I love a good holiday craft as much as the next person, but a gratitude tree is no ordinary craft. It holds a special secret! Practicing gratitude can help you survive the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and serve as a reminder to count your blessings. In this post, I’m sharing my best gratitude tree activity for families, along with free printable leaves.
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What is a gratitude tree?
A gratitude tree is a visual expression of thanks that reminds us to have a grateful heart. It’s a great way to involve the whole family in a gratitude practice during the Thanksgiving season and beyond.
What is the point of a gratitude tree?
Money may not grow on trees, but happiness can! A recent Harvard Health article suggests gratitude is “strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.”
If you don’t believe Harvard, check out Dr. Brene Brown’s 3-minute video on the relationship between joy and gratitude. Her research on courage, vulnerability, and gratitude will blow your mind. She’s kind of my hero.
Have you ever found yourself feeling like things aren’t going your way or that you’ll feel happy once you achieve/obtain/buy…? Practicing gratitude can refocus your attention to what has gone your way instead of what you lack. Nurturing gratefulness in kids will also set them up for happiness down the road.
Gratitude Tree Activity for Families – Supplies
For the gratitude tree activity, you’ll need the following:
Gratitude Tree Activity for Families – Instructions & Printable Leaves
Step 1: Download leaves to print/cut
First, download your free set of printable leaves below. If you own a Silhouette Cameo machine, you have the option of downloading a “.studio3” cut file.
- Printable Leaves (Print & Cut Download): Single leaf pattern
- Printable Leaves (Silhouette Studio Download): Two leaf patterns
Step 2: Create the tree trunk and branches
Unroll a long strip of brown wrapping paper and rip the top edge into long “trunks” as shown below. Then, crumple the paper to make your tree look gnarly before attaching it to the wall with painter’s tape or another wall-safe adhesive.
Don’t fret about making it look pretty…it’s all about practicing gratitude, not perfectionism! You’ll notice my boys left a little painter’s tape peeking out behind the leaves. Adds character, in my book!
Step 3: Get thankful!
With a routine that works for your family, begin writing your grateful thoughts and comments on each leaf. The key is consistency.
Here’s what surprised me about this activity. My pre-school boys jumped on this gratitude train without much prompting!
A couple of their leaves talked about thankfulness for material possessions, but most had to do with special people or experiences in our lives. The tree really works!
Here’s a closer look at our tree (blue painter’s tape and all). As we go through the season, I’ll post an update of our finished tree.
Related fall posts:
10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Beyond the Tree
- Pray or meditate each day, starting with, “I’m thankful for…”
- Keep a gratitude journal or download a gratitude app.
- Send thank-you notes.
- Set a daily gratitude calendar reminder.
- Say what you are thankful for at family mealtime.
- Thank a co-worker or friend with a small gift.
- Listen to a podcast or music about thankfulness.
- Read a book about gratitude.
- Read books about gratitude to your kids.
- Have a family contest to count your blessings!
Don’t forget to pin it for later!