Skip to Content

How to Make a Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving

A thankful tree, also called a gratitude tree, is an easy craft project which will help create a festive atmosphere at any autumn celebration. Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or joining in with friends and family, this craft is sure to be enjoyed by all ages.

In this blog post, I’ll show you how to create a colorfully decorated tree that celebrates the spirit of Thanksgiving.
From kids to adults, this is a fun project that you can do with the whole family.

colorful paper leaves hanging from a tree branch in a vase

Thanksgiving is chock full of preparations. What decorations should you put up? How can you make your home smell like pumpkin pie without baking anything? And what about that ever-so-important centerpiece for your table – a thankful tree!

Every year, we get so caught up in all the preparations for Thanksgiving dinner that we can forget to take a moment and think of what we’re thankful for. This easy Thanksgiving craft is a great way to do both!

One of our favorite Thanksgiving crafts to make is a Thankful Tree, also called a Gratitude Tree. A gratitude tree is a super easy craft that will have your kids jumping for joy, and it won’t take much of your time to make. In just 10 minutes, you can get started on this project and have the perfect decoration for your Thanksgiving table or mantle.

What is a Thankful Tree?

A thankful tree, or a gratitude tree, is a fun and festive decoration for the Thanksgiving holiday. At it’s simplest is a tree branch decorated with paper leaves on which people can write notes about things they are thankful for, or what they appreciate in their lives.

Each family member takes a paper leaf, or perhaps several leaves, and writes down something they are thankful for.

The leaves are then hung on the branches of a tree, or wherever you like. The result is an autumnal decoration that also serves as a reminder to practice gratitude.

sheets of colorful cardstock on a table

How to Make A Thankful Tree

Thankful trees are a simple paper-crafting DIY that you can easily make with kids. The materials list is quite simple: a tree branch (from your yard, perhaps?) colorful paper, scissors, a hole punch, string, and a vase to display it in.

I love this craft idea because it not only creates a great holiday decor piece, it’s also a wonderful way to encourage our family to practice gratitude.

To make a Thankful Tree:

  1. Start by cutting the paper into fall leaf shapes.
  2. Ask the kids or your dinner guests to write something they are thankful for on the leaves.
  3. Hang the leaves on the branch to create a festive display.

Kids of all ages can get in on the fun. Small kids can add drawings to their leaves. Older kids can help cut them out and hang them up on the tree.

leave shapes cut from brown cardstock

Project Supplies

Here are the materials and tools you’ll need to make this project.

  • Colorful cardstock. I like to use cardstock for this project since it’s a little sturdier and available in a rainbow of colors. But, you can use any sort of paper you have on hand, like scrapbooking sheets or construction paper.
  • Cricut cutting machine or Scissors. You’ll need something to cut out the leaf shapes. I’m using a Cricut machine since it makes the process so quick and easy. But, if you don’t have a Cricut machine, you can simply use scissors to cut out each leaf shape.
  • Hold punch.
  • Ribbon or Twine. You’ll use this ribbon to hang each leaf on the branch.
  • Tree Branch. Perhaps you can find one in your yard?
  • Vase. Choose a vase or a pitcher to display your finished tree.
  • Smooth stones or another heavy vase filler. Place these in the bottom of your vase so that your Thankful tree won’t come toppling down.
coloful leaves made from paper with twine

How to Make a Thankful Tree

Here are four easy steps to make a Thankful Tree.

  1. Cut colorful craft paper into leaf shapes. (You can use scissors here or a Cricut cutting machine to make it go even faster.
  2. Punch a hole in each of the leaves. Thread a piece of ribbon through the hole, and tie it into a loop.
  3. Add rocks or vase filler to the bottom of the vase. Place a tree branch into the vase, and arrange it so that it stands upright.
  4. Invite each family member to write what they are thankful for on a few leaves and hang the leaves on the branch.
bare branches in a glass vase filled with rocks
colorful paper leaves hanging from a tree branch in a vase filled with rocks

How to Make a Thankful Tree with Cricut

If you have a Cricut machine, the process of making a Thankful tree is even easier. You can use the Cricut to cut out the leaves for you, saving you a ton of time.

To follow along with me, search for the image called “Fall Leaves” in Design Space. You can also find it by its ID number, #M144C53.

fall leaf shapes in cricut design space canvas

Then, here are the adjustments I made in Design Space to tweak the design to fit this project.

  1. I ungrouped the leaves and deleted the shapes I didn’t want.
  2. I changed the fill color of the leaves so that they would all cut on one mat.
  3. I enlarged the leaves (just a bit) and duplicated them a few times to create more copies.

I did leave the score lines on the leaves, but you could just as easily delete the score lines. Your choice!

fall leaf shapes in cricut design space mat screen

Load a LightGrip cutting mat with your 12 x 12 cardstock, and press the start button to begin the cut. Once the cut is finished, unload the mat. Carefully remove the leaf shapes from the mat, being careful not to tear the paper.

Then, simply continue with the tutorial as written above.

fall leaf shapes in on a blue cricut cutting mat

What’s Next?

Pin this post: Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards so that you can come back to it later.

Leave a comment: I love to hear your feedback. Tell me in the comments below!

Share on Instagram or Facebook: When you make this project, share it on social media and tag me @sarahmaker. I love to see what you make!

Have questions? Join the Facebook Group!

I hope this article was useful for you! If you have any additional questions, feel free to join my Facebook Group. I created this group for you to share pictures, ask questions, and help each other out.

How to Make a Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving

How to Make a Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving

Yield: 1
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 5

A thankful tree, also called a gratitude tree, is an easy craft project which will help create a festive atmosphere at any autumn celebration. Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or joining in with friends and family, this craft is sure to be enjoyed by all ages.

Materials

  • cardstock
  • twine or ribbon
  • tree branches
  • rocks
  • vase

Tools

  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • Cricut machine (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut colorful craft paper into leaf shapes. (You can use scissors here or a Cricut cutting machine to make it go even faster.
  2. Punch a hole in each of the leaves. Thread a piece of ribbon through the hole, and tie it into a loop.
  3. Add rocks or vase filler to the bottom of the vase. Place a tree branch into the vase, and arrange it so that it stands upright.
  4. Invite each family member to write what they are thankful for on a few leaves and hang the leaves on the branch.

Notes

If you have a Cricut machine, you can use the Cricut to cut out the leaves for you (which will save you a ton of time.)


To follow along with me, search for the image called “Fall Leaves” in Design Space. You can also find it by its ID number, #M144C53. Then, look for my notes in the post above.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Skip to Instructions