At the root of harvest celebrations is the idea that plentitude results from one tiny seed producing a whole crop of results. At no time of year is this spirit of generosity better exemplified than at harvest time.

To harvest means to gather together what is cultivated, abundant and ripe. Traditionally the harvest has been associated with the gathering of crops for sharing, preparing and celebrating abundance. A harvest celebration can be small and private or open to the extended community.

In modern times, we purchase most of our food in stores, so we may miss out on the sense of connection that harvest celebrations provide. How can your family better commemorate the harvest? Start by reclaiming an attitude of abundance according to what you already have—because this simple principle is what the harvest is all about. Here are some reminders for how to have a happy harvest:

Take stock

Your harvest doesn’t have to be edible. Even if you don’t grow vegetables or flowers, you can find other ways to celebrate. What does your family have in abundance? Maybe your kids have skills or hobbies. Is your daughter or son good at reading? Are they good at making models? You may have a collector or two in the family. Everything counts.

Encourage your kids to be prolific. Take stock of what your kids enjoy doing or collecting. For example, my daughter is a prolific sketch artist. She has accumulated stacks of drawings throughout the house over the last few years. We have one rule: no throwing drawings away. Even if she doesn’t like something she draws in that moment, we ask her to stash the results in storage cubes, upstairs or downstairs. Then the paper can pile up out of the way until we are ready to do something with it. You can harvest anything. What has your family been up to?

Gather the bounty

It’s easy to roll along without stopping to appreciate what we have created this past year. But your job is to make sure this does not happen. The harvest is your big chance to take stock of what your family has done and gather it up. I increase my daughter’s sense of pride by gathering her drawings in binders she can revisit in the future. Even if she doesn’t want to look back over her recent works right now, I still do my part, which is to gather the best examples of her work, so she will be reminded in the future that consistency and commitment created all these results.

What are the results of your family members’ passions? Gather up those cars or dolls or team photos or articles or theater posters. They offer evidence of time well spent.

Prepare the results

We set up a craft space in the corner of the laundry room. It’s not fancy, just a folding table, a storage rack and some storage bins. In order to preserve the best of my daughter’s drawings, I have to go through piles and sort and resort her work until I have culled it all down to the best of the best. It’s messy work and sometimes I get interrupted, so it’s nice to have an out of the way space in the house where I can leave a project and return to it later without having to pick up after myself constantly.

There is no need to save every single thing my daughter creates. I am looking for examples of creative strides or moments of inspiration that demonstrate her growth. By taking the time to do this work, I get the gift of reflecting over her efforts. By preserving her efforts, we show her that we value her self-expression.

Share with others

Once you have taken stock, gathered and prepared the best of what your kids have to offer, consider how you might be able to share the bounty with others. When you grow flowers, you can give bouquets. But when your kids use their inner gifts, you need to brainstorm ways to spread those gifts far and wide. Technology can help (see sidebar). The post office can also help. I typically encourage my daughter to include one of her drawings with letters she sends to friends and family. We also include a couple in our annual holiday letter.

The best of the best of what your family has sown may make a great gift or donation, so stay alert for ways to make a contribution. And always be sure to find a prominent place in your home to display whatever your family has most recently created. Even better if this can be a rotating display throughout the year. A mantle, tabletop, hanging wire or display shelf can all work just fine.

Celebrate all that you have

The harvest is the time of year to focus on formalizing all that we offer, all that we have and all that we give. So don’t let harvest season whip by in a blur of pre-holiday busyness. Prioritize the tasks that will help your family have a meaningful harvest celebration of the creative kind. What your family gets in return for gathering, preparing, sharing and celebrating the harvest is a feeling of connection that transcends time, culture and religion.

When we appreciate our gifts and share them, we feel rich, happy and generous.

The harvest is not merely about having enough; it’s about recognizing that we always have something to give, and that when we share what is plentiful with others, we celebrate not just ourselves but also life itself.

Resources for Harvesting Creative Works

 

Portfolio & Scrapbook Supplies:

OfficeDepot.com

OfficeMax.com

Michaels.com

Amazon.com

 

Products or Gifts:

CafePress.com

Zazzle.com

Costco.com

 

Photos:

Shutterfly.com

Snapfish.com

Costco.com

Apple.com (Macs only)

 

Self-publish a Book or Chapbook:

Lulu.com

Blurb.com

CreateSpace.com

Apple.com (Macs only)

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