img_1415Looking for a way to infuse a little more gratitude into your family as we approach Thanksgiving this year?  There are so many wonderful ways to do that (thank you, Pinterest!), but in our family we have adopted the tradition of a Thankful Tree.  Every evening at dinner during the month of November we all think of one thing we are thankful for that day, write it on a tag, and hang it from a tree made of twigs collected from our yard.  We do it daily until the night before Thanksgiving, and often read over all the tags again on Thanksgiving Day.

I love that our Thankful Tree inspires us to look for the good in our days, especially as we move into the difficult late fall season where days are shorter and everything turns gray.  I also love that we bring a bit of the outdoors in with our twig tree, which is a work of art by the end of the month with its colorful tags.  Interested in giving it a try?  It’s super simple to set up.

Thankful Tree Instructions

Here’s what you need:

thankful tree

A large vase or jar

A collection of thin sticks and twigs, the “branchier” the better

2 inch hole punch (or a circle template such as a small mason jar and a pair of scissors)

A regular size hole punch

Colorful fall scrapbook paper or construction paper

A small box, mason jar, or basket to hold tags and pens

  1. Arrange your collected sticks into the shape of a tree, and place in your vase.
  2. Punch out enough circles for your family for the month.  We use 4 per day from November 1st until the night before Thanksgiving, which is November 23rd this year.  Some quick math tells me we’ll need 92 tags, plus a few extras for mistakes or visiting family.
  3. Using the regular size hole punch, punch a small hole in each tag so you can later hang it directly on the branch.
  4. Place your tags and a pen into your box, jar, or basket and place it next to your tree in an easy to remember location. We place ours on the dining room table (makes a nice centerpiece!)
  5. Every day write one thing you are thankful for on a tag, and hang on the tree. Watch your beautiful tree, and your gratitude, grow!

And that’s all there is to it!   It’s easy to involve the kids in this one (they love collecting the sticks!), and it’s also portable if your travel over the holidays.  One year we even brought a Ziploc bag full of the tags we’d already written, and all our blank ones yet to write on, with us to Grandma’s house.  A few branches from her yard in a borrowed vase, and we were back in business.

How do you inspire thankfulness in your family this time of year?  Share with us in the comments below!

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