Thankfulness Trees


September 17, 2020

Although some days this week have felt like the middle of summer, September marks a shift in our seasons and begins the time traditionally known as Harvest.

For many of us this might not seem to relate much to our everyday lives – it brings back vague memories of taking cans of food in for harvest assemblies at school or seeing hay bales in fields on a walk in the countryside… But this year it has really caught my attention.

As we adjust to increased restrictions again, there are so many challenges, frustrations, discouragements… and yet there is so much to enjoy, to be thankful for. Harvest is a time for looking at the food we have to eat, and everything else we have been given, and feeling grateful.

I’ve begun to collect some thankfulness quotes on our Words and Thoughts Pinterest board and would love to hear what inspires you to appreciate the good things in life. You may also be interested to read the 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

I hope the ideas below help you connect with the fun of harvest time and that some moments of thankfulness can lift your spirits…

There’s something about saying things out loud that seems to make them more real. And whatever we spend time talking about will get bigger in our heads, taking up more of our attention and focus.

I’ve been trying to learn this for years, especially when it comes to being thankful (Ann Voskamp’s beautiful book, One Thousand Gifts, has really helped), but it’s very much a work in progress. I’ve recently come across an idea that is giving us opportunities to talk about what we’re grateful for, both in our family and with friends who visit. Thankful trees are a way of taking time to think and share the good things we have in our lives, remembering and celebrating them together.

As you can see from our efforts, a thankful ‘tree’ can simply be a few sticks. Then everyone takes scraps of coloured paper, writes on what they are thankful for and hangs them on the sticks. However, if you’d like to make it more of a decoration for your home, you can find yourself a branch of whatever size you’d like and there are lots of possibilities for ‘leaves’ to write on…

There are plenty of leaf shape templates available if you’d like to cut out paper leaves, or why not go on a walk and collect leaves – they can be used as templates, or you can preserve the leaves and use them to write on. Or perhaps you’d like to choose a material that can be reused each year as part of a thankfulness harvest tradition – wooden chalk board tags work really well.

Once you get going you’ll be surprised how many leaves your tree grows but it can be hard to know where to start so you might like this list of 100 amazing things to be grateful for or this 30 days of gratitude plan.  And for all the parents and carers out there, this little gem holds some good reminders.