The season of thankfulness, I love it so much. With two small children, my husband and I try to instill thankfulness in them on a daily basis, but I enjoy the opportunity to focus on this during the Thanksgiving season.
One way we have been really successful in bringing this practice of thankfulness into our home is with one of my favorite family traditions: a Thanksgiving Tree. As a kid, my parents did this tradition with us and I always loved it, and I knew I wanted to replicate it with my kids one day. Let me share with you what it’s all about!
What you need:
⁃ A vase or pot
⁃ Tree branch
⁃ Construction or printer paper
⁃ Scissors & tape
⁃ *If needed* styrofoam ball or oasis brick – make sure it will fit in your vase/pot, this is necessary if your tree branch won’t stay upright without some assistance.
First things first, my parents would send us out into the yard to find our “tree” - aka the tree branch. I have fond memories of searching for the perfect one, one with lots of different shoots and limbs but also small enough to fit well in the vase we picked!
Once the branch is selected, place the oasis brick inside the vase (you may have to trim it down to fit) and poke the tree branch in! I don’t love when the oasis brick shows, so we sometimes cover the brick with dirt from our yard, marbles, rocks…really anything we can find around the house to make the potted tree branch look better. :) If you don’t need the oasis block, simply place the branch into the vase!
After the tree is secure, start cutting out your leaves!. You can involve your kids in this process, nothing needs to be perfect. Or you can buy pre-cut leaves, or cut them yourself prior to sitting around the table together. I love involving my four year old, but again that’s totally up to you! This time we didn’t have construction paper the color we wanted, so I had my daughter paint some white printer paper & then cut it up - I love how this turned out!
You’ll want to cut enough leaves so that each person can have one leaf each night at dinner for however many nights you want to do this tradition. Typically we start on November 1 and carry this on nightly through Thanksgiving. You do the math - it’s a lot of leaves!
Once you have the leaves cut, store them in a ziplock bag. Each night at the dinner table (either before or after the meal) let everyone select their own leaf. Have or help your kids write what they’re thankful for on that leaf. Then take turns going around the table, sharing what each person wrote and why. Such special family time, y’all!! Then, tape your leaf to the Thanksgiving Tree.
Watch your tree grown with thankfulness as you get closer and closer to Thanksgiving. It’s truly such a special time for us as a family! I hope it will be for yours too!