The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. 30 days to be exact.

While I do my best to be grateful year-round and instill values of gratitude, appreciation and giving back with our boys daily; it’s not always easy.

image courtesy of Pottery Barn

I came across this Giving Tree at Pottery Barn Kids and fell in love. To be honest, at first I thought “Why pay $70 when I can make this myself!” Then, I did a quick reality check.

Why yes, I can make this Giving Tree… but where oh where would I manage to find time for such a crafty project before New Years Eve or next Thanksgiving for that matter? Reality sunk in, I caved and I bought it.

You really don’t need this and could use any number of other creative options like a bucket, glass vase or just a plain envelope to collect your thoughts. It all serves the same purpose and in the end it’s the thoughts that count the most, not how pretty it looks. Yet, for me in the end, I figured that if I didn’t buy it and hang it up this whole idea would be just that; an idea that never got executed.

So, starting tonight we’ll talk about what we’re grateful for and I’ll write our thoughts on note cards (provided courtesy of PB) and place them in the designated numbered leaf for that day.

30 Days from today, we’ll read each of our thoughts on gratitude as we share our Thanksgiving meal and celebrate the holiday together as a family.

Cheers to a new tradition and a 30 day gratitude challenge. 


* UPDATE: I reached out yesterday to Pottery Barn Kids since so many of you have indicated that you could not find the Giving Tree. I’ve been informed that they are officially SOLD OUT. Sorry folks…

125 thoughts on “The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge

  1. Oh, this IS a wonderful idea. Thanks for writing about it. My little family has been thinking of a family ritual to do to mark the holidays, and I think this will do nicely.

    (As I looked at your tag cloud, I see that you have been writing about many challenging topics. I will put you and yours in my basket of thoughts and prayers and hope that you find much to be thankful for.)


  2. Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed!
    Gratitude is a super way to lift our spirits and share our thanks with others.
    Enjoy your special tree with your family.

  3. Woah, Jen! Awesome post, amazing response, and all so well deserved! So proud of you… again! However, I just tried to find the tree online to steal your great idea, but cannot find it. You know my creative limits, so I will have to empty a wine bottle to put my thoughts. (Day 1, I am thankful for wine.) Congrats!!!

  4. I love this idea! I plan to do it as well. Thank you so much for posting it. Today I am grateful for this beautiful, cloudless day. Makes me feel like I could lay in the grass for hours, looking up at the sky, feeling the sunshine pouring down on my face 🙂

  5. I am grateful for you talented writing that I devour as each post appears. I am grateful to have you as my friend although we are not super close, I feel a connection with you. Thanks for using your talents to inspire us all. You truly have a gift.

  6. Gratitude journals have been in fashion for some time. I certainly like the idea of bringing its perspective to our kids. And I think that’s really the way I prefer to look at it. The process of putting the bad into a larger perspective by considering the good in our lives. Not a bad thing to do with kids. Give them perspective – life has its challenges, but always, always, good moments and reasons to find joy.

  7. Hey, Love It and gonna use it! Thanks for the awesome idea! I have five children, four grown and one left at home. They will all be home this weekend. I can’t wait to start this with them home! 🙂
    I will be posting occasionally with pictures and what my family is thankful for; over on my blog.

    Thanks again,

  8. What a beautiful idea! We don’t get to celebrate Thanksgiving over here in the UK (for obvious reasons!), but I think I’m going to embrace the idea. Gratefulness is a great sentiment to share with others. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Pingback: The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge |

  10. Thank you for the inspiration. I will be doing the 30 day challenge with my family and occassionally blogging about it on I believe it will make this Thanksgiving even more meaningful.

  11. Every day, at the end of the day, I think about 10 things I am grateful for, and I try not to make these astronomically gigantic or general. It’s things like: somebody bringing pizza for dinner so I didn’t have to make it; new socks; a good mystery from the library; an unexpected $5 bill in my pocket.

    I try not to repeat myself. Day after day of this hammers it home that I have a lot of things to be grateful for.

    As an odd twist, I try to make one of the gratitude items something that seems negative — the phones going out; a client canceling at the last minute; the goats providing less milk than usual. I find that, frequently, the negative things wind up having a positive outcome, eventually.

      • I bought it about a month ago in the store, but could not find it this morning in the online store when I was writing the post. Try the store first or maybe they can locate one and ship it to you. Best wishes.

  12. As a practicer of radical gratitude, I love this idea! It’s not always easy to think of new ways to express gratitude or to foster expressions of gratitude in children. This is a wonderful way!

  13. This is a wonderful idea! What a wonderful message to teach your kids (and good for yourself, to boot!). Also, props for acknowledging that you didn’t have the time to make the tree. Sometimes it’s just worth it to spend the dough. After all, time is money, or something. 🙂

  14. Growing up my mom who share Advent calendars with us. Now I guess I better add the traditon of a Gratitude Calendar.
    Thank you!

  15. Pingback: The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge (via GREY MATTER LIFE) « Albany Working Mommy

  16. What a GREAT idea! Thank you so much for sharing…I hope you don’t mind, but I’m in need of some gratitude this year and would love to use your idea…

    Awesome post…thank you!

  17. I was at a craft sale a few years back, and one enterprising woodworker had posted a sign: “Of course your husband COULD make one of these, but WILL he?” Thanks for reminding us that often the best use of our time is to buy the products of someone elses time.

  18. YES! I love this idea! I’m always looking for something positive to give my to students to springboard off of. I try remind them (and show them)that gratitude today brings blessings tomorrow. Remember: you can never feel bad enough to change anything–only good enough.

  19. Love the idea. I am getting married soon and I will talk to my fiance about doing this. No offense to the poster talking about your “defeatist” attitude but the goal here is the gratitude part not who makes the tree. Don’t let anyone discourage you. Bravo!

  20. Pingback: Poetry / Gratitude « olyphant

  21. your defeatist attitude about making the Gratitude tree really annoys me. for starters it is the most simple thing to make in the world ; ask any artist or school teacher.
    Go to an art store and buy cheap colored paper, foam core in a large board and glue.
    cut out the tree and glue it to the board. use old Christmas wrapper paper for the little gratitude letters.
    what annoys me is artists and teachers are so undervalued and underpaid yet we do have skills that are worth something. this project is so simple that your kids could make their own – without any help from you!

      • how sad you feel sad that I express some emotion other then a cow-like gratitude.
        get on with your own creativty which I can see is limited if you shop at pottery barn

      • shut up stoptheinvasionoforegon you unhappy person
        you don’t know me and if you don’nt like the post here go and jump ……sickhead

    • I think you might have missed the point of the fact it’s about being thankful.
      If the writer has $70 and wants to spend it to have the tree now rather than later – more power to her.
      I LOVE traditions like this one. I’ll try to come up with a $0 version.
      I’m thankful for this idea!

  22. What a wonderful idea…don’t have kids, but practicing gratitude reminds us all of the blessings in our lives…I’ll be doing this challenge for the next 30 days as well…writing each day’s thoughts in a card which I will reread on Thanksgiving to remind myself of the many blessings in my life. Thank you!!

  23. Love, love, LOVE this idea! My mother and I were just talking about ways to show our gratitude come this Thanksgiving … thanks so much for sharing this!

  24. OMG! You know, as I logged into wordpress to check my stats, my thought beforehand was, “I have SO MUCH to be thankful for!…. I need to document it and acknowledge it in tangible reality” Then as I went to look at my stuff, I did a quick back track to the home page as I saw the word ‘gratitude’ from your post! Cool! I love the synchronicity of thoughts. 🙂 What you are doing is so cool, and I am sure your thanksgiving will be so warm and full of positive vibes as a result of your gratitude tree. Thank you for sharing.

  25. I am grateful for your post. There…day 1, done! 🙂

    What a fantastic idea! I talk to my children all the time about the idea that we “choose” to be happy … I think it’s time to extend that to choosing gratitude as well.

    In a day when so many are struggling, it’s vitally important to not take for granted the little things that make us happy. Great reminder — thank you!

  26. Love this. I don’t have kids so the engagement factor isn’t as necessary (i.e. hanging something on the wall), but I have a beautiful blue wine bottle that will be perfect for holding my notes of gratitude for the next 30 days. Congrats on making the front page. 🙂

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