Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankfulness Tree

Last year we started a new Thanksgiving tradition. Inspired by the many variations of this project I've seen around the web, we made a Thankfulness Tree. Instead of just going around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and answering the proverbial "what are you thankful for?" question, we spend the weeks leading up to the holiday itself writing down our gratitudes. Last year I made a huge paper tree that I taped in the front window, and we all wrote down what we're thankful for on paper leaves and taped them up too. Simple, and the end result was quite lovely.

Last year's tree

This year I decided to get a little more 3D, and we brought some fallen branches inside to make a Thankfulness Tree that felt, well, a little more tree-like. We anchored them in a large vase with pebbles, and ta-da! An indoor tree.

Thankfulness Tree

The kids started right away making leaves and apples to hang on the tree. So far we are thankful for:

What a 3-year-old boy is thankful for


She's thankful for friends


Seasonal gratitude

and pumpkin seeds. Sowing the seeds of seasonal gratitude early, I tell ya.

I love this project because it harnesses so much that I love about Thanksgiving in general. All of us -- and I certainly include myself in this group -- tend to spend far too much mental energy fretting about all that is wrong in our lives and in our world. Thanksgiving offers us the opportunity to reflect on all that is right, and take a moment to appreciate the gift of that rightness.

And when your household includes a newly-minted seven-year-old who has a tendency to dissolve into a rage when her sock seams can actually be felt, a little perspective can be just what the frazzled mother ordered.


  1. Love your idea! Very creative! Definitely shows what blessings you have and what you're thankful for!

  2. I'm glad to see you back. :)

    And I love the tree idea! You always have such awesome things that you do with your kids. They are extremely lucky to have such an awesome mom!

  3. I saw something like this on Barney where they made a friends and family tree. and they used hearts and wrote down all of the names of people that love them and who they love. It looks great!