1- I purchased unfinished wooden containers and stained them a dark mahogany
2- My kids collected a lot of small branches and we spray painted them gold
3- We stuck them in florist foam and placed them in the containers, then covered the foam in moss
4- We went through 4 years of thankful memories and hot glued them to the branches.
5- I punched out a number of blank leaves, enough to place 2-3 at everyone's place setting so we can add new things on Thanksgiving day.
6- We finished the display off with a linen table runner and some small pumpkins and gourds.
In 2010 we moved into our new home and began hosting our Family for the holidays. That year I created my first "thankful project". In 2010 it was a simple wreath. We wrote what we were thankful for on felt leaves and placed them around the wreath. Every year since then our thankful project has grown. The past few years I've designed it to look like an actual 'tree' that we made out of found branches and construction paper leaves. I love watching the evolution of the piece and every passing year my family enjoys pulling out the bag full of thankful moments and reminiscing before adding new ones to the mix.
In 2010 Danielle was thankful for chocolate and twirly dresses. Last year she was thankful for power (understandable after we were without it for 14 day after superstorm Sandy). That first year Meredith was thankful for daddy and his piggies (pennies he would give her nightly to put in her piggy bank) more recent years she has been thankful for the library, and her friends. The thankful messages began with just our immediate family but last year at everyone's place setting I placed 2 leaves so that we could all share what we are thankful for. With usually 20 or more family and friends in our home for thanksgiving it has been wonderful to have these thoughts and memories.
To make the tree a bit more interactive this year I turned it into a few smaller tree centerpieces. With all our thankful thoughts, new and old, right in the center of the table I know reading them throughout the night will bring smiles to everyone's face. For that, I am already thankful.