When a loved one is deployed, we’re full of wishes: that he’ll be safe, that she’ll be home soon, that the children will adjust to the separation. A wishing tree offers a concrete reminder of the person who is away, while providing a place to collect wishes, hopes, and prayers.
It’s easy to create a wishing tree for your own home, classroom, family assistance center, church, or business. Use some of these ideas or get creative on your own.
Miniature Wishing Tree
1. Select a small tree or plant (artificial or real) or use branches supported by florist foam.
2. Cut lengths of ribbon.
3. Using a fabric pen, write your wishes on the ribbons and tie them to the branches.
Bulletin Board Wishing Tree
1. Hang a bulletin board, cork board, or heavyweight poster board on a wall.
2. Cut out a bare tree with several long branches using construction paper or flannel. Tack, tape, or staple your tree to the bulletin board.
3. Cut out "wishing leaves" made of ribbon, paper, flannel, or faux leaves or fruit, in any shape (leaves, ribbons, hearts, stars, ornaments, etc). The leaves can be flat or three-dimensional or have flaps to cover/reveal the wishes.
4. Have family members, students, or other participants write wishes, hopes, and prayers on the wishing leaves and tack to the tree.
Box of Wishes
1. Select a box with a lid. Cut an opening in the box top or use a lid that lifts off.
2. Decorate the box with photos of a person you are wishing for.
3. Write wishes on small pieces of paper or paper leaves and put into the box.
Jar of Wishes
1. Choose a large clear container with an easy on/off lid, such as a large pickle jar or candy jar.
2. Decorate the jar with permanent marker, paint, or pasted paper or leave the jar clear if you want to see the wishes.
3. Cut out colorful ribbons, paper leaves, stars, hearts, and other shapes and write on your wishes.
4. Put the wishes in the jar by color or material type to create a pattern, or randomly for a colorful display of wishes.
Wishing Tree Placemats
1. Color a picture of a tree onto a large piece of paper slightly smaller than the placemat you want to make. Include leaves on the tree. Include photos of your family around the tree.
2. Laminate the paper, leaving an edge around the paper for the lamination to adhere to itself.
3. For reusable wishing tree placemats, use dry erase markers or other wipe-off crayons or markers to write wishes on the leaves. Write new wishes at each meal.
Styrofoam Wishing Tree
1. Begin with a Styrofoam cone, with the flat edge down. Spray paint or decorate the cone.
2. Write wishes on ribbons or paper leaves and affix to tree with pins or pipe cleaners.
Holiday Wishing Tree
1. Using your normal holiday tree, write wishes on ribbons, paper ornaments, or other crafts and decorate with your wishes and hopes for others.
2. Create a giving tree, decorating with wishes from others in need. Encourage everyone to select a wish from the tree and make it come true!
Create Your Own Wishing Tree Idea!
We’d love to see your creations! Send your wishing tree pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll award a free copy of The Wishing Tree by Mary Redman and Christina Rodriguez to our favorite wishing tree photos sent in by July 31. Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and a brief story about your tree with your photo.