I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of making a gratitude tree, but have never actually done it before. The idea is simple: put a bunch of branches in a vase or other container, and hang paper “leaves” on it that state what you are grateful for. This would be a great activity for kids to get involved with, too. And this doesn’t have to just be for the Thanksgiving season; in fact, I’m thinking about keeping mine in my house year-round. For me, it helps my heart remember and focus on the joy and blessings that God has surrounded me with.
Start by picking up some branches from the local park, or from your own yard, or from a friend whose yard actually has trees. A word of warning: if you go to the park, be prepared for people to give you strange looks, and act as if you are going to thwack their kid with your branch. It’s okay; just smile and act like you walk around with an armful of branches all the time. 🙂
I happend to have tons of scrapbook paper that I use in my Etsy shop, so I just free-handed some wide almond-shaped leaves with the scissors, and hole-punched the corner. Then I cut strips of yarn and put them next to the tree, so that I will already have some there when I want to write something down and add it.
Every morning before work, I try to add one or two “leaves.” Sometimes I add 5, or I’ll add a couple before I go to bed. It doesn’t really matter. The point is to ask God to open your heart to see the blessings He’s given, and to allow your heart to respond in gratitude. And then seeing the tree every day on my kitchen table reminds me to be grateful for these and new things He shows me every day.
The things you write down don’t have to have a formula. They don’t all have to be “super spiritual” things. God’s blessings come in the “little” things, too. Especially if you have kids, let them be thankful for their puppy or playdoh or dirt, if that’s what they choose to be grateful for that day. I have listed many of my dear, close family and friends on my leaves, but I have also thanked God for rice bags and my home and kind smiles.