Monday, December 3, 2012


One quiet morning in November, as I was doing my daily blog stalking reading, I read this post from one of my favorite blogger idols.  She made a tree out of construction paper and her family spent the evening cutting out leaves and writing things they were thankful for.  By the end of the evening, her little bare tree trunk had become a beautiful, glorious tree filled with leaves of gratitude.  

I loved the idea so much that I immediately ran around the house looking for poster board and fall colored construction paper.  I cut out a naked, pitiful tree trunk with some odd looking branches and glued it to a half piece of poster board that I found on Spell Girl's floor.  Then I cut out lots of bright colored leaves and glued a few of them onto the branches with a few of the things I am grateful for this year, and added a quote about gratitude from President Monson.  I hung my little poster board tree on the pantry door in the kitchen (because that's the first place my kids go after school.)  On a nearby counter, I put a cute little box that Mack made a few years earlier, filled with the leaves I had cut out, and a glue stick and Sharpie next to it.  And then all afternoon, I envisioned my kids excitedly scribbling down all the things they were thankful for and running out of leaves before the night was over.   I could hardly wait for them to come home and find the tree...

It took awhile for the idea to catch on...

In fact, my pitiful little tree staying looking very pitiful for most of the night...

I was so disappointed.

But the next morning, leaves started appearing on my little Thankful Tree.  I didn't even see anyone gluing them on, but when I opened the pantry door, I noticed a much less pitiful tree.  And then Flowering Buttercup and her cute friend came home from Seminary and added some.  After breakfast, more leaves appeared.  Every day, the kids and the Scout Master thought of things they needed to add and they would spontaneously grab a Sharpie and a leaf and glue it to the tree.  By the time we left for Utah, my tree was looking full and beautiful.  

I had thought about making a new tree for our Utah family to fill, but one of the kids suggested just bringing the one we had been using, and that was the most brilliant thing I had ever heard.  So we brought it.  And we hung it right in the middle of the most conspicuous wall in the kitchen hoping once again that everyone would love this idea as much as we did and feel compelled to add hundreds of leaves to our tree.  Once again, it took a little while for the idea to catch on.

But on Thanksgiving Day, the cousins came and more leaves appeared...

We loved reading what everyone wrote, and carefully packed our beautifully full tree in the van and brought it home to put back onto our pantry door for the remainder of the month.  (Apparently when we ran out of leaves, someone just cut up post-it notes and taped those on.)  

Last week, Flowering Buttercup wanted to use it for her devotional in Seminary, and all 20 of the kids in her class added more leaves.

Here's what it looks like today...

It's now time to take the tree down and get ready for Christmas, but guess what!  All the kids are so excited about this little project and so sad to see this tree go away that they have asked if I can make a THANKFUL CHRISTMAS TREE that they can decorate with little gratitude ornaments.  Hmmm...??  Maybe I'll do that when I have a minute to take a breath this month.

My tree doesn't look like the one in that other blog, and some of those leaves are filled with goofy things, but I loved this project anyway.  I loved the way it made my family try to find things during the week that they could add to the tree.  I loved how proud they were to see it filling up and becoming beautiful.  I'm so grateful for inspiring blog friends, for reminders to be thankful, and for the month of November when we are all more aware of the blessings in our lives.  

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