Have you ever made a thankful tree? A thankful tree is a simple and meaningful Thanksgiving tradition that everyone can enjoy and participate in this year and in the years to come!

We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.

One of my family’s favorite decorations is a thankful tree that takes up a good portion of the wall in our family room.  It’s giant.  I have to use a stool to reach the highest branches.  It takes a little bit of time to put together.  But as my kids get older, I love it even more.  It warms my heart to see them so happy to share the things they are thankful for each day.

As much as I think we try to enjoy and celebrate Thanksgiving, it can be hard with Christmas right around the corner and all the stores and sales and kids making lists.  But I truly believe that if you work on establishing some simple, but meaningful, traditions in your family around this time of year, you’ll enjoy the entire holiday season more fully.

Our thankful tree has become one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions and today I want to share with you how to make your own thankful tree.

To make your own thankful tree, you’ll need the following supplies:

How to Make A Thankful Tree

Open up the paper bags, starting at the bottom and then up one side so that you have one big (semi) flat piece of brown paper.  Make the trunk first.  I usually fold one bag in half and then cut it so I have two equally wide pieces of paper.  Crumple up the paper, unfold it, and crumple again if it needs it.  This just adds a little bit of texture. 

Tear off a piece of masking tape, roll it up and stick it to the back of the paper.  I start at the bottom two corners and secure it to the wall and then add 2-3 more pieces of tape on the back to make sure it stays stuck to the wall.  It’s completely up to you how tall you make the trunk, but keep in mind that you’ll be adding larger “branches” to the tree that will add to the height.

We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.

From here, use your creativity to make 3-4 larger branches of varying length, then add medium and small branches to each of the large ones.  Remember to crumple each branch before taping it to the wall.  There’s not a real science to it, just keep cutting and taping until it looks somewhat like a tree with no leaves.

We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.

Next, you’ll want to grab your construction paper to make some leaves.  We use yellow, orange, red and green for ours.  On each sheet of paper, draw a basic leaf shape–an oval with pointed ends.  (I can fit 9 or more on each page.)  Then cut out each leaf.  I use the shapes as a template, mostly for spacing.  I like to cut out bigger leaves than what I draw so I’m not wasting paper, then I just turn them over so you can’t see the pen marks.

I recommend cutting out at least three sheets of each color to start with, but you’ll definitely end up cutting more out over the month.  My daughter, who is in kindergarten this year, has been working on her cutting skills so I gave her a few sheets of leaves to cut out and she did pretty good!  Plus, I think she really liked being involved in the process.

We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.
We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.

Store your leaves in a basket or box with a pen and tape inside and leave it out near the tree if possible.

We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.

Encourage your family to write down at least one thing they are thankful for each day, any time they happen to think of something.  My kids ask me to write down things they are thankful for multiple times a day.  I remind them to try and think of different things so they aren’t writing “family” or “car” every day.  It’s really helped them to remember all of the many things and people and acts of service they are grateful for. 

*PRO TIP* If you have younger kids who are learning to write, you can use this as a time to help them practice their skills. *wink*

We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.
We started this tradition of a thankful tree three years ago and it's quickly become a family favorite!  I love reading what each of my kids are thankful for.

How to Store Your Thankful Tree

To save time on putting up your thankful tree each year, you can reuse the brown paper bags you cut for the trunk and branches. Remove the masking tape from the back, fold the larger pieces down and store it all in a bin with your fall/Thanksgiving decorations. I also like to keep the extra leaves, a pen and a roll of tape with the thankful tree supplies so I don’t have to go searching for them the next year.

What Should You Do with the Leaves?

I love choosing a few leaves each year to keep from each member in our family. I place the leaves in a plastic zip top bag and label it with the year and store it. It’s a great way to remember what my family was thankful for that year and I think it will also make a nice keepsake when my kids are older and (hopefully) have a thankful tree in their own home.

More Thanksgiving Traditions

Speaking of traditions, we have one called the Book of Thanks.  It is a binder with some paper and pens in it that I take to Thanksgiving dinner each year and have everyone write down what they are thankful for. I include a picture of the group, the menu and any crafts or coloring done that year.  You can read more about how to make your own Book of Thanks here!

If you’d like to check out a few other great Thanksgiving traditions, check out these posts!

Deeds of Gratitude

Chalkboard Thankful Tree

Keepsake Thanksgiving Table Runner

Thankful Jar

Thanksgiving Gratitude Calendar

DIY Thankful Journals

Thanksgiving Gratitude Chain

Thankful Chart

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Hi! I’m Shani,

A stay-at-home mom of 4 and wife. I love sharing easy to follow craft tutorials, kid activities, family-friendly recipes, organization, travel and motherhood. I hope you’ll feel uplifted and empowered by each post, regardless of what kind it is. Join me as I raise my little munchkins and share the sunshine in this beautiful, crazy thing called life! Read more...

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7 Comments

  1. I absolutely love that this is so big and such a part of your family space! I'm saving this to do when my little one is older!

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