I can't remember where I first came across the idea, but the Thankful Tree has been a huge hit with everyone around our Thanksgiving table for the last several years. It's the spirit of Thanksgiving in a beautiful centerpiece: each member of the Thanksgiving feast has to contribute at least one leaf with what he or she is thankful for and it becomes a bouquet of gratitude.
The Thankful Tree is basically a hands-on family craft project that immediately becomes a conversation piece. For the wee ones, of course, parents can contribute. Two years ago, for example, my youngest said she was thankful for "yellow," and that's what we wrote on one of the leaves. On a more serious note, my family has had a couple of stressful years, with one member who had breast cancer and another who had open heart surgery, and the Thankful Tree has been a wonderful channel for us all to express our gratitude for their recovery, their medical care, and our family's ability to get through tough times together. This year we'll be adding some more color to our Thankful Tree with the new Gratitude Tree Notes from Lunchbox Love, a company whose lunchbox cards we love and use regularly. Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday, and this is something I'm looking forward to immensely. See below for instructions on how you can create your own Thankful Tree.
Here's how to do it:
1. Gather long thin branches.
2. Cut colored construction paper into leaf shapes and use a hole puncher to make a hole in each.
3. Have each person at your holiday gathering write at least one thing they are thankful for (make pens readily available).
4. Use kitchen twine or any other string to fasten the leaves onto the branches.
5. Assemble in a vase and place at the center of your table.
We talked about these all night long last year, and I'm looking forward to gathering branches soon. I can't wait to read the leaves this year!