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Flashback Friday – DIY Thankful Tree – 2 ways!

A note from the Editor: For this #FlashbackFriday we chose to bring back this awesome post on doing a Thankful Tree, just in time for you to prepare one for your family for the month of November. It spread like wildfire on Pinterest (Love it? PIN it below…) and continues to get hits because it is a great idea to do with  your family, so that you can celebrate the season of Thanks!  Enjoy!

I don’t mean to brag, but my daughter is a thankful kid.

She is very good at remembering to say please and thank you – unprompted – at the ripe old age of two. I like to think my husband and I have had something to do with that. It’s important to me to teach her that she can find something to appreciate and glean from every season and circumstance in her life. One of my favorite traditions that has helped in developing this characteristic in her is making a “Thankful Tree” every year and adding to it every day of the month of November. Below is a tutorial for you to make your own. BONUS: There are two different ones to choose from.

DIY Thankful Tree – 2 ways! 

1. Wall Thankful Tree:  Budget: $0.00


  • Draw and cut out a tree. I did this from some leftover brown packing paper I had in our garage.
  • Stick it to the wall using double-sided Scotch tape.
  • Then, steal procure SEVERAL of the *FREE* Behr paint chips they basically throw at you in Home Depot – BONUS: they are already in the shape of leaves!
  • If you don’t have a Home Depot nearby, you can still easily cut leaf shapes out of paint chips (even if they are multi-colored!)
  • Everyday write on one of the leaves, and then stick it to the wall with the adhesive of your choice. Part of the fun is, when you run out of all the obvious things to say, you have to get creative.
  • By the end of the month your tree will be full and beautiful!


2. “Organic” Branch Thankful Tree: Budget: $4.62, + previously owned materials


1st: Take a walk around your neighborhood and gather as many big, branchy sticks as you can find. 2nd: CLEAN IT!  Remove any moss, bugs or other unwanted wildlife from the branches before bringing them in. Then arrange them in a tall, beautiful jar. (*Note: your jar needs to be heavy and big in relation to your branches, or it will tip over.)3rd:  Make Thankful Tags. • “adult” tags. (ones we can write on) I used some pretty scrapbooking paper and cut several strips about 1inx3in in size. I punched a hole on one end of each tag, to string them onto the tree. I placed the tags and the string in a small glass jar next to the “tree” on our table, for easy access. • “toddler” tags. I wanted to do something special so that my daughter could really feel like she is participating. So I decided to make “picture” tags for her to use. This took a little extra time and effort – but I am telling you, SHE. LOVES. IT. Since not all of you will need this part, I have placed it at the end of this article.  *** (See BONUS SECTION below for the tutorial on how to make the “toddler tags.”) 4th: The “Give Thanks” Banner:

  1. Cut triangles in alternating colors (using more of the same scrapbooking paper).
  2. PRINT OUT “Give Thanks” printable, found here.
  3. Cut out the circles.
  4. Stick them to the triangles using some form of adhesive- glue, or double sided tape works well.
  5. Punch holes in both corners of each triangle, and string the letters on in order. I made my banner two-tiered, since it didn’t really fit on my branches as one long piece.
  6. String up your mini banner on the “tree” by wrapping each end around some of the small twigs toward the top.

And there you have it – your very own thankful tree for you and your family to adorn and enjoy! This project took one afternoon and only $4.62 to create. If you skip the laminating, it is completely FREE, if you’re like me and have these things kickin’ around the house already!I am so happy that my daughter is enjoying this new “tradition” as much as I am! I hope that this will one day be one of the special things she remembers us doing together as a family over the holidays. I would love to see your version of a “Thankful Tree”! What other ideas do you have for teaching your children to be thankful?     

*** BONUS Section- Toddler Tags Tutorial:

1st: Make Your Printable of Images: Collect all kinds of pictures of your friends and family, or beloved toys/objects.  Then place them each into something like a Word Document. I made mine black and white. As you can see, I increased the printable margins to fit more pictures onto one page. (*Note: this step is the most time-consuming, depending on how many pictures you want to collect.)2nd:  Print them out (it took two sheets for me – 32 pictures, in about 1″x1″ squares), and cut them apart. 3rd: Tape the pictures to scrap booking paper. *Note: when placing the pictures on the scrap booking paper, be sure to leave enough room for an even border on all sides of each picture (this means your pictures will need to be placed far enough apart in order that you will not trim OFF the border on one picture while trimming AROUND the border on another picture. I know, not confusing at all, right? Right.) 4th: Laminate. (optional) Now, you can totally skip this step, and just be more vigilant with your child as he/she plays with your tags. But for me, what is great about this idea, is that it: a.) makes the tags “toddler-proof”, b.) means they will last a REALLY long time (we could use them for other projects, and even on NEXT YEAR’s tree!), and c.) it took fifteen minutes and only cost me $4.62. at Kinko’s. A couple of things to keep in mind while laminating (that I almost forgot): 1. Place tags right side up (tops of heads toward top of paper, chins toward bottom). This helps to avoid confusion when planning for your borders. 2. Similar to when you were cutting the scrapbook paper borders – leave room in your spacing so that each picture’s border is even. 3. Leave EXTRA space for the border that runs ACROSS THE TOP of each picture – this is where you will punch a hole so you can string these up on the tree. 5th:, Cut the (now laminated) tags apart and punch a hole in the top of each one. I also took the time to round off the corners of the tags, since they were pretty jagged. I just freehanded it – not perfect, but totally functional.6th: Tie a small piece of string in a loop through the hole of each tag. Then, place all of the finished tags in another jar next to the “tree.” This way kids can just “grab and go” – always the best policy for Toddlers. Well, maybe not ALWAYS… but you get the point!