The Thankful Tree

Give thanks.

A simple sentiment so many of us forget to practice now that Thanksgiving has become lost in the shuffle of modern life.

The holiday was once a time for communities to unite, sharing tales of strength, hope, and gratitude among the generations while humbly reflecting upon the abundance in their lives.

For many of us, Thanksgiving had become a day of manic shopping, football, and family drama.

How about we put a little “thanks” back in Thanksgiving?

The Thankful Tree – a great fall library display/passive program. Perfect for classrooms or Thanksgiving table centerpieces, too!

The table had been covered in colorful fall leaves. This was after all my leaves and most of the display books had been taken. (Nice back-lighting and fluorescent lighting, right?)

I’d found these Thankful Trees via Better Homes and Gardens a few years back.

BHG Thanksgiving treeBHG Thanksgiving tree bare branches


It would be easy enough to set up our own library Thankful Tree, right?

If patrons took part, it could be considered a passive program, bringing the community  together and sharing in the reason for the oft neglected season. (And we could gauge which resources our patrons valued. Win-win, right?)

Using an old McCoy jug, a few branches snipped from my yard, and colored printer paper leaves, I set up a Grateful Tree on the library’s main display table last year. I didn’t have high hopes. Even  fellow staffers rolled their eyes when I asked them to share the love on their own leaves.

Fall library display  "Leaf a note and share which library books and services you are thankful for"

And then something beautiful happened.

thankful leaf 2

One leaf…

thankful leaf 1

led to another…


and another…


leaves 2

  And within days the bare branches displayed a bounty
of thanks and gratitude that made our hearts swell.

thankful leaves library

This library display/passive program was a win for all. It would also work in a classroom
or as a centerpiece for a holiday gathering.

We all need to express the gratitude in our hearts.
Let your patrons, students, or family “leaf” a note to express what really matters in their lives.

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