Ideas: Make a Thanksgiving Tree

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book CARE Packages for the Workplace–Dozens of Little Things You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work (McGraw-Hill, 1996) 

The Idea:

It doesn’t just have to be the month of Thanksgiving that we share our gratitude and appreciation for blessings in our lives. One of the ways to keep “an attitude of gratitude” in our homes is to make a Thanksgiving tree.

The Idea In Action:

Many years ago I created a Thanksgiving tree for our home. I took a large manzanita branch, sprayed it gold, and secured it in a base of plaster of Paris. Beside it I kept a basket of small plain cards with holes punched in them, another basket of pieces of colored yarn, and a pen. The tradition in our family is that the month before Thanksgiving, the tree is placed on a table in our living room, and each family member writes down things for which he or she is thankful and hangs them on the tree. We also encourage guests in our home to participate. At the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day we read the cards from the tree as an affirmation of our blessings. Then we save the cards from the year before, and we read those as well. It is a wonderful way to remind us of all the goodness in our lives and reinforces the importance of sharing our appreciation.


This could be used year round in a family to focus on the good things happening each day. We found that guests in our home for the month of Thanksgiving would almost always take time to read at least some of the cards on the tree. Many from the children brought smiles to their faces and added a special sunshine to their day. If the tree is kept up all year long, it will be important to remove the cards on a regular basis to make room for others and to encourage continual appreciation.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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