Thankful Trees

By Kate Riley November 6, 2013

We started a new tradition this month, reflecting on what we’re grateful for and writing it down every day. Not a new concept of course, but since expressions of gratitude are the focus of the next holiday we’re about to celebrate here in the USA, we thought why not make our own thankful tree.

We all have things in our lives we wish were different. For me, the one thing I get sad about this time of year is the fact that (except for my little brother who lives in San Francisco with his lady and son) we no longer have extended family members that live close to us in the Bay Area. 

Most have moved out of California given the opportunity for a new job and a reduced cost of living, to Austin, to Savannah, to Las Vegas, to Salt Lake City, to Boise, to Denver, to Phoenix, etc. Five years ago it was easy to get a big group of us together, now with the expense of travel, it’s nearly impossible. But instead of focusing on that hardship, we’re grateful for our many blessings. Now a daily sentiment keep us focused on all that we have instead of what we don’t.

thankful tree in entry


I asked my children to write down on each day of November what they’re grateful for, in part because it’s amusing to get a glimpse into their young minds, but also because the act of writing it down has significance. They’ll make a great keepsake to look back on someday.

thankful leaves

I rounded up a few more favorite thankful trees spied online, each with its own unique twist.

Insert a spray painted branch in a clear vase and weigh it down with river rocks.

thanks centerpiece bhg

better homes & gardens


Include family photos with thankful sentiments listed on gift tags.

thankful tree crafts unleashed

crafts unleashed


Download these pretty printables and embellish branches with golden acorns.

thankful printables tatertots jello

tatertots & jello


Hang a branch from the ceiling and gratitude tags to the branch.

grateful branch

titanium white


Tie leaves cut from scrapbook papers to branches in a vase or pot.

gratitude tree frugal momeh

frugal momeh

thankful tree deliacreates

delia creates



    • Hi Mel, I bought that white tree in a box a few years ago, it seemed perfect for a thankful tree :)

  1. Great idea. Might not be a new concept *as you said* but it’s a great way and reminder to the little ones what really matters. To us big ones, too.

    I love the one that reads, This Moment! How sweet. Can we be anymore thankful than that.


  2. These are so cute! My mom created a “thankful box” out of an old gift box 22 years ago, and she still puts it out every year at home. This year, I’m planning to make my own thankful box to start the tradition with my family (of two). I hope in 22 years my kids will have as special a memory of the box as I do.

  3. Such a great tradition to start. I’m from Canada where Thanksgiving happens earlier in October but I need to remember to do this next year.

  4. What a great idea! I think it would be therapeutic for the whole family. I try to live with an attitude of gratitude every day, but life sometimes has a way of distracting us. This is a wonderful way to keep us grounded. I think you must have a pretty nice cat too : )

  5. Lovely concept and wonderful to instill this in young children. Another wonderful idea for young people to adopt into their lives – After Halloween my mother used to get us to round up all our gently used toys. They would get spruced up a little and then we’d donate them because we knew we’d be some of the fortunate kids getting new Christmas toys and others were not as fortunate.

  6. I absolutely love this idea. I have been reading about the health benefits of gratitude. In the study, people were asked to take 5 minutes at the end of each day to write down three things that happened that day for which they were grateful. They found that the participants began to focus on the positive moments of their days so that they could have things to put on their lists and finish their “assignment”.

    I am grateful for my cats, BUT they would have this project torn to pieces in a nanosecond. Sigh….

  7. This is a really great idea even though I’m not big on Thanksgiving since I’m from Germany.

  8. That is a perfect DIY. I had saved a few branches from when we trimmed our trees a couple months back but didn’t kno what to do with it, well now I know. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea :-)

  9. This is a great idea-am putting it together today. Thank you-we’ve had more than a few crises the last several weeks and this might just help us remember what’s important.

  10. Your kiddo’s grateful for “Harry Potter” leaf made me so happy so see! Such great books, I’m always glad to hear when a youngster enjoys them as much as I did growing up.

  11. Hello,

    I love this idea. Thanks for posting it. What is that color of your walls in this picture? I am considering repainting my livingrooms and I like this color.


    • dragana all of the paint colors in my home can be accessed from the link in the sidebar!

  12. We did this with our kiddos just last night! I love all the ideas you shared and linked your post on my blog today. Thank you for sharing! Happy Thanksgiving!!

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