Thanks and Giving


Autumn is my favorite time of year. One of the main reasons is because I LOVE Thanksgiving. I think it's wonderful to celebrate all the bounteous goodness God has blessed us with. To gather round with family and friends and enjoy good food and great company. It also helps that Thanksgiving is not so commercialized as other holidays have become.

When my oldest was 4 we started a little tradition that has helped my children focus on not only being grateful but on giving as well. We call them our Thanks & Giving trees. I print off two bare trees for each child. Every evening starting November 1st we put one leaf on each tree. On one leaf we write something we are grateful for and stick it on the Thanks Tree. On another leaf we write something we have done to serve or give to others and place it on our Giving Tree. Serving can be as simple as smiling at someone, singing a song to a crying baby, sharing a toy, or writing a letter to Grandma.

Children are so attune to what is around them. They are also innocent, caring, thoughtful, considerate. I'm always amazed every year to hear what they are thankful for and what they have found to do for others. As my children grow their thankful lists have changed becoming more thoughtful, more mature. This simple little tradition has helped us realize how wonderful life really is. It has caused our hearts to fill with gratitude for all God's tender mercies towards us. Our eyes have been opened to the service we can do, simple as it may be, to spread kindness and goodness to others around us.

Thanks and Giving Trees PDF


Download the file to print out your own Thanks and Giving trees as well as the leaves to go on them. Hopefully your trees will be full of service and gratitude by Thanksgiving. Wouldn't it be fun to read what's on them before Thanksgiving dinner?




Cocoa Signature

reposted from October 31, 2007

56 comments :

  1. I absolutely LOVE this idea!! Thanks for posting the files for the trees. What a great family tradition :)

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  2. Thanks so much! This is a wonderful idea!

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  3. Great tradition. Thanks for the file.

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  4. This really is a great idea. I think I might have to "copy-cat"!

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  5. We loved doing this last year! Thanks for posting these again! We are looking forward to doing them again this year.

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  6. Every year I say I'm going to do this and every year I don't get it together. THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT. I love this idea so much.

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  7. Fabulous idea, and thank you so much for sharing the PDF.

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  8. this is a really wonderful idea. thanks for sharing!

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  9. What a fantastic idea. I am looking forward to printing and starting our trees today. I'm so glad I found this early in November. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. We did this last year, I made my own. I was planning on doing it this year as well. You're download is going to save me a ton of time!
    Thanks!

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  11. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing!

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  12. Thank you for creating and sharing this!

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  13. I added this to my upcoming article for Heart of the Matter. Thanks again!

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  14. Thank you very much for sharing this. :)
    It's a wonderful idea for Thanksgiving.

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  15. Beautiful idea! I just printed it out and am going to tie this into my daughter's homeschool lesson today.

    I also just read her Karma Wilson's cute little book about giving thanks.

    Thank you so much for the adorable pattern!!

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  16. thanks so much for the printables! they're beautiful and so is the idea.
    we're starting this tonight!

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  17. Thanks so much!!! I'm printing mine off right now!

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  18. You beat me to the comment!

    Thanks for this idea! I wish I could have printed out your awesome trees and leaves, but I am running LOW on ink, so I had to pull out my paper. I made the tree about four feet tall, so my son keeps trying to "climb the tree".

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  19. We did this last year and we LOVED it! Thanks for sharing all your great and clever ideas!

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  20. THis is a lovely idea! We will do it!

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  21. Love it!!! Thanks so much. It's beautiful too!!

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  22. thank you for this i think it is a fabulous idea!

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  23. Came over from Crafty Crow...just wanted to say thanks for the download and for such a fab idea!

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  24. love them too... i linked your grand idea to my blog. getting more and more people out there to be greatful and giving. love it!!!

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  25. I love this so much! Thanks so much for sharing the idea and the download. That was very giving of you;)

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  26. What a fabulous idea! I love it! We have a monthly kiddie book club where we read the kids a book and do a craft. Next week I host and this would be perfect! I'm having trouble opening the PDF because it's saying the bandwidth has been exceeded. You must have had a lot of hits! Would you mind sending it to my email? I know all my friends would love this. Thank you for the wonderful idea! reginalogan@msn.com

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  27. I love it! Thanks for this. We are starting a little late but it will still be great!

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  28. I love this idea! And I really want to start it before we have kids, so we're not scrambling to have "meaningful" traditions only once they are around. thanks!

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  29. This is super cute. I am posting a link on our group home school page. Thanks

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  30. Thanks for the great idea! I printed this out on full sheet sticker paper, rough cut around the trees and leaves and stuck it on a blue piece of poster board. Then I cut out a sun from the leftover sticker paper and had my daughter color it in. So far, she is thankful for snow and sharing cookies!

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  31. What a great idea! I will have to do this with my dd!

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  32. What a wonderful idea! You rock, I am linking your blog to my thanksgiving page at my site: www.bearabledeals.com/thanksgiving.htm

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  33. Thanks you for sharing such a beautiful idea! Lately I've been feeling that Thanksgiving has been getting skipped over a bit with the push of Christmas, so this is a wonderful opportunity to teach our children to recognize the bounty in our lives.

    I'm so happy to have found your beautiful blog!

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  34. wow, thanks for the great idea. I want to take this in a different direction and use it for out thanksgiving cards we send out in lieu of Christmas cards. Do you have the original file you could send me that is editable in photoshop? Or where do I find this great tree/leaves to purchase? Many thanks! toushay73@gmail.com

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  35. This is a great idea! Thanks! I'll be featuring this on my site.

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  36. So sweet! I'll feature this on www.SimpleMakes.com for this weekend's "Snapshot" roundup link post.

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  37. This is such a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing it. I like the take on GIVING...We will be incorporating this idea this year in our home.

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  38. I've been looking forward to doing this, but couldn't remember where I'd seen the cute idea & graphics. What a pleasant thing to remember that it was my friend Cocoa! Thanks for posting this. I'm looking forward to seeing what Monkey tells us.

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  39. I've seen this before with just the Thanks tree. I love the idea of both the Thanks and Giving trees together. Thanks for sharing :)

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  40. Wow. I love this! It's a great family tradition!

    Thank you.

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  41. I love this idea! Thanks for posting the files, too. We are going to have to start this tradition at our house. You should link this to the Handmade Holidays at The Snail's Trail.

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  42. Oh love this idea! Do you keep them year after year?

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  43. Lovely idea! I'm from Holland, so we don't celebrate thanksgiving. However, I have been searching the net for a heirloom tree for a while now, and your trees and leaves are just perfect for my plans! Thanks a lot!

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  44. I love this idea! We just started one tonight with our kids, and I plan on doing it again next year.

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  45. I love this! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tool to teach thanksgiving. I've been looking for something to do this Thanksgiving season and this is perfect.

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  46. Thank you so much for this idea. I teach a ladies Sunday School class and this is going to be a project for each one in my class! I am also going to take it to Portland to my daughter's family at the end of this month!!! Praise God!

    deb :)

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  47. I am so grateful for this idea. I teach a ladies SS class and we will do this in our homes next month! I will also take the idea to Portland this month to share with my family! Peace and Joy to you...deb :)

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  48. Love this idea and we will definitely use it!! Thank you!

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  49. Hmmmm,I'm laughing now,because this is pretty much exactly what we did last year, except it was in advent calendar form...so we wrote what we were thankful for and put the little pieces of paper inside the pockets of our Thanksgiving Advent calendar. Then at Thanksgiving dinner, we each read the slips of paper out loud. It was actually really spiritual!

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  50. This is really wonderful. I love the two separate trees for remembering what you are thankful for AND practicing sharing your blessings through service. Lovely printables, too! Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm including it in a Friday Favorites - Thanksgiving Traditions post on my blog. Feel free to stop by and grab an "I've Been Featured" button : )
    Jaimee @ craft-interrupted.blogspot.com

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  51. A friend just shared on Facebook that she is doing this. I needed to know more! Truly, this is such a wonderful idea-- many thanks for sharing! :)

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