This project started with the photo below. I saw it in the November issue of Family Fun magazine, and the wheels in my brain immediately began to turn.
At first, I thought it would be neat to use baby pictures of each guest at our Thanksgiving table. It seemed like a great idea - until I realized that I don't have any photo of my husband that predates our first date in 2004.
Once I realized that a picture of Joe would have to be from the last five years, I modified my plan.
Instead of our baby pictures, I decided to use a picture of each guest holding a newborn Gracie.
I used Photoshop and my digital scrapbooking supplies to print each picture with a holiday-themed border. I printed them on plain white cardstock, cut them out, and attached a 1-inch high strip of construction paper to the back. The strip of paper was just long enough to wrap around our rolled-up napkins.
I modified the Family Fun project, but you could just as easily print out your photos and glue them to a slightly larger piece of patterned paper or cardstock. Same result.
I had intended to convert my photos to black and white before printing them, but I forgot until after they were done. I didn't want to waste the paper printing them twice, so I left them in color.
Grace doesn't do a lot of chores around the house, but she does set the table at dinner time. Today was no different.
I subscribe to the Positive Parenting Solutions model of parenting. It's based on Adlerian psychology, on the idea that children must have belonging and significance in order to feel good about themselves. Contributing to the household improves both belonging (she's doing something that benefits our family) and significance (she is doing something that is meaningful and important).
There don't at first seem to be a lot of tasks that foster belonging and significance in a 2-year-old.
There are plenty. Putting her own toys away. Watering houseplants. Feeding the cats. Taking kitchen scraps to the basement for the worms. Helping to cook. Setting the table for dinner.
As she was setting the table, I handed her one of the napkins.
"Who's that holding you, Gracie?"
That Pappy! She squealed, handing the napkin to my dad.
I handed her my mom's napkin. "Who's this?"
That baby me? She asked cautiously.
"Yep, that's you. Who's holding you?"
We went through all of the napkins, and she handed them to each of our guests.
I had expected my cutesy napkin rings to go into the trash after dinner. I thought that our guests would give me a patronizing look and say, "That's nice." and that would be the end of it.
No one really said anything about them, actually, but there were no patronizing looks. There were smiles. My dad carefully peeled his napkin ring off of the ring and put it into his shirt pocket. My mom and my sister saved theirs and took them home, too.
What started out as a cute project to help show Grace the people for whom we are thankful turned out to be a gift for our guests.
It was so successful that I'm already planning Christmas napkin rings.
And I might even create some cloth napkins to wrap in them.