Sharing a Tradition - The Gratitude Tree

Sharing a Tradition - The Gratitude Tree

Happy fall to my Sabbath-Day Woods family!


Some of you may know me, but most of you do not. Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Chrissy, and I work at Sabbath-Day Woods. We are a small team so I wear many hats, but I mainly handle office work these days.

Yesterday, as you may know, was the first official day of fall. My son was all grins in the morning when he looked at the calendar. It isn’t really a holiday. There are no presents or candy. So why would my son care about the beginning of autumn?

Well, we have a pretty fun tradition that I would like to share with you. When fall begins we make our family gratitude tree. You may have heard of gratitude trees since they have become popular with parents and teachers in recent years. I am not sure where it started, but I think it is brilliant. We have been doing it for years, and it always manages to lift my spirits and put me in a great mindset to tackle the sometimes stressful holiday season.

Basically a gratitude tree is a “tree” that you make. It can be drawn, scultped, or pieced together. Then you make leaves to add to the tree, and on each leaf you write down something that makes you grateful. 

The idea behind the gratitude tree is to be thankful more than just one day in the fall. We all make an extra effort to give thanks on Thanksgiving, but that seems insufficient for the many blessings in our lives. At my house we make our tree on the first day of fall, and we keep it up until Thanksgiving. We try to add a leaf every day. On Thanksgiving we read the leaves together. It’s a simple tradition, but one that reminds us of how blessed we truly are even when times are difficult. 

Here is how we make our tree each year…

First, as a family we gather a branch (or more) depending on what we can find in the yard. We try to find some with lots of little off-shoots so we have plenty of places to hang our leaves.

After making sure there are no critters living on them (a very important step in my opinion), we bring the branches inside and get to work making the “tree.” We have tried different methods for this over the years, but the easiest way I have found is to put some rocks or marbles in the bottom of a vase. Then arrange the branches in the vase.

Next, is to make the leaves. Anything will work as long as you can write on it. Construction paper is a great way to make the tree extra colorful. We hang ours with fishing line, but ribbon or twine work well too. We always try to make a big batch when we make the tree. Then we pick a couple leaves to get it started and write what we are grateful for that day. We continue with that over the following weeks. It is always fun to read them all together on Thanksgiving. Inevitably, “cookies” and “chocolate” always seem to earn their own leaves. :)

Well, thank you for letting me share one of my family traditions with all of you. I hope you all have a wonderful autumn season.

Wishing you all the best,


Chrissy Sullivan

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