How to Make a Thankful Tree

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While our family may still find a little time to do some joy journals, a thankful tree is a simple activity that can be used to collectively show thanks as a family. How to make a thankful tree? Hang on a sec. You have to know the backstory. 

I have to admit- I got a little grumpy in the past week because that brand new dishwasher I’ve been thanking God for since late last winter decided to stop working.

I loaded it to the brim with dirty dishes last week around 8:30 pm, breathed a huge sigh and then… nothing. No lights and no action. It simply would not come on.

I’ve been carrying a grudge over the thing and now, today it has been repaired.

Needless to say, we began a thankful tree tonight. Though it may have helped this mama’s attitude a bit more if we had started it last week when the dishwasher delivered not even one clean fork.

You simply write down items or ideas or praises of thanks on a leaf and hang it on a tree. The cool thing is there are all different kinds of ways to do this and you can start any time. But if you begin now, you’ll have a full tree and fun decoration for Thanksgiving Day.

My niece was kind enough to share her trees with me to show you a few ideas.

Here’s her family thankful tree from last year:

jess tree one

And here is hers from this year:

jess tree two

Then our awesome reader, Kim, was kind enough to send a photo of hers too! Looks neat on the window:

thankful tree

My personal favorite of thanks on this tree is “Caleb going pee on the potty.” Just keeping it real!

Then I thought I would show you the endeavor our family just began tonight. I had it prepped to begin earlier, but well, you know, we’re flexible. And just so you know, we’re not typically fancy folks. But I was leaving the paint store last week and they had a 90% clearance section. This vase was waving at me for $2 and somehow I only paid $.60 for it. Ok, total sidebar. Moving on.

The kids gathered the sticks from the yard for me; I just gave them a gauge for the length…

And here we have it:


So what kind of instruction can I give you on how to make a thankful tree?

thankful tree

1. Decide what you’d like to use for a trunk.

Whether paper or a vase and sticks or you could use felt or a poster board.

2. Choose leaves that are easy to write on.

Here’s a close up of the leaf we’re using.



I would have printed it on color paper, but I had none. We could have colored them but we didn’t have time. 🙂 See what I mean about flexible?

I love the printed paper Kim used in the example above!

In case you need leaves, here’s a simple free printable sheet of the ones we’re using.

3. You can use one leaf per person or pile all the thanks on one leaf like we did.

Bonus points to my husband saying he’s thankful for me on the first night of the thankful tree. He didn’t even know this was going on the blog.

4. Have fun, use your own things without rules, and just write down your thanks.

If you have any more ideas you’d like to submit or if you get crazy and decide to start your own, we’d love to share the pics! Just send them to rachel (at) rachelwojo (dot) com.

See you tomorrow!










  1. Thank you Rachel, for the inspiration. In Australia, we don’t have a thanksgiving tradition but I am going to adapt your thankful tree to become part of our Christmas celebration. As we travel to family for much of our cChristmas break, we often have a Christmas tree of stick branches so we don’t come home to a dead tree a week later. This year, I am going to have the family add ‘thanksgiving leaves’ to our tree, as well as our usual decorations.

    1. oh I just love that, Kylie!! If you have a moment to send a photo, will you? 🙂

  2. This is perfect for my classroom door! The students will enjoy hanging their leaves of thanks on our tree. Thanks for sharing what God lays on your heart eith all of us!

  3. Just a big Thank You for all the things you do for the Love of God and Family your are a very special person and I Thank God for all you share with us it really helps.

  4. Rachel, we do this at school but this post has inspired me to make one at home. We will do it on Monday because we are in the final stages for our fundraiser for Eddie’s family on Sunday! The baskets look gorgeous especially the one with the books in it! Back to the tree! I am excited and think it will look great in the picture window! Hope Taylor is feeling better! Don’t know if it is the change in the seasons, but our little princess at school has been in a spiral of seizures since the weekend and needed O2 at school this week. Each day seems to get a little better but it is so hard! My heart aches for all the innocent children that suffer for reasons beyond our understanding. I will keep Taylor in my prayers as well! My first thankful leaf will be for the gifts that our special children bring to the world each day! God bless!

    1. Thank you, Mary!! For praying for Taylor and for your thankfulness for special children and their gifts. Blessings to you, dear friend!

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