It's November, the month of Thanksgiving- one of my favorite holidays! I love everything about it- being with family, eating yummy food, and reflecting on what I'm thankful for. But why should we only reserve that for one day a year?

I started a 30 Days of Gratitude tradition a couple years ago. Each day, we talk about what we are thankful for as a family, and my daughter Lucy writes down something she is thankful for. I think it's important that we always take time to reflect on being grateful, and it's important to me to instill this in Lucy while she is still little.

Our first thankful tree was little, but it had little lights on it, which was a big hit with little 4 year-old Lucy. I cut freehand leaf shapes out of cardstock and each night Lucy would write down something she was thankful for. Then we would put it on the tree, and we would light it up.

Thanksgiving Tree of Thanks

Last year, 5 year-old Lucy was in kindergarten and working on her printing, so I decided to swap out the tree for poster board that she could have a lot of space on which to write her list. And, um, embellish. Because, kindergarten!

List of what you're thankful for

This year, I wanted to bring back the tree idea, but knew we would need a bigger tree. I would have loved to have used real tree branches, but I couldn't find the right ones. As an alternative, I decided to use several decorative branches from the craft store, along with one of my glass vases, and some rice from the pantry to anchor the branches. Instead of cutting out leaf shapes, I opted for very simple strips of cardstock. Every day, Lucy thinks of something she feels thankful for, writes it down, and we attach it to a branch. I'm loving how our makeshift 'tree' looks after just one week!

A tree of thanks for Thanksgiving

This one, the first one she wrote this year, might be my favorite. :)

Branches with notes for what you're thankful for

I love this tradition and plan to continue it every year, in some shape or another. My own mom was a big believer in gratitude and taught me that even in the worst of times or circumstances, there is always something to be grateful for. Sadly, she is no longer with us, and although Lucy never had the opportunity to know her, I will pass down this lesson to her, and hope she will carry it with her throughout her life.

I can't wait to see these branches filled with gratitude at the end of the month!

Written by our Guest Mom Contributor Shannon Casper.

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