the thankful tree.

So Ashley often jokes that I am obsessed with Pinterest… not sure obsessed but definitely fascinated by the wealth of information. Some wonderful, some quirky but more often than not, I have found lots of useful tips and ideas.

The holiday season brings with it a sudden fixation on things that my children “must have” thanks to an influx of toy commercials and daily catalogs. With a November birthday and two New Years birthdays, we are not only overrun with new toys but the season of asking never seems to end.

In my searches on Pinterest, I came across the idea of a “Thankful Tree” – it seemed simple enough. Create a tree in a high traffic area of the house. Each day family members add a leaf with something they are thankful for.

Could this really work? Would this help my three toy-obsessed children re-evaluate what’s really important in our lives?

The first day, I brought up the idea to the kids over dinner. I was pleasantly surprised at how eager they all were to come up with ideas of things they were thankful for. The conversation lasted about 20 minutes and we left the table with a long list of ideas and a strong desire to get started on our tree.

The next day we spent about an hour creating our tree and designing leaves to showcase our messages. The kids eagerly took turns helping each other and chatting about what they wanted to put on their leaves. I was struck by what the children decided to add:

“I am thankful to be me and to be able to make friends.” – Jacob, 8

“I am thankful to have a home for my family.” – Sydney, 4

“I am thankful for my teacher.” – Hannah, 2

We are now on the third week of this activity and while it has not totally diminished the focus on new toys that will come between holidays and birthdays, I have greatly enjoyed seeing a shift in my children to remember each day what we have to be thankful for in our family and to share it with others.

How do you handle the holiday “I wants?”

Written by Rachel Alltmont

Rachel Alltmont

Rachel lives in New Orleans with her husband, Jeff, whose family is deeply rooted in New Orleans. They recently opened Alltmont’s Fine Custom Framing, where she is busy developing a series of family/kids art programs to be held at the shop. Before “retiring” to become a stay-at-home mom to three, Rachel was a Washington D.C. Public Relations rockstar. She is currently obsessed with Pinterest.

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