Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 17 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Mariana of Jesus
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

The Thanks Giving Tree

Jesse-Kruger-CC

Marge Fenelon - published on 11/26/14

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

For many years, we had the tradition of putting up a Thanksgiving tree on our dining room wall. I’d cut a construction paper trunk and branches and stick it to the wall, starting about a week before the holiday. Then, I’d cut out batch after back of construction paper “leaves” in browns, yellows, reds and oranges and place them in a large glass jar on the counter next to the tree. I’d place a pen and roll of scotch tape beside it and urge the rest of the family to write something they were thankful for on each leaf. Then we’d hang the leaves on the tree, writing side facing the wall. The idea was to fill the tree with things for which we’d like to give thanks on Thanksgiving. It could be anything, large or small, major or lesser – whatever crossed our minds. When we were gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table, we’d read them aloud one by one.

The first five leaves I put up each year contained the names of my husband and five children. From there, I included the extended family, and the year’s breakthroughs, like a new book published or contract signed. I never failed to thank for a roof over our heads, cars that still work, electricity, and indoor plumbing. Fall leaves, morning coffee, and chocolate were must-adds. Of course, I couldn’t skip good books, warm snuggly blankets and soft, green grass on a warm summer day. And it went on and on.

And that’s precisely the problem. It did go on and on, and as my kids moved into the teen years it went on and on until it bored them to tears. Literally. They didn’t quite get into it the way I didn, and truthfully, I shouldn’t have expected them to. I suppose I was going a bit crazy with it. Too much of a good thing can still be too much of a good thing. So, I abandoned the Thanksgiving Tree tradition before my family threatened to abandon me.

But I didn’t give up on it entirely. Determined to continue my pre-Thanksgiving-mood-lifting-regiment, I’ve kept it up in my heart each year. Beginning the week before Thanksgiving, I make it a point to privately name at least a handful of things every day for which I’m thankful. Maybe it’s something big, like my trip to the Holy Land this past May or my trip to Rome in September. Maybe it’s something seemingly insignificant, like pens. Yes, pens. How many times a day – even in this computer age – do we pick up a pen write something, sign something, or mark something off? Somebody had to figure out how to make the very first pen, and I’m decidedly grateful for that. Now I can lay out my signature without having to sign my name in blood.

Even though I don’t share my thanksgiving list with anyone else, it does wonders for me personally. It forces me to realize that, for all my whining and complaining during the other 51 weeks of the year, I really do have an awful lot to be happy about. For all the times I gripe about what I don’t have, I’ve seldom taken the time to assess and appreciate all the things that I do have. I have a lot.

I bet you do, too, once you pause and take stock of your situation. Try it for yourself – even if just for an hour or a day. You might like it so much that you’ll devote a whole week to it! You could make your own Thanksgiving Tree (as long as you don’t bore your kids to tears like I did mine). Or, you might just want to keep it to yourself and make everyone around you wonder why in the world you’re smiling and humming all the time. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how your Thanks Giving Tree can grow.

__________________

Here’s a lovely prayer for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It’s a good start for your Thanks Giving Tree.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
PrayerThanksgiving
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.