Last week I was in a meeting with a roomful of other parents when I was jokingly accused of “Pinterest shaming” the other moms by saying our family does a Gratitude Tree every year. If you know anything about me, you know how hilarious this was. I am NOT crafty, not artistic, not a terribly “fun” parent if your version of fun involves glitter or yarn. But I DO know a simple project you can do this Thanksgiving that is easy, you probably already have all the supplies, and it’s good for your kids’ hearts.

Moms, we need a win, right? We need something easy that helps us connect with our kids. And if other moms feel Pinterest shamed by it, all the better. KIDDING.

So this Thanksgiving, make a Gratitude Tree with your kids. I’m going to teach you the most simple, basic way to do it. You make it your own. Color coordinate. Use pretty paper. Get out the glitter glue. You do you. Mine will be. . . a tree in the grand tradition of Charlie Brown, if you know what I mean. But the way it looks isn’t necessarily the point. You’re really aiming for a fun way to connect your kids with the heart of the season.

Make a Gratitude Tree (Pinterest Worthy, Busy Mom Easy)
Rebecca Tredway Photography

Here’s what you need:



Construction Paper



Hole Punch


You’ve already got all this stuff around the house, don’t you? Send your kids on a scavenger hunt to collect it all, set it on the table and get to work. Cut out leaf shapes, punch a hole in them, tie some yarn through the hole. You want at least one leaf per person at your Thanksgiving celebration. Put your sticks in the vase. Now comes the sentimental part– have your kids write something on their leaf that they’re thankful for. I have worked really hard not to censor or influence what my kids write. Of course ideally they’d all write “Mom” but I’ve found that often they are thankful for things like their favorite stuffed animal or ice-cream. The point is to encourage them to develop a heart of gratitude and I want to be open to where that leads them.

We have taken this project on the road to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where the extended family adds their own leaves. For the last few years, my mom has been collecting all the leaves and saving them because she is a saver. I am not. But I can see how that might be a fun way to look back at what your kids were thankful for if you’re the saving type.

So enjoy this! It’s an easy win for busy moms and a fun tradition to start with your kids. 

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at