thanksgiving tree centerpiece

Decorate Your House This Thanksgiving With a Tree of Gratitude

We have many Thanksgiving traditions in my family. One of them is going around the table and having each person say what they are thankful for. As the family continues to grow larger every year it has become challenging to execute this tradition. At the same time, acknowledging those things from the past year that we are most grateful for is important.

So I started a new tradition: creating our own family tree of gratitude. Each person can write what they are thankful for on a paper leaf and hang it on the “tree.” This can be done throughout the day, during halftime of the football game or in between slices of pumpkin pie (or other delectable Thanksgiving desserts). It encourages everyone to reflect on all there is to be thankful for.

A photo of thanksgiving tree paper and scissors

Here is a simple guide to create your own Thanksgiving Tree. Many of the materials needed may already be in your home. For example, I have a few of these pre-lit branch trees that I use to decorate every year starting in the fall and then working them into my holiday displays. It’s the perfect tabletop size and happens to fit perfectly into this great Thanksgiving-themed metal planter.

You’ll need a few sheets of card stock paper, which you can get from any craft store. I created leaf templates of three different shapes, each between 2 to 3 inches in size. I added “I am thankful for” to each leaf to make it as easy as possible for all the guests.

Print each template sheet on a different color paper from your printer and cut out the individual leaves.

I used wired raffia ribbon to create easy flexible hooks for attaching the leaves to the tree branches.

A photo of a Thanksgiving tree leaves being made


  1. Create a hole in each leaf stem and thread the wire (or ribbon, cording, embroidery thread) threw the hole.
  2. Fold over at the base by the leaf to secure.
  3. Fold over the other end to create a hook.

Fill the container with the individually wrapped cookies and it is the prefect centerpiece for a dessert table.

Just fill a basket with all of the prepared paper leaves and your guests can write or draw the things they are thankful for and hang them on the tree.

This Thanksgiving tree would also make a pretty centerpiece on your main table. Even though it’s taller than a normal centerpiece, its bare branches do not block the view around the table. And your leaves can pull double duty as name cards too. As your guests sit down to the table, they can just turn over their place card, write what they are thankful for, and hang it on the tree.

I’ve tried to keep everything as simple as possible, for many reasons, not the least of which is if you are hosting you already have so much on your plate (pun intended)! But feel free to zhuzh it up a bit if you are so inclined. I had these small fabric leaves in my fall decor box, wrote the name on it, and attached it to the paper leaf with just one spot of glue. I like the dimension it adds by not totally gluing it down flat.

I’m also a big fan of incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into my tablescapes. It just seems to really make it all come together in an unexpected way. It can be as simple as placing a pretty pear on each plate to hold the place card. And the fact that you can eat them, too, is a win-win!

And when they’re Royal Riviera Pears, it’s a win-win-win!

Comments (49)

  • 11 Fall Date Ideas – Hyggeable

    September 11, 2018 at 11:49 am

    […] spouse than why not start a thankful tree? After all, fall is the season of giving thanks and a thankfulness tree can turn into a cherished tradition for the whole family. If you haven’t heard about thankful […]

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