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start today: a thankful tree with printable tags

    For the past three years our family has done a thankful tree and it has become my kids’ favorite tradition for this time of year.


    Our entry table was the spot for our tree last year, and this year it sits on the bar cart in our dining room (photos coming tomorrow!)

    A full explanation is on this original thankful tree post, but the idea is simply to grab a few branches, pop them in a pretty urn and put out tags to write on and then hang from the tree. As the boys went out the door to school this morning, each stopped to think of something they are thankful for and put it on a tag. It was so sweet to watch them do it on their own and take a few seconds to reflect before they went on with their day. You can dedicate a time each day to do this as a family, or just let them go at it – which is probably our approach this year – every time they pass the tree, they are welcome to use another tag.



    There are thankful tags from that first thankful tree post which you are welcome to use, or choose your favorite from these designs.



    Just dowload the pdf, print on your favorite paper (see my favorite sources here) and cut around the edges. Punch a hole in the top if you’ll be hanging from branches, or just use as little cards to keep in a pretty bowl, or on your thanksgiving table or as lunchbox notes.

    Each of these tags are found in The Archive along with a bunch of other favorite JDC freebies.


    (To download the prints, log in or sign up for The Archive below)



    It’s such a great tradition and a good reminder to be thankful.

    Does your family do a thankful tree? Or do you have another tradition this time of year to practice gratitude? Please share!

    22 thoughts on “start today: a thankful tree with printable tags”

    1. Thank Emily! Any way we could get a sign (maybe with a Bible verse?) to post along with our trees? My version of 107:1 is just not very cute! I know you could make one better than I!
      Much love and thanks from an English teacher at a Christian School in S. Korea!

    2. Thank you for being you and sharing your talent. I have learned so much from you! The Thankful Tree is one of my favorites. One question… where did you find the print behind the tree? It says “Home Sweet Home” with a pumpkin and white color scheme. Thanks again!

    3. I first read your post about this in 2011. Our family had gone through a major upheaval that spring, and we were clinging to any sort of new tradition we could find to keep our family focused on the positive instead of all the loss and changes. Your thankful tree was exactly the sort of thing we wanted!!
      I quickly cut up every piece of extra card stock I could find laying around the house and strung some kitchen twine along the hooks on the mantle (because we don’t have trees around with any branches worth snapping and because I’m too impatient to wait). Every evening at dinner we write our cards and add them to the banner. With five people contributing, after only a few days the banner looks full. And when we have company over they are welcome to contribute too.
      That card stock pile is still thick – so for a fourth year in a row our thankful banner is adding the brightest, craziest pop of color to my otherwise autumn-colored mantel and settings. I have to say that I love it!!
      At the end of the season we bind up the tags we’ve written and label them for the year. On November 1st we get them out and reread them before we display them and start the banner for the new year. It’s a wonderful tradition that I’m glad we got started. Thanks so much for the idea!!

    4. Hi Emily,
      I am in Canada and we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. I am also a teacher. I remembered your tree from last year and did one in my class this year. I bought some silk leaves from the dollar store and each student got two leaves to record the things they were thankful for. Students hung their leaves on a large branch I had brought in. We had the tree in our class and had it as part of a full school display as well.
      Thank you!!

    5. Emily, did your email format of blog posts change?? I’m no longer able to read the full post in my inbox but having to click over to the blog to finish… Just curious. I so love being able to read the whole thing in my inbox.

    6. Emily, I wanted to let you know how special this thankful tree is. I have done one each year since I first saw your idea. Last year, I was working with the Parent Association at my son’s school. I was in charge of a teacher luncheon each month including food and decorations. For the decorations, I printed out your tags and asked each staff member to complete one. We found some wonderful branches and went to town adding the tags. We filled the tree with about 60 tags and they all thought it was so special. We placed the tree in the middle of the food table and afterward in the school lobby.

      Thanks so much for your wonderful idea and sharing your printable tags with your readers.

    7. What a lovely idea! And, thanks so much for the downloads! This is something that I would love to do in my home but also in the real estate office where I work. I work in a wonderful office with a great group of people and I know they would love this idea! Thank you, Emily!

    8. I love this and your designs are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing. I keep a Gratitude journal but I’m going to do this for this year. Visitors can add theirs and it will become a treasured keepsake!


    9. These are a great idea. I wish I could get things from your website to print! It always says, enter your email address but there is nowhere to do it.

    10. Love this Emily! We write in gratitude journals. Same concept writing one thing each day we are thankful for. So fun to read past years’ entries!


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