Activity of the Week

Gratitude Tree

Last updated: Jul 02, 2012

tree branch
All Rights Reserved

It's easy to complain. Remembering to be grateful needs a nudge. Studies have shown that being grateful boosts the immune system, curbs depression, and even contributes to a better night's sleep. Creating a gratitude tree is a perfect family craft; it's something everyone can add to, and it's an easy way to bring nature into your home.

What you'll need:

  • A tree branch
  • A pot filled with dirt
  • Small rocks or shells
  • Slips of paper (or construction paper cut into leaves)
  • Tape
  • A marker
  • Optional: a small strand of lights

Why it's great:

  • Being grateful reminds us that although we may have our challenges, life is still good.
  • There's something to be thankful for every day.
  • Every person's list is different.
  • You get to know your family and friends in a new way by understanding what they value and appreciate.
  • You take the idea of gratitude with you wherever you go.
  • It's a wonderful table decoration (especially at Thanksgiving) that can be added to by everyone who sees it.
  • It's fun for all ages, from toddler to centenarian.

How to do it:

  • Go for a walk and choose a small limb with lots of branches.
  • Consider spray-painting your branch. Match a room, or paint it gold or silver during the winter holidays, red for Valentine's Day, or even orange for Thanksgiving.
  • Repurpose a pot or wicker basket. Fill with whatever items you have: dirt, sand, rocks, or shells.
  • Cut out or buy small items such as leaves or hearts to write on. Keep your markers in the pot as part of the decoration.
  • Create a tradition. Do you write your gratitude item as part of dinner? Is it something you do first thing in the morning?
  • Spruce up your limbs with bows, small Christmas ornaments, birds, lights, or other decorative items.
  • When the tree is filled with gratitude tags, take them down and place them in a large bowl. What better way to document your family than to display what you're all thankful for?