I love the holiday to a degree that annoys and confounds my husband. However, as I grow older, I find that my belief system is not always aligned with the traditions and history of many holidays. This year, in particular, I am feeling a need for deeper truth on the special occasions. So, as the calendar clipped to November, I found myself face to face with Thanksgiving. I have always cooked a great meal and happily watched my nearest and dearest gorge themselves on it annually. The month itself, however, seemed unimportant…just a countdown to a meal. I decided to change that. While trying to figure out a way to celebrate fall, and family and generally be thankful, I took a walk in the park. I marvelled at nature. Deeply inhaling to take in all the smells of Autumn, my favorite season (not that we get much of one her in sunny SoCal…but I like to pretend). On this walk, I started collecting fallen branches from trees here and there, and brought them home. These dying branches would serve a purpose, I thought. We will celebrate them with thanks. And so, the Thankful Tree was born in our home.
The idea is as simple as the picture would suggest. Each day, we each write one thing we are thankful for on a tag, and then hang it on our tree. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I’m hoping it will look like a tree filled with autumn leaves. We plan to sit together, before we eat, and read all the cards aloud. That’s it. Simple gratitude. If all goes according to plan, this will now be our annual November tradition. It feels really rewarding and makes me very happy to see our little tree filling up so quickly. This is also a wonderful tool for teaching children about gratitude!