Friday, December 3, 2010

Tree of Thanks

Every month or so at work, I get a package in the mail from my mom… She includes fun snacks, and surprises that I share with the department, so now the deliveries are not only anticipated, they’re downright requested. (People get a little cranky if they’re not given chocolate on a regular basis). But one of the best parts of these packages, are the projects she includes from her second grade students. Each box includes a few of their most recent crafts, which my co-workers love to display in their cubes (most of us don’t have kids, but still love some homemade art to liven up our space). Yeah….some of the kids probably wonder why their projects don’t make it to the school bulletin board, but I’m pretty sure my mom says they’ve been “specially selected” to send to us (truthfully she usually doesn’t pick the best…preferring to send the most “unique”- i.e. funniest.)

I snapped a pic of my cube a little while ago to show the full display. (side note- I have the messiest, or most fun, desk on the planet, depending on who you ask. I fully believe that it is both. But I can’t, and probably won’t, have it any other way. Creativity knows no bounds!)

If you narrow your focus to the back wall (tough, I know) you can see some of their past projects- including a groundhog, jack-o-lantern, choir singer, presidential profile, butterfly and flower basket.

So last week, we were sent a special Thanksgiving package, that had coffee filter turkeys, and “Trees of Thanks”. The turkeys were great as always, but the trees were really something special. Each child traced their hand to make the trunk and branches, and then added paper leaves- writing something they are thankful for on each one.

There were lots of leaves with expected items- Family, Friends, School, Pets, were big, but the ones that really got me were the more unique notions. A couple favs: “cookies that I eat” (I mean…great point…who is thankful for cookies that you don’t eat??), “costumes” (yes. YES.), “chipotle” (written by the same kid that listed “food” and “water”….this might have been Dustin’s….) and “pres BD” (I think this is just an indirect way of saying “free day off of school”, which I’m totally down with).

My family actually has done a similar project for the last two years over Thanksgiving….We each get a paper “4” and write what we’re “Thankful 4”, and hang it on the Tree of Thanks.

It’s a fun way to record our thoughts, and look back on them later (before this tradition, we had to go around the table and announce what were thankful for….as it was captured on video.) And while I love hearing/reading what everyone in the family is grateful for, the themes are usually broad- family, health, God etc. But I also wish we had the simple spunk that the second graders do….Previously, it was a tradition for me to say “pie”, but other than that, we didn’t have many silly (but true) missives. So while I’m beyond thankful for the large blessings in my life (see last year’s note for a summary)

I also think it’s important to say thanks for all the little things that make life just a little bit better. Because as one of the students accurately recorded- where would we be without chocolate chips?

On our everyday “Trees of Thanks”...

  • Dancing
  • Jammies
  • Silent, body-shaking laugher
  • The smell of grapefruit
  • Cuddles
  • Coke Zero
  • Maracas
  • Cheese (+burgers, mac+)
  • Scarves
  • Sunshine on my shoulders (makes me happy).


  • Flip Flops
  • ipod
  • Nail clippers
  • Pizza
  • Climb-on
  • Peanut butter
  • Ponytails
  • Beer
  • Prime numbers
  • Football

What’s on your tree?


  1. This made me laugh...I love kids art work. It was fun to see a picture of your cube at work!

  2. Dustin- ponytails and prime numbers???

    Love, love, love the Thankful "4" tree!!!!

  3. ponytails are simple and beautiful and prime numbers are awesome! What are your favorite numbers? The evens? BAHAHAAHA!

  4. One question for Dustin: Girl ponytails or man pony tails? It makes a big difference in my impending judgment of you.
    Also, for real I'm thankful for you guys. I know that's more of a big, overarching, it-will-be-on-my-top-10-list-for-life kind of thing, but it's true. Also... surprises, mangos, meeting family at the airport, chunky snowflakes, Matthew 11:28-30, graphing calculators, knitting needles, and electricity.

  5. i. love. this. the kids' projects are priceless, and that's so cool of your mom. love the thankful "4" tree, as well. thanks for sharing!

  6. Dustin - some folks already beat me to the "ponytails" curiosity... but nail clippers? Really?