This year I thought it would be fun to do with my 10-year-old daughter, Eden.
I decided we would create the tree and label a few of the leaves ourselves. Then we would have a stack of extras with a gold Sharpie for the rest of the family to add in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, as well as some for our guests on Thanksgiving Day.
And this year I wasn’t leaving it to the last minute, so I invited Eden to help me several weeks ago. Without even pretending to consider it, she politely declined, saying, “No thanks, Mama. I’d rather not.” Rats.
Perhaps some day, when and if I have grandchildren, I’ll get my act together and make one. Is there anything cuter than the sprawling handwriting of little kids listing incongruous things for which they are grateful?
So the gratitude tree is out, and I am OK with that. But I have been thinking about thankfulness in the context of celebration and feeling this urge to mark the small, good things that make up our days so that we won’t forget them. I just wasn’t sure what we would do.
“On Thanksgiving this year, we will read these little blessings together and remember our year in gratitude and then paste them on a scrapbook page,” she wrote. “We have a ‘family book of firsts,’ and it goes in there for the year. Then we start over.”
I knew this was perfect for us. It’s nothing fancy, a recycled tomato sauce jar and simple white strips of paper, and yet it holds a year’s worth of joy and goodness that my friend and her family will never forget — all because they took the time to express and record their gratitude.