handbag. He said that he had the helmets, and the bikes were all loaded on my car - and he already had the car keys, so I wouldn't need my bag.
We had a lovely cycle ride - lots of fresh air. However, after about half an hour it started to rain. Claire and Mark went back to the car while Jim and I did a quick turn around the lake. The rain got heavier so we put all the bikes back on the car and started the drive home. When we got on the motorway the rain was coming down so hard that you could hardly see the cars ahead. It was then that Mark said, 'Do you have your house keys with you?' Of course, Mum, you know I keep my keys in my handbag, so I said, 'No.' He laughed and looked at the rain. 'You told me I didn't need my bag,' I said. 'Anyway, you have your house keys on your car key ring.' And then it struck me that he was driving my car, with my car key, and no house keys!!!
The rain got heavier and we hoped we'd left a window unlocked…unfortunately Mark has made a New Year's resolution to lock up properly, so we trudged around the outside of the house getting wetter and wetter, and realized how secure it all was. The children wished they hadn't left their umbrellas indoors. Then we spotted the smallest window - in the toilet - slightly ajar.
Imagine the look on our neighbour's face when we interrupted her family New Year dinner to borrow a ladder. Mark climbed the ladder, but the window couldn't open wide enough to let him in. This was when the screwdriver set came into its own. It was excellent for taking the window off its hinges. It didn't even break when it was dropped from a great height as Mark forward-rolled through the window, over the toilet and into the house. Imagine our relief when he came downstairs and opened the front door.
Well, I hope your New Year was a little less athletic than ours. Thanks once again for the lovely presents, although I shan't be going cycling again for a while.
Love and hugs
Dear Sara and Steve,
Thank you so much for the girls' presents. They were overjoyed with the tattoo transfer kits - especially as until now they have been banned from having tattoos. I hadn't realized what they were up to when on Boxing Day morning they stayed quiet in their room for some time. Imagine my surprise at lunchtime when they sat at the table, covered from head to foot in tattoos. How ingenious of you to find temporary tattoos that cannot actually be removed - it says on the box that they will fade after about 3 months! I do hope Rosie liked the shampoo and soap set we sent.
See you sometime.
- Go on to say that, joking aside, whatever we think about the presents we have been given we should not forget to say thank you to those who have given them to us.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to spend a few moments thinking back to Christmas.
Think about all the lovely things you received,
surprises and presents.
Think of the good times you had,
spending time with friends and relations,
being taken out for treats.
Think of the food, drink and sweets that you had.
Did you say thank you to the people who made all this happen?
Thank you, Lord, for all the good things we have,
and the good times we share with those whom we love.
'Thank you, Lord, for this new day' (Come and Praise, 32)