Monday, November 3, 2014

November Family Tree of Gratitude

Last year, we barely celebrated Thanksgiving. It's not that we weren't Thankful, it's that a few days earlier, our house had flooded, so we were working around buckets and industrial fans, and water, and rain, and contractors. We had a meal, but I didn't have opportunity to make much celebration of it. In previous years, Matthew was too young to really do anything other than eat.

This year, I want to start teaching him about Thanksgiving--not so much the historical events, but the action of giving thanks. I ordered a few story books that I'm patiently waiting for, and we're trying to actively express gratitude as a family. Most of our prayer life with him to this point has been prayers of gratitude so he is exercised in this to a point, but we want to build on that foundation.

So a few weeks ago, an idea struck me and this week I was able to execute it.

I created this tree of gratitude. Each night, we will each write (or in Matthew's case, dictate) one thing for which we are thankful on one leaf and hang it on the tree. Matthew colors on his leaves while we write on ours and then I write his thanksgiving on his for him. At the end of the month, we should have almost 100 leaves--overwhelming for this little tree and demonstrative of just how rich and plentiful and overwhelming God's generosity is. We're only 3 days into November right now so our tree only has 9 leaves, but soon it will be full and bushy!

I made the trunk and branches out of excess packing paper. I tore and rolled and just sort of stuck it up there. I affixed it to the wall with Command Strips. I found a template online for the leaves (google it, there are tons) and rough cut them out of construction paper. I have a whole pile of leaves in our hutch next to our kitchen table and we do it before we sit down to dinner. We include prayer for the things we named in our dinner prayer time. Then we just attach them to the wall with FrogTape. Easy, peasy, and super affordable because I had everything on hand already.

Fall leaves that change colors are a foreign concept in Phoenix, and I realize oak and maple leaves don't grow on the same tree. However, Matthew seemed to get the concept well and I think it will be a powerful visual by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.

Then I can save the leaves if I wish and take the tree down just in time for Advent. I have some super-fun Advent recommendations that I'll post in the next few days.

Side Note: I introduced this by first talking about the month of November and how this month is special because it has Daddy's Birthday, and a special day called Thanksgiving. Then I said the next month is called December. I explained that December comes after November, and December is special because it has Christmas in it. Then January comes after December and it is special because January has Matthew's birthday. He was tracking with me until he hung the leaves, and then he said, "Ok, now it's December. Christmas time!"


  1. That is such a great idea! I'm going to do that when our daughter is old enough :) Way to go with the creativity! :)

  2. This brought back such funny memories!! We did this exact project, about three years ago, but it was an absolute disaster - we could NOT get that thing to stay on the wall!! If you have better luck, do let me know what you used to keep it up!!


    1. Oops, and now I see that you already posted what you used! DUH!! LOL, I'll have to try those.

  3. Really Diana? Great minds think alike. Or maybe I subconsciously cataloged it all those years ago for future reference!