This is a guest post by First Look writer, Autumn Ward who inspired the entire Thankful Tree experience in the November curriculum. We love Autumn’s heart for her family and preschoolers and know you do too.


“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

Have you ever planted a fruit tree? I’ve always wanted to but never have gotten around to it. I have done a little research though. Do you know if you plant a two-year-old apple tree, it could take another 5 years to bear fruit? Pear trees can take another 6 years and cherry trees up to 7 years. That’s a lot of tending and watering in hopes you’ll reap the reward of some sweet fruit. But as any fruit lover will tell you, it is so worth it!


I’ve been trying to grow a different kind of fruit in my house for oh about 17 years. Yes, 17 years. I have three kids, all teenagers now, and my husband and I have been tending and watering in hopes of reaping the fruit of thankfulness. It’s a slow process but, believing in the importance of a thankful heart, we press on.


With it being the month of thanksgiving here in the States, I thought I would share one of the things we do each year to cultivate thankfulness in our home. It’s not complicated really. Not even that crafty. And it honestly doesn’t take that much time.


Are you ready for this?




thankful tree


This is our thankful tree. It’s our way of encouraging one another to slow down and say thanks for the gazillion things we have to be thankful for. It won’t be long before we’ll be getting ready to make one for this year. When we do, this is how we’ll do it.


  • cut some basic leaf shapes out of construction paper in a variety of fall colors
  • place the leaves in a basket with a pen and some clear tape
  • take a leaf every day and write one thing you are thankful for on the leaf
  • tape the leaves to a wall where you want the tree to grow (Yes, we tape them right to the wall.)


Before you know it you’ll have leaves of thankfulness growing in your home.


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When the holiday has come and gone and it’s time to put up the Christmas tree, we take our leaves and put them in a photo album, like this.




These albums of thankfulness sit stacked under coffee and end tables as a reminder of all we have to be thankful. They mark times in our lives when God was faithful: comfort in pain, someone to repair a car, or simply the appreciation of a child’s smile.


Yes, God is good, but we never really know how good until we take the time to tell Him thank you. And thankfulness, well, it’s just one of those fruits that takes time and tending to grow.


My family and I wish you a very happy time of giving thanks this year.


Autumn Ward