DIY Thankful Tree

This week, I want to share with you all one of my favorite Thankgiving crafts and decor. Instead of just being adorable– which don’t get me wrong, adorable still has a purpose– it also is meaningful. It has the ability to help you focus on what is truly important, and what you DO have instead of what you DONT have. That’s not always easy to do, due to human nature I suppose. So if there is any little way we can help our hearts remember the great things in our lives, we should do it, wouldn’t you agree? I present, the Thankful Tree!

Alright, enough with the sappiness. Let’s get to the crafting! The creation brings me happiness, and the weeks afterward adding to it each day bring me happiness too! The idea is, you create a beautiful little tree in a vase, little wooden circle “leaves” with hooks, and then each day your family writes something that they are thankful for on a leaf and then hang it on the tree. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, the tree is full of messages of things that bring your family joy. If it’s in the center of your table, how can you family think forget about their blessings? Oh and by the way, it’s super easy and cheap!


Aesthetics: 8/10

Usefulness: 9/10

Difficulty: 2/10

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tree branch or two (FREE)
  • Skinny vase ($1 at Dollar Store)
  • Fairy String Light (optional) ($3 on or more for your money on Amazon)
  • Gold ribbon ($1 at Dollar Store)
  • Wooden Circles ($3 at craft store)
  • Thin twine ($3 at craft store)
  • Glue gun and hot glue sticks ($2 at Dollar Store)
  • Sharpie ($1 at Dollar Store)
  • Metallic gold pen ($2 at Walmart)

Your first job will be to find branches that you love out in the forest. Try to find ones that are 2-3 feet tall with lots of different small twigs going in all different directions. 

If you are having trouble finding the right branches for free, there are some options online. There are a couple of reasons to consider these fake branches. They will be beautiful, sturdy, and you can use them year after year. Plus, you won’t have to go searching through the forest every year. Here is an unlit option, and here is a lit version. They will not be as cheap, but perhaps they are an investment into the traditions future. 

On the other hand, you may love a traditional annual forest walk, especially if your search for the perfect branch is with someone special. If that’s the case, go on that hunt and find this year’s thankfulness tree. I’ve only done the tree once, but I think I will try to convince the hubby to create this tradition with me. It sounds like a super fun and free date!

Anyway, once you have found your branches, stick them inside of your vase. It should be a thin and tall vase so that your branches are sticking up and sturdy, but if it is too wide, you will need to put some filler inside of the vase. This could be smooth pebbles from the dollar store, free small pine cones, or even orange leaves if you find them. The most pretty option, however, is probably these fairy strand lights wrapped up inside the vase to give it a warm glow. 

Next, tie your pretty ribbon around the top of the vase. This will be the finishing touch that ties your tree all together and makes it look like an elegant piece of decor. Decide where you want to place the tree, whether it be a mantelpiece, shelf, or the middle of your table (which I personally recommend so that your family actually remembers to write their thankful leaves each day!) and place it there until the Christmas tree replaces it. 

Now, to prepare all of your wooden leaves. I am only calling them leaves for lack of a better word, but basically they are little wooden circles with a loop of thin twine hot glued to the back to act as a loop to hang on. You can find them at any craft store or here. 

First, cut pieces of your thin twine about 3-4 inches long. Take one of wooden slices out, heat up your hot glue gun, and put a dollop of glue at the top back of one of the wood slices. Place one end of the twine into the glue, then place the other end into the glue dollop as well. Put some weight onto the wood slice if you need to so that it will dry and secure onto the slice as a loop. 

Do this to as many wooden leaves as you would like to have for the season. The sky is the limit really, because although your tree has only a certain number of branches, you can hang each one from different areas of each branch and stack them on top of each other as much as necessary. Therefore, I would recommend making as many leaves as days you have left until Thanksgiving times the number of people you would like to participate. For instance, is there are 20 days until Thanksgiving (assuming you are on top of things at the beginning of November, unlike me this year 😜), and you and your significant other will be writing one thing per day, then you will need 40 wood slices. If you’re like me, you only have like one week until Thanksgiving. In that case, you may want to do more than one per day so that the tree looks full of gratefulness by the big day. But that’s okay, just do as many as you want to make your hearts full! (Okay sorry I’ll stop being so mushy.)

Find a small Mason jar and place all of the leaves inside of it. Or if you have a cute box or bowl, you can certainly use that instead. This will be a cute and effective way to remind your family to write one and then hang it on the tree. Lay a black sharpie, or if you are feeling more fancy a gold pen, next to the bowl so that the setup will be a breeze. No one will have any excuses to miss a day!

Now you’re all set to create an atmosphere of joy and gratefulness. It will be the perfect touch of Thanksgiving spirit to your home. 

I’ll be the first person to admit there are more ways than one to do a craft. Here are a few examples of other ways to do a Thankfulness Tree! They are just as beautiful, but all have their own twists. Choose the one that fits your style the best. 

This method is very similar to mine, but uses red and tan raffia around the top of the vase, and also requires the circles to be cut out of patterned cardstock or craft paper instead of pre-made circles with loops. The thing I like about this method is that it has holes in the top of the circle leaves to hang on the tree rather than long loops. Both are cute, they just have a different look. 


The next method uses more embellishment around the bottom which looks adorable, and looks to be using the prelit branches you can buy on Amazon to add a little sparkle. The leaves are not circled, but actual leaf shapes cut out of paper and tied with twin in a bow. It looks more like a realistic tree, which I think is beautiful. 


The next method looks so gorgeous! The branches are extra long, so although they are reaching out of a vase, they look like they are reaching up to a chandelier and almost hanging from the ceiling. Yet again, the leaves are simply craft paper with twine loops around the stems. The use of lots of purples instead of just hot colors is also a very classy touch. 


Here is one more method of a Thankfulness tree, although it is not a centerpiece in the same way. I love his idea, especially with kids! It is more colorful and noticeable, which may encourage little ones to remember and want to participate more. 


Your turn! Have you tried a Thankfulness Tree before? Which of these designs do you want to try next? Do you think it would help your family be more thankful this Holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

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