Ear to the Ground: The Insider Dirt to Gardening in Upstate NY

Grateful tree

by cathym on November 1, 2019

by Cathy Monrad

Fall … it’s what leaves and branches do this time of year. You can use both as free craft materials for your holiday décor. Get the kids and grandkids involved to make a “Grateful Tree” for display during your Thanksgiving feast.

Vase or other container
Container filler such as rocks or pinecones
Ribbon to decorate container (optional)
Small branches
Leaves of various sizes, types, and colors with stems attached
Paraffin wax
Wax paper
Marker or paint pen
Mini clothespins or narrow ribbon/string

Mini crockpot or nonstick saucepan


  1. If desired, decorate your container with ribbon. Add filler to container, then arrange branches as desired.
  2. Melt wax in crock pot or saucepan. Holding stem, carefully dip each leaf in wax, then lightly shake off excess. Lay leaf flat on wax paper and let dry completely.
  3. Using marker or paint pen, write something you are grateful for on each leaf. Let dry.
  4. Attach leaves to branches using mini clothespins or tie with ribbon.

– Waxing “fresh” leaves works better than dried leaves.
– Give your leaves some pizzazz by tracing the edge with a gold marker or paint pen.
– After the turkey coma wears off, you can create a wintery look by removing the leaves and using Epsom salts as “snow.” See this post for details.

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and garden crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.

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