I was inspired by a friend who blogged about the "Thankful Tree" she created for her family to count 30 days of blessings this month. Ever since reading Noel Piper's Treasuring God in Our Traditions I have wanted to instill the importance of Christ-centered traditions in our family, especially during the holidays when our hearts can be so easily swayed by the things of this world.
I found this tree easy enough for a non-crafty person like me, and I was blessed to use coupons and sales to purchase most of the items at a craft store. I used a mason jar I had on hand and filled it with rocks to hold the branch. I found leaf stencils online and traced the leaves on construction paper. Then I clipped the leaves on the tree using mini clothes pins. I'm sure you could easily use real tree branches, but I used a plastic one so I can just reuse it year after year.
My daughter is already excited about it and can't wait to write something she is thankful for on one of the leaves tonight! After we write our thankfulness we will verbally praise God through prayer. I hope this is a tradition she will remember and carry on with her family one day if God blesses her with one. Most of all I hope she learns to be grateful for all that God has given us and for who He is. And this is key because as Noel Piper said,
" It's amazing how many people can say, 'I'm thankful for...' without admitting that God is there to hear their thanks. And they are certainly not giving him credit for whatever it is they are enjoying." (p. 72 Treasuring God in Our Traditions).
I think this exercise of thanking God might be quite therapeutic for me as well as I focus on the good even in the midst of hard days because there is so much to be grateful for!