On being full of thanks

I know it’s early, but I’m ready to talk about Thanksgiving.  Sharing gratitude.  Being full of thanks.

Especially since it’s cold and officially Fall in Utah.

It’s hard for my children to fully grasp the concept of Thanksgiving past The Pilgrims + The Indians.  In fact, it’s really hard for them to see past the turkey and pumpkin pie.

I personally get a little weepy every Thanksgiving, so full am I of thanks for everything in my life.  I have healthy children, a wonderful husband, I live in a safe community with people I love, I have more friends than I can count, I love what I do for a living.  I’m grateful for all of you, who continue to show up every day to listen to me blather.

gratitude tree

My children live a lovely life, they just don’t know it.  So every Thanksgiving I go out of my way to create teaching moments wherein they think about others and attempt to vocalize their feelings of gratitude.

thanksgiving craft

Every year we create little slips of paper throughout the month of November, writing on them whenever inspiration strikes, sharing our gratitude with the family.  Last year I created a Gratitude Tree for the mantle: leaves with bits of written gratitude, tied to a branch.  Every so often the kids would grab a leaf, write what they were grateful for, and tie it to the gratitude tree.

fall leaves

The thing I most want to impart to my children is that their gratitude doesn’t have to be for world-changing, meteoric things.  I repeatedly list my gratitude for hot showers and pebble ice, heating pads and modern medicine, diet Dr Pepper and airplanes.  I want my children to start small, with things that are tangible and real to them, and work toward larger gratitude and selflessness.

Baby steps.

— What works for you?  Do you have any amazing traditions I should be incorporating into my life?  Things that help you and yours to appreciate everything around you? Please to be telling. —


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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. the emily :

    I am SO GLAD Halloween is over so I can focus on Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday. We also write things we’re grateful for. This year we live somewhere different than last year so we’re feeling nostalgic for family and grateful for the time we got to spend with them when we lived in UT. Also, my husband is working for the Navajo Nation so we have a whole different perspective on Thanksgiving now, from the “Indian” point of view. It’s so interesting.

    • Allison :

      You know, I embraced Halloween this year, so I really enjoyed it, but I do love moving into months where the celebration of bigger things is on the menu. I love the importance behind Thanksgiving, and man would it be amazing to be in your shoes to hear the other side of the story! Jealous.

  2. Cameron :

    We don’t have any ALL month long traditions, but I’m definitely going to start this – I had seen a pin for gluing randomly patterned paper leaves to a branch – but I like this so much better. Thanks for the great post!

    • Allison :

      Oh, that sounds cute too! I do like the tree thing though, and the kids love hanging things from it, which is the whole point for me. Teaching them.

  3. Sarah :

    I love this topic. Love it. Love it. Love it.

    • Allison :

      Oh Sarah, my kids need so much to learn gratitude and service, I’m going to spend my whole life doing nothing but drilling that into their little tiny heads!

  4. Adventures In Babywearing :

    Oh my gosh, I love the gratitude tree! We started writing down little things we’re thankful for on slips of paper and we “put them in the pumpkin” (A ceramic pumpkin with a lid) to be read later on Thanksgiving. Your photos are beautiful.


    • Allison :

      I love the pumpkin idea Steph! That’s adorable. And smart. Savor it all month long and then on Thanksgiving too. Your kids have a smart mama.