Create a Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving

Here's a great family project that will open your heart for the holidays


November is the month for giving thanks, so it’s the perfect time to create a Gratitude Tree for your family. This project gives you a tangible way to count your blessings, and making and using a Gratitude Tree is a fun activity to do with your kids or grandkids.

A Gratitude Tree (also known as a Thankful Tree) provides a way for you and your family to think about and write down the blessings in your lives. Why? Because we’ve all got lots to be thankful for, but sometimes we forget to take time out of our busy days to simply say “thank you” for all of the good things we are blessed to experience.

gratitude tree


“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.”

– Mary Davis




What exactly is a Gratitude Tree? Your gratitude tree can be as simple as a drawing of tree branches upon which you attach leaves. I prefer to use an actual tree branch or a few branches put into a vase for the “tree.” (You can even buy a Gratitude Tree kit online. But personally, I like the do-it-yourself approach for this project.)

There’s something magical about giving thanks. The act of expressing your gratitude seems to trigger something in the universe, which gives you even more blessings. Showing appreciation and expressing your gratitude keeps the blessings flowing.

gratitude tree


“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey




Being thankful and grateful also feels good. Sometimes, in our goal-oriented American culture, we focus more on what we want rather than what we already have. And this isn’t just about material things that we can buy online or in a local store. We take for granted things like a warm bed to sleep in at night, the touch of a family pet, or having a comfortably full belly at the end of the day.

gratitude tree thanksgiving


“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”

– Anthony Robbins





Make Your Own Gratitude Tree

Here’s what you need to build your own Gratitude Tree:

–Long, thin branches from a tree or bush

–Tall vase

–Sand or small pebbles

–Thin wire or string

–Scissors or cutting pruners

–Leaf template

–Card stock or construction paper

–Hole punch


  1. Place the sand or pebbles into the vase, and stick in the branches.
  2. Put the leaf template on the card stock and trace around it to make as many leaves as you can.
  3. Cut out the leaves.
  4. Punch a hole at the top of each leaf. Loop a piece of string or wire in each leaf.
  5. Invite each family member to select a leaf and write on it something they are thankful for.
  6. Announce what you are grateful for as you hang your leaf on the tree.

Helpful Hint: Encourage your family members to think of a wide variety of things to write on their leaves and hang onto the Gratitude Tree. While it’s perfectly fine to be thankful for a new video game or doll, being grateful for the family pet, being warm, laughing, specific family members and other things that can’t be easily purchased will add depth and meaning to your Gratitude Tree experience.

To make your Gratitude Tree a central part of your holiday season, invite each family member to write on and hang one leaf on the tree every day. Pick a time of day when you can all do it together.

gratitude tree

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

– John F. Kennedy






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