Thanksgiving is almost here and with all that has gone down this year, I knew I had to add one more piece to my Thanksgiving decor – a Thankful Tree. It’s a quick, easy project that adds just the right amount of heart to the day.
But what is a Thankful Tree you ask? Well it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a man made tree with paper leaves, which are filled in by your family and/or guests, with all the things they are thankful for.
You can choose to have your family fill in a daily leaf through out the month of November, or you can choose to do it like I am, and ask guests to take time to fill in a leaf the day of. Then, before you eat, you can read each leaf out loud to remind everyone of all the things we have to be thankful for. Names can be included or left off, and the item(s) listed can be anything. From toys, to the roof over our heads, to having gone into remission, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s just a fun, visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for. Plus it’s heart warming to see the tree fill up with leaves and to hear each thankful leaf read out loud. You can even make it a little more challenging by not allowing duplicates. This helps bring the gratitude from outside sources like people and things, to simple everyday triumphs that we tend to overlook. From being able to see and hear to having full use of our limbs, etc.
Ready to get started on your Thankful Tree? Well you’re in luck! Not only can you make this project out of items you probably already have laying around the house, but I’ve also created a free Thankful Tree Leaf printable for you. All you have to do is print it out and cut out the leaves.
If you have kids, they can totally help with that and pretty much with the entire project. And don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfect, perfection is overrated. The beauty of it is not how it looks, but how we feel after creating it and after hearing all those things we have to be thankful for.
So here’s what else you’ll need besides your leaves from the printable.
- 1-3 small, but sturdy branches
- a container
- a styrofoam cup or block
- beans, pebbles, or some other household item to keep the branches in the container
- pins, stickers, tape – basically anything to attach the leaves to the tree
- pens and/or fine tip markers
Once you’ve gathered everything, start by placing the styrofoam cup/block in your container and cut it so that it fits, and is flush with the top of your container.
Next, you’ll want to add in your filler material. This helps keep the styrofoam in the center and anchors it down as you begin to insert the branches. I opted for beans since they’re always in my pantry and they add to the natural feel of the branches.
Once you have a stable surface, you’re ready to place the first branch in the center of the container. Don’t worry if it goes off to one side. Once you add in the others, you can use them to help stabilize each other. Then when they’re like you want them, cover up the visible styrofoam, and voila, you’re done. Your Thankful Tree is ready to be filled with thankful thoughts.
Here’s a quick video to help.
Feel free to add in extra embellishments, your own thankful thoughts, and extra leaves to the tree to give your guests an idea of what the final product will look like. Then place your tree, leaves, and pens/markers on an easy to get to table and inform your family and/or guests of their role.
Then you can either ask them to attach each with the material you identified for the task (I used miniature clothes pins I had left over from a baby shower), or you can have them take their leaves to the dinner table so they can be attached once you begin sharing what everyone is thankful for. I like doing it this way because then we get to fill out our tree in thankful goodness vs. seeing it go bear as each leaf is pickef for reading. Regardless of which method you prefer though, it’s a beautiful site to see and hear. It’s also a great reminder, for young and old, that there’s always something to be thankful for.
How do you and your family get your thankfulness on?