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Thankful Tree – Your Easy, Last-Minute Thanksgiving Craft

When looking for a fun, easy craft for Thanksgiving, the Thankful Tree popped up frequently. This is the year I’ve decided to plunge in and start our first tree (if you share my hesitation, see my friend’s cautionary tale here) since our youngest is finally at an age that I think it won’t get destroyed. (Who am I kidding? It’s the older ones who would destroy it.) I love Thanksgiving and all the things that come with it. I’m looking forward to trying a craft that can bring out great talks about what “thankful” really means.

tree base


  1. Leaves – Cut some out from construction paper, or use a leaf paper punch, a Cricut, or buy some! You can also buy pre-cut leaves from Amazon (these even have their own strings!).
  2. Tree – This one took me the most time, because there are so many options! Looking on Pinterest and finding a free download is easy, but you can also cut one out of crafting paper or use a “real” one (twigs, small branches, and a vase). We’re going with pre-made twigs and branches on a stand for our tree. If you want to create your own out of paper, try one of the free downloads available here.
  3. Writing utensils – Choose something that will read well on your leaf of choice and not smudge. Sharpies are great, but if you have littles, you may want to go with a good ole black, washable Crayola marker. You can also consider writing on mailing labels and sticking them on to the leaves, if washable markers will smudge.
  4. Miscellaneous supplies – Depending on the choices you made for your leaves and tree, you may also need a hole punch, string, tape, a stapler, and/or glue.
  5. Display – You’ll need to display the tree somewhere it can be easily seen so you can read the leaves (I also need the reminder to actually do it). 

leaf for treeInstructions

  1. First things first, you simply need to know that you’ll be hanging or applying your leaves to your tree.
  2. So, if you aren’t using twigs and branches, the first thing you’ll need to do is assemble your tree. Your free download should include instructions, so just follow those!
  3. Next, create your leaves if needed. You’ll want to create around 20 for just your immediate family; make more if you intend to include guests or extended family in the festivities! Don’t forget to punch holes to add strings (or simply tape them on).
  4. Once your tree and leaves are ready, have your family members write thankful messages on each leaf. You can do this as a family activity so you can express gratitude together, or you can do this throughout the day.
  5. Finally, hang or apply the leaves to your tree. If you haven’t already read them together, you may want to go through each leaf as a family during your meal or over the long weekend so you can keep those thankful feelings flowing.

leaf for tree


The thing I love most about this activity is that it’s not too early or too late to teach gratitude and giving. This will be a daily reminder to our whole family about what we have to be thankful for. Teaching gratitude is difficult, and talking with each of our kids every day will open the door for those conversations about how we can be thankful. I’m excited that everyone from the 3-year old to the 18-year old can participate. 

Those of you who have done the Thankful Tree, what did you like about it? What didn’t work? Do you have any tips for our moms?

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