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Make a Thankful Tree

Written by: | Published: November 10, 2014 | Updated: November 28, 2014

I love the idea of creating an interactive Thankful Tree, get the whole family involved and watch it grow. A few years ago I had a section of wall at my main entrance I wanted to update. We painted over a piece of art I had created and made a nice chocolate brown entry wall to display whatever we wanted. Thanksgiving was approaching so instead of putting up family photos or some other general decor, I decided to build a Thankful Tree.

Originally the idea was to make some decor I would take down after Thanksgiving, but as a family we loved the project so much it stayed for over 2 years. I originally shared this project as part of a 21 days of Gratitude activity with Projects for Preschoolers.

Make an Interactive Thankful Tree
Make an Interactive Thankful Tree

I used newspaper to create the trunk and the branches. Take one sheet of paper at a time and roll them into a tube shape. Then add more paper as you go to create a longer tube. Tie twine around the paper to hold it together. Then I used tacks to attach the tree to the wall. Some of the branches are attached to the main trunk and some are just attached to the wall. I let the twine however it fell, I like the raw look of the newspaper and twine for this project, it seems more organic to me.

Then cut out leaves from construction paper and attach those to the wall to make the tree look alive. I added only a few leaves to the wall at first. Instead, I filled a basket with the blank leaves and set out some markers and tape. Anyone entering our home was invited to write their own note and attach the leaves to the Thankful tree.

Add trees and other decor to your Thankful Tree
Add trees and other decor to your Thankful Tree

As time pasted and I decided to leave the Thankful tree up as a year-round display, we started adding new items to the tree. We added paper ornaments at Christmas and flowers in the spring. Our favorite pieces stayed up regardless of what time of year it was. We just kept adding more leaves and more notes. I loved having this tree up for so long. It was really neat to walk by and stop to notice a note we forgot from last year.

Thankful Tree in the spring
Thankful Tree in the spring

I finally took down our Thankful tree this past summer, but now that it’s almost Thanksgiving again, I’m thinking I need to put up a new tree. What do you think? Maybe I should doodle a tree on the wall and include a new leave set for the family to write on? I especially love that this tree became such a special part of our every day. Any time we walked by, it was a reminder of things we are thankful for and an inspiration of things we can work towards.

If you don’t want to create leaves from scratch, you can use my printable leaf set as your Thankful Tree leaves. Enjoy!

Does your family have a special routine, event or activity you share your gratitude and thanks?


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Jen is Passionate about Creativity. She is the owner and "doodle in charge" of JGoode Designs, a Denver based design studio. She is an illustrator, mixed media artist and creative lifestyle blogger. Jen has been a creative professional since 1998 but says she's been an artist since she was old enough to eat glue.

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