Every Thanksgiving, most Americans contemplate their blessings with an attitude of gratitude. We think back on the past 12 months and see all the things that have happened. Often families share what they are thankful for at the dining room table sharing their Thanksgiving meal. Years ago JoBeth Lightfoot, my husband’s aunt, had a family tradition at Thanksgiving that took this gratitude moment a step further. She had a Thanksgiving Tree.
A Thanksgiving Tree
JoBeth’s Thanksgiving Tree were leafless twigs in a pot. She cut out colorful leaves in orange, yellow, and red. Each person would take on leaf and write their blessings on it. Many times it was not a list of things, but a brief explanation of how the Lord had worked in one’s life that year. Our gratitude filled the lifeless stick with color and beauty. In the same way when our hearts have an attitude of gratitude, we too look better and feel better.
The next day, JoBeth would take down everyone’s leaves and place them in a bag labeled with the appropriate year. These bags filled with leaves of thanksgiving were kept as a family record of our thankfulness. I think it is a beautiful tradition on a national holiday now so focused on food, football, and Christmas shopping.
JoBeth has since passed and I don’t have any pictures of her annual Thanksgiving Tree; however, the one at the top of this article is the closest I could find. It comes from Sarah Maker.
- You could put a paper tree trunk on a blank wall in your house. Both family and guests could adhere their leaves of gratitude to the wall. This would work well for smaller kids as the leaves could be larger and they would have more room to draw pictures or write bigger. Of course, it completely depends on your wall space.
- For those with limited wall space, you can use chalk on a chalkboard to create the “naked” tree and tape small, fall leaves on it.
- Or you can purchase a Thankful Tree kit from a store like Target. It is designed to sit on your table or counter and will not take up much room. The kit is super inexpensive and a good place to start if you are not sure you are sold on this tradition.
A Thanksgiving Tree of any kind enables you to display and record your attitude of gratitude. It will become a fun tradition as you realize you will never have enough leaves to properly count your blessings. We are blessed regardless of our circumstances. Happy Thanksgiving!