4 Ways to Be Thankful This Month (and All Year Long)

posted: 11/06/15
by: Blythe Copeland
heart of human hands as symbol of love

The holidays are supposed to be a time of being grateful for all the wonderful people in our lives, so why does it often leave us feeling more on the grinchy end of the spectrum? With Christmas decorations and toy sales hitting stores before the Halloween costumes are even packed away, it's easy for Thanksgiving to get lost. This year, stay focused on the "thankful" part of November with gratitude projects that help you and your family count your blessings -- literally -- every day.

1. Thankful Tree

The thankful tree is one of the most popular gratitude practices for November, and you can make it work for your family in a variety of ways. Use brown paper to create a silhouette of a trunk and branches you can attach to the wall -- whether it's small enough for your kids to frame or nearly true to life depends on your space -- and then have family members write down what they're thankful for each day on paper leaves that hang on the tree. For a more natural look, collect long, skinny branches and place them in a vase; then hang the paper leaves from the branches.

2. Gratitude Board

A variety of pretty scrapbook paper and tiny ribbon bows dress up plain notecard envelopes-turned-pockets on this "Give Thanks" board from Jellybean Junkyard. Inside each pocket is a blank piece of cardstock; every night in November, the family pulls one and writes down what they are thankful for. The twist: Even though the cards are small, there's enough room to use them for a few more years, so the family can always look back on their previous responses.

3. Gratitude Frame

Don't have room for a full gratitude tree? This fits-anywhere project can be sized to work in any frame you have at the ready, and displayed on a mantel, in a hallway, or on a bookshelf. Blogger Landee of Landeelu used duct tape to attach jute on the back of an empty frame (and sort of thick thread or yarn will work, though), and then hung paper leaves -- listing the things she and her family are more thankful for -- using small clothespins.

4. Gratitude Jar

The concept of the gratitude jar is similar to the other methods, but instead of displaying the written cards all month, they stay in the jar until Thanksgiving Day. Then the family pulls them out to look back on the moments and events, big and small, that inspired gratitude. Cut small pieces of patterned paper to use as cards, or print classic blank notes (like the "I Am Thankful For" set from Jones Design Company).