This is my favorite challenge of all because it honors our need for connection. Not only is it a great way to practice gratitude, but it encourages community. I have met new neighbors and friends this way and I love hearing the stories of how it has become a tradition for families.
I host a tree in my yard yearly. I started the tree project a few years back when I was going through a difficult time in my life, and I needed something uplifting. Above is my dog Annie. She has been the gratitude tree mascot since she was a pup. Every year she poses under my tree because she came to our family during that difficult time. She brought us so much joy, and still does. This makes her the perfect mascot.
For more motivation, there are four more reasons to put up on your own tree. Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude at Berkeley has discovered in his research that a practice of gratitude can have the following effects.
- Gratitude celebrates the present.
- Gratitude blocks toxins and negative emotions.
- Grateful people are more stress resistant.
- Grateful people have a higher sense of self worth.
I can't think of a better gift to give others. I know for me and my family, we are grateful for the change that takes place in us, especially before we go into a busy holiday season.
Start your own gratitude tree for a day, a week, or all month long!
Anytime this month, whether it be for a day, a week, or all month, I invite you to put up a gratitude tree at your home or place of work and invite others to stop and practice gratitude.
The supplies are basic (no need to overcomplicate this!)
- A tree of some sort - examples include: an actual tree in your yard with low, small branches, a fake tree indoors, a cut tree branch, craft paper applied to a wall or bulletin board, etc.
- Shipping Tags - I find mine here. I like them because they are durable in rough weather.
- Sharpie Markers - Again, I use sharpies for the durability. You will need several in case multiple people show up at the same time, and also because people have a tendency to leave the lids off and they dry out.
- Simple instructions - I type mine out put them on an old chalkboard. You may hand write them as well.
- Optional - Contact information and a guest book.
You will also need some sort of box to house your items under your tree. I like using this old tool box because it keeps my supplies fairly dry in wet weather. Also notice I put my items in plastic bags. The wind gets a little crazy here so having things in bags helps to keep them from blowing across the neighborhood if the lid gets left open.
Finally, you will need some type of signage to let your participants know what you are up to and that they can join along. I ordered this sign from an online print shop.
This challenge is perfect for families, individuals, school groups, small businesses, ANYONE! Gratitude is practiced in many ways.
Will you join me in hosting a gratitude tree? I would love to see how many communities we can reach. If you are participating, PLEASE send me photos so I can share it with the readers! Contact me here.