Thanks to the amazing crafty search engine known as pinterest, I found this idea last year and knew I wanted to start it this year.
First thing, I rolled into my girlfriend's classroom with my roll of kraft paper to create the trunk base. An overhead projector, printed tree clip-art, and a pencil, I set to work outlining and cutting out my tree...while E looted some poor girl's desk and played with her pencil sharpener shavings and T ate random bits off the floor. Family effort involved here. Once home, I taped it up to our small wall space between our kitchen and eating area. It fit just perfectly.
Then I added the "W+J" carving and thought I was done. E protested, asking, "Where's my letter?" so instead I added his and T's hand prints. Now, it was our family's Thankful Tree.
Next stop was my parents' house to make the leaves. I printed 60 leaves on my mom's cricut, using various colored and printed card stock. I added a piece of tape to the back of each and added the leaves to the bottom. My thinking was that W and I would share one leaf while E would have the other. Thus, having enough room to fit everyone's thanks for the entire 30 days in November.
Each dinner time this month, we'll take two leaves, add our gratitude, and put them among the branches of the tree.
Even though this is such a simple exercise and really one I should be doing every day all year long, I already notice a change in perspective and attitude. I'm looking out for the blessings of every day. I'm appreciating the roles I have, the people I love, and things I already possess. It's been a great reminder that we already have more than enough.