A {Christian} Family Thanksgiving Activity: The Thanks Giving Tree {Free Printable}

Leaves aren’t ever purely green and not everything is as it seems.

The kids and I walk through the orchard and November.




That’s what I tell the kids.

That all summer, the chlorophyll of the leaf, all that green, absorbs the sun and releases food and it this cycle of chlorophyll that cloaks the leaves’ pure colors.

Shalom kneels under the pear tree, picks herself a yellow leaf, gold for a pocket.

I finger the edge of a scarlet one.

“But come the fall of the year, come November —  the chlorophyll ebbs. And the green dims.”

Shalom holds up an ember leaf.

“And there it is — the leaf’s true colors!”

Shalom whispers, bowed over her gilded leaf — “You mean this leaf was always this colour?”

And I nod.

All this brilliance, all this God glory — it is always here.

But life can blind and truth can hide in plain sight and the ways of God burn underneath everything. 

Life has blinding cycles of its own — but our God is always blazing glory.

And when you whisper thanks to God — you glimpse the glory of God and pure grace colors your world. 

And I pick up a pen to thank through the fall days.

And the dark ebbs and the shadows dim —

and all the trees and the thankful ignite with the true colours of the glorious now.







Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 11.00.28 AM




Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 10.30.34 AM



Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 10.45.07 AM


Make your own: The Thanks Giving Tree {Free Printable}

1. Print out The Thanks Giving Tree (Spanish Edition here)

2. Cut out all of the leaves. Hole punch each leaf. Slip a string through each hole.

3. Hang the leaves on a bouquet of branches in a container of your choice.

4. Each morning, pick one leaf, reflect on its verse and make the verse your prayer of thanksgiving back to God. Then set it at the base of  The Thanks Giving Tree.

5. In the evening, return to the leaf and its verse and give thanks to God.  And then jot down one gift you are grateful to God for on the back of the leaf.

Make giving thanks a daily habit — and daily wear joy! 

6. (While it’s life-changing to cultivate a habit of thanksgiving over several weeks, life circumstances might alternatively have you jotting down thanksgiving for His gifts on all the leaves at one time, or, as a family, filling all the leaves during one family gathering.)

7. Or!  Each morning, leave one of The Thanks Giving Tree leaves hanging somewhere, and on the back of the leaf, jot down why you are grateful for your spouse, your child, your co-worker, your neighbour. Use the Thanks Giving Tree to reach out and ignite your community with a radical revolution of gratitude! Joy! Dare!

Each day this month, I’ll be sharing one Thanks Giving Tree leaf on Facebook and Twitter and how we used that verse today! Join in with us! “Give thanks in the assembly!” Ps. 35:18

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 2.26.42 PM

Related: 15 Ways to Raise More Grateful, Happier Kids 

How Writing Down your Thanks is proven to make you 25% Happier!


And from our home to yours — 

60 Devotionals for the whole holiday season of gifts — with space for you to write down the legacy of your own 1000 gifts:

One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces
and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are