Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tickle Me With Gratitude :: The Gratitude Tree

Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree

This is a fabulous project for the family to do together and a fantastic way to see how the kids view the world through their thoughts of gratitude.

A few years ago, in a long-forgotten-magazine-article, I read about the making of a Gratitude Tree.  Thinking back to magazines I subscribed to, I'm guessing it was most likely a nugget of inspiration in Family Fun.  I was so excited about making this a Thanksgiving Tradition in our home that I jumped right in and made one.  My daughter, now a teenager, still loves to help cut out and prepare new leaves.  Our guests find them scattered about the dining table at Thanksgiving, pens in waiting and tied with twine ready to receive their blessings and be hung to gather and multiply.

So...let's get to it.  How did I craft this blossoming tree of gratitude?

It's really easy and fun to do and there's lots of room for improvising and making it your own.  The first thing I did was scout around the back yard and find a suitable branch.  Mine is approximately 20" tall.  I painted it brown and glued some die-cut leaves here and there.

For the base, I purchased some clay at the craft store that I fashioned into a sort of rock formation.  Before baking the glob of clay, I stuck the end of the branch down the middle to create a hole for it to rest in.  When the time came to assemble the two pieces, I poured a generous amount of glue down the hole to secure the branch in place.  To decorate the base, I cut leaves out of tissue and handmade paper with a leaf punch and glued them to the clay base in layers.  I was shooting for a "pile of leaves" look, but settled for a simple "fall colors" look.

The final step was to print up sheets of leaves on colored card stock in various sizes, cut them out, punch a hole near the stem and tie some twine on each of them for hanging by our guests. You could easily draw and cut them out as well, or use a die-cut if you have one.  I typically prepare two to three leaves per guest.  :)

But...shouldn't we be grateful year-round?

I so love the idea of this and having it on our table; to remember to be grateful during the upcoming holiday season.  It's also loads of fun to go back and see what my daughter, step kids and their significant others were grateful for in years past.

This year I've chosen a different shaped leaf and printed them on red and orange card stock.  I love that my daughter still enjoys helping and it offers up a few cherished moments talking about gratitude and sharing our gratitude.

This tree fills me with so much joy and gratitude that I'm beginning to plan my next one; a brighter, more colorful, year-round gratitude tree.  Perhaps I'll paint it blue, or orange, or yellow?  Hmm.

Happy Fall!

joy & gratitude


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