Thanksgiving Tree Tradition

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Thanksgiving Tree Tradition

Now that my kids are getting older, I want to emphasize and celebrate the concept of Thanksgiving. It seems this rich, meaningful holiday can easily get lost in the shuffle of turkey dinners, Black Friday shopping, and Christmas anticipation.

As I pondered this, I remembered something my roommates and I had done in college. We made a tree together from branches and wrote our thanks on leaves. I decided this would be a fun activity to do as a family, and it adds a festive decoration to our home.


Here’s What We Did:

  • I took the kids on a branch hunt. We searched our yard and along the sidewalks of our neighborhood for a couple of “perfect” branches.
  • Once we found them, we brought our branches home and spray painted them white. It just seemed more sanitary that way somehow…
  • Then we found a leaf template online (I used this one), and printed out leaves on colored card stock and construction paper we found in our craft bin.
  • After cutting them out we punched holes and made loops of twine through each.

About a week before Thanksgiving, we will begin writing on the leaves. Once a day, we plan to take time as a family to talk about one thing for which we are each thankful. As thanksgiving draws nearer we will fill up our tree with our thanks.


My Hopes for This Thanksgiving Tree

  • It will get kids excited about being thankful and draw out the conversation beyond just one day.
  • As parents, we will model thankfulness for children, which I believe is powerfully important.
  • Kids can be involved in mostly every step of the process (depending on their ages), so it was and is a fun craft/activity to do with them. I feel like I don’t do that enough.
  • It makes a cheerful, colorful and meaningful centerpiece for our home.



And there’s still plenty of time for you and your family to join in!

If you don’t have one already, find a fun activity to help guide your children’s hearts towards thankfulness within the next two weeks. It’s worth it!

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving with your children?


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Thanksgiving Tree Tradition- A Thanksgiving Advent Activity for Families


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  1. Pat McCaw says:

    Awesome idea!!

  2. Mary Crawford says:

    What a great idea! Love it! Thanks Katie!

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