Gratitude Tree

This is a simple and fun way to help family members be on the look-out for all the things they love and are grateful for…and clean up some stray branches from the yard at the same time. Ahhh…green waste.

Oh, and earlier today–this tree was called the “Gratitude Tree” but it got on my nerves. Honestly, it sounded way too much like “The Giving Tree”…which is not ok with me. If you know me even a tiny bit you know how I feel about that book. Grrrr….more on this later…no doubt. MOVING ON…

You will need:

flower pot

craft stones, rocks, or art sand

short branches

colored paper, scrapbook paper, or craft foam

paper clips

Fill a clean flower pot with rocks, stones or sand…yes, kitty litter would work, but I’d hate to confuse poor Fluffy, so personally, I’d stick with the rocks. Shorten the tree branch to suit the size of your pot. I stuck three small lilac branches together with packing tape. Set the branch securely in the rocks. Wiggle them around until you’re convinced they will “sit and stay.”

Next, cut out about two dozen leaves–template link below— from colored paper or craft foam. Push a partially straightened paper clip through the stem end of each leaf. Set the leaves in a small basket with a black marker, next to your thankful tree.

Encourage, nudge, ok, force– family members to write their names on one side (unless they want to remain anonymous), and something or someone they are thankful for–and why, on the other side. Have them hang it on the tree and by Thanksgiving Day–your tree will be a beautiful reminder of your family’s blessings and a really cute tree–that you don’t have to water. That’s a plus.

NOTE: Click here for a bunch more family Thanksgiving Crafts or a simple leaf template to make your own Gratitude tree.

Thankful People

We are an enthusiastic bunch where I come from, and that means taking advantage of every opportunity to celebrate any good thing that comes along. We start hanging colored lights before Halloween and resist taking them down till after Valentine’s and we’re perfectly willing to put up banners and flags and balloons for anything in between.

I suppose one explanation for this party-people-type behavior is that we really, truly, love to gather, and play, and sing, and dance, and nibble, and feast for a monumental day. . . or for no reason at all.

But even coming from the original “Whobilation,” place, I’ve noticed a strange thing. People everywhere–not just here–are starting the festivities way earlier than ever before. Now don’t get me wrong. I love that I can turn on the radio, right now and find just as much Christmas music as I want. I enjoy the lights coming on all over the neighborhood, and I even get a kick out of Christmas ads on the radio.  But…

…what happened to Thanksgiving?

I’m not actually ready to skip it, even in the mad furry to get to Christmas cheer.

I want this time to feel grateful. I need it, because it makes me a better person…or at least it keeps me trying to be. I want to remember the things that really matter…and be grateful for them–always.

So, I may put up my lights before the next storm. And I may play my Grinch cd before we make all that stuffing. And I may move the nativity box a bit closer to the garage door. But I utterly refuse to submerge myself in the “magic of Christmas”– until I’ve filled my cup to the brim with pilgrims and leaves and cornbread and turkey…and the joy of giving thanks, for all of it.


“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”


5 Things I’m Thankful For…

right this minute.

1) Roadside assistance…don’t ask. I’ll just say there was a lot of smoke and green fluid everywhere…sigh…

2) Eggnog Milkshakes. Around here you can only get them at holiday time. Yum! Just thinking of them gets me feeling all Christmasy. A good eggnog shake makes sitting in a dead car, waiting to be rescued almost…pleasant.

3) Our sweet babies Lily and Beckham. They are nearly 10 months old now and we can’t remember life before they came.

4) My brown slippers. I wear them all the time. I even went to the store in them once, by accident. They are just so comfortable. It’s easy to be happy when your feet are warm.

5) The low clouds around the mountains. It reminds me of the movie Brigadoon. It is so beautiful here. Every time I look out our front window I’m grateful to be right where I am.



What 5 things are you grateful for right this minute?