Of all the Thanksgivings I spent at my late grandmother’s house (18 years worth!), there’s one that really sticks out to me. With fragrant wafts of the feast coming our way from the kitchen, she asked each family member to choose something we were really thankful for and mark it on a “gratitude tree” that she had created on her wall. That was the year I realized that this holiday is about much more than just playing with my cousins, and that I was a very lucky girl.
This will be my family’s first Thanksgiving without her, so it’s the perfect time to replicate my grandmother’s project with my own thrift-store twist. Here’s how I did it:
Visit your local Goodwill’s kitchen aisle searching for a breakfast tray. If you don’t have any string or twine at home, make sure you check the craft section of the store, too. You’ll also need scissors, a hole-punch, green washi tape, a pen, plus this banner template and this tree template (free downloads!).
Start by printing out the two templates on regular 8 ½ x 11 paper and cutting them each out. Printing on cardstock will make your project sturdier, but I used regular paper and mine came out just fine. Once everything’s cut out, punch a hole in each of the top two corners of every banner triangle.
Place a few of pieces of rolled tape on the back of the tree and adhere it to the bottom of your tray. It’s okay that most of the branches are flying free because when you add the washi tape “leaves” they’ll overlap the branches and help them stay where they need to be.
Next, string and hang two banners. Hold the banners up where you want them to be and tape each end of the twine down on the back of the tray. Now you’re ready to count your blessings, leaf by leaf. As I mentioned before, when you add leaves you can stick them partially over the branches that may be a little droopy. You don’t have to do this for all of them, but it will help the tree stand tall and proud!
Why use a tray instead of placing the tree directly on the wall or using poster board? A tray is mobile so you can take it to and from your family’s Thanksgiving with you. You also won’t need to put any holes in or tape on your walls! Plus, it’s sturdy enough to stand on its own, as opposed to a piece of poster board. And (here’s the best part), when you find new uses for old things at Goodwill, you will be helping this organization to strengthen lives, families, and communities. I’m sure your community members will be thankful for your support!
So far my tree only includes the things that my husband and I are grateful for. I can’t wait to see it on Thanksgiving day when the branches are bursting with gratitude from all of my family members!