Inspired by Thanksgiving: How To Make a “Tree of Thanks”
Though Thanksgiving has inspired a flurry of shopping holidays (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday), the day itself has mostly resisted commercialization, with many national chains publicly stating their opposition to Gray Thursday. Typically, Thanksgiving’s rituals and traditions have no gift giving component–only good food, good company, and pointed appreciation. The holiday encourages gratitude for what one already has, rather than a desire for more.
In the same way that Thanksgiving is about acknowledging what you already have, there’s no need to go out and buy something special to make a Tree of Thanks (the kid-friendly activity that we’re sharing below). For our Tree of Thanks, we used a tumbleweed that spends the rest of the year as a centerpiece on a coffee table. The tumbleweed, foraged from Texas, has an unrefined, oft-neglected beauty, being (after all) a kind of desert debris. But just as Thanksgiving encourages us to recognize all that is otherwise taken for granted, so too does the tumbleweed inspire reflection and reconsideration. In creating your own Tree of Thanks, look to the beauty in what you already have by sourcing a transportable plant from your garden or gathering branches from your yard.
Inspired by Yoko Ono’s Wish Trees, our Tree of Thanks gives Lil’ Sprouts a way to visualize gratitude, underscoring the importance of articulating who you are thankful to and what you are thankful for with hands-on, meaningful crafts. Learning to be aware of what one has is an important step in leading a fuller life. Plus, the decorated tree makes for an excellent piece of organic, natural décor!
- a small tree, a bouquet of tall branches, or a plant with sturdy, branching stems
- seed paper
- pens, pencils, or markers
- single hole puncher
- leaves gathered from outside
- Trace leaves onto seed paper to create a leaf template. Cut out the leaves and punch a hole at the top of each, threading a short piece of twine (about 2 inches) through the hole.
- Write down something you are grateful for on the seed paper and decorate. Tie the other end of the twine to one of the branches.
- When Thanksgiving is over, the seed paper can be planted outside and twine (as long as it contains no plastic) can be tossed in the compost.
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