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Our favorite November Tradition: the thankful tree (with free tags)

    Each year, on November 1st, we pick back up with a favorite family tradition of creating a thankful tree.

    You may remember this from years past … here’s the first post I wrote about it (from 2011!), and another a few years later. We missed doing a thankful tree last year – with the chaos of moving and selling our old house, we just didn’t have a sense of normalcy yet.

    But this year, I’m bringing it back.

    Basically, the premise is this: print out some tags, cut a branch from your yard and pop it into a vase (or any container. Add small rocks to hold it in place, if needed), have your family write something they are thankful for on a tag each day, hang them on your tree.

    By Thanksgiving, you’ll have a tree full of reminders of all the things you have to be grateful for. And, more importantly, you will have practiced and encouraged the beautiful work of being grateful. That’s my favorite part.

    Okay, so to make things super easy for you, I have created a handful of tags you can download a print for free. They are all found in THE ARCHIVE, our library of freebies.

    For our tree this year, I’m using the simple kraft tags (found here).

    Start by printing them on a color printer. I used a slightly textured off-white cardstock, just to give them some interest, but you can use any paper you have on hand.

    We have 6 people in our family and if we each do a tag every day for 23 days leading up to Thanksgiving, that means I’ll need 138 tags. So depending on your family size, print off the quantity needed, and enjoy the quiet repetition of cutting, trimming, hole-punching and tieing. I feel like it’s much easier to get the whole stack prepared ahead of time all in one sitting rather than running out mid-month and doing it all again.

    So, after your tags are printed, cut them all out. A paper cutter comes in handy here (I use this one), but you can use scissors as well.

    Then cut those little notches out. I switched to smaller scissors to make this part easier.

    Using a small hole punch (this is the one I used), punch a hole in the top.

    Next, cut a bunch of pieces of string to size. I ended up using crochet yarn that I’ve had forever and like it’s tiny size. Baker’s twine is cute or any other string you prefer. Just loop it through and tie a knot in the top.

    Darling tags just waiting to be written on.

    In years past, I have used a bare branch, but this time I decided to try it on a clipping with leaves still on. I know those pretty leaves will die in the next week or so and when they do, we’ll just switch to a naked branch.

    But for now, that leafy branch makes the perfect thankful tree. We’re excited to keep this tradition alive this year.

    Grab your free tags today and get them all ready for the first of November!Don’t forget that there are a few different designs to choose from, so if the kraft ribbon tags aren’t your thing, perhaps one of the others will be just right:

    You can download all of these designs – and so much more! – in THE ARCHIVE.


    bar cart – it’s on sale right now! | green vase (similar) | green moss candle | le pen | silver tray – vintage | art

    15 thoughts on “Our favorite November Tradition: the thankful tree (with free tags)”

    1. We do this every year too and my son reminded me an hour ago that I stored last year’s big branch in the attic! We just put it in the dining room and I am currently cutting out colored leaves from cardstock with jute twine for it :)

    2. These are cute! I went to the archive to download the tags and it asked for my e-mail address. But then it asked me to like on facebook (“click below”), but there was nothing to click and I’m not on facebook anyway, and the archive items were still blurred out. Any suggestions?

    3. A great thanksgiving idea and reminder to practice counting your blessings!
      We did something similar where I put a branch in a vase by the door for my daughters first birthday party and all the guests were asked to write a little birthday wish or blessing for her on their way in and hang it on the ‘tree’. A sweet keepsake for her I put in her scrap book, especially since I’m the person that throws out the birthday cards after a week or two (unless of course it has a really special message written in it).

    4. Hi Emily
      It is a very good idea. And I celebrate Thanksgiving with your tags’idea since 3 years ago. Thank you about this family’s tradition. In live in France but I celebrate Thanksgiving. Because I love it. Take time with the family, to be thankful for… take the time and make a good lunch… I explain it on my blog for French people! It is a very good tradition and I make it too my thankfully tree with my children. It s very important for me and for us. Thank you. I am thankful of you, Emily.
      Happy thanksgiving for your and your family!
      And Happy Halloween today 😉

    5. I would get a fake/artificial branch with fall leaves to letter to use every year plus then it would stay pretty all season instead of leaves dying. Or get a bare branch from the yard and hot glue artificial fall leaves to it.

    6. Thanks so much for the thankful tags for thankful tree. Don’t usually make one but think is never too late to start. Thanks also for the inspiration to make thankful tree and keep it going thru to Thanksgiving, wonderful idea. I usually do something like this for when we go to daughters/family for Thanksgiving. Will be hard again this year as their oldest is at college in northern CA.
      We all write things we’re grateful for. Now had better go out to find a leafy branch with leaves still on it.
      Have wonderful week Emily

    7. Hi Emily and Family,

      In Australia we don’t of course celebrate Thanksgiving but as Christians we are always so very thankful and grateful (one hopes:). I can’t hang a tag on your thankful tree (unfortunately) but I do want to say I am very thankful for your constant generosity and fun and sharing all the beautiful thinks you and your family get up to. You are simply delightful, Thank you.

      Have a great day with kindest regards,


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