diy fall decor ideas family memory tree autumn decor ideasHave you ever wondered what to do with those gorgeous vintage photographs of your grandma, grandpa and other now-gone-but-never-forgotten relatives?  Well, I have a fantastic idea for you…

Maybe you’ve seen some of the “Thankful Trees” that are burning up Pinterest right now, well this is a new twist on the idea!  I love that this fall decor idea takes a little bit of Halloween, a dash of Dia de Los Muertos and a dollop of Thanksgiving and turns it into a lovely vignette that can stay up from October 1st to November 30th, and still be on point!

Thankful tree DIY Fall Decor Ideas Fall Family Memory Tree Thankful Tree Rememberance Tree Memorial treeI was lucky enough to get a stash of pictures from my grandma before she passed.  I pull them out and look at them often.  I’ve printed a few of them and have them in frames (you can see some of them on my about page here).  I’ve been meaning to make something crafty with them for Dia de Los Muertos.

I have a “thing” for this adopted Mexican holiday (that has sort-of become a trend in the last few years) because it celebrates the people we have lost and helps us remembers them (American culture in general could stand to do a lot more remembering, don’t you think?).

And, there’s something innately nostalgic about the holiday season, right?  You crave the people you grew up with, the special things you did together.

For me it’s a little bit lonely.

My family lives in a different time zone and my children are young, so there’s really no one to talk to about how amazing Grandma’s ghost cake was (that she made every Halloween) or how I wish I had the recipe for my great-granddad’s rutabaga that he made each Thanksgiving.

So, I’m very happy to share this beautiful and simple diy fall decor idea that helps us give thanks to the people who have left us but will always live in our hearts.

SKIP TO THE TUTORIAL HERE!  Or find out more details below:

diy fall decor diy pumpkin decor family memory tree fall entrywayI can’t tell you how wonderful it is to stop and see my favorite vintage pictures of my grandparents the minute I walk through the door!  We have a very small entryway that leads right into the dining room.  So, the fanned out branches really help not to crowd the space.

Mixing the vintage photos with our modern, minimalist decor has worked out surprisingly well and everyone who has stopped by in past few weeks has really loved our memory tree!

Thankful tree diy fall decor ideas dia de los muertos day of the deat family photo tree craft tutorialThe photo on the far left is of my grandma Shirley.  It was her graduation photo that she gave to her parents–you can faintly make out her inscription: Love to Mom and Dad, Shirley.  It was 1944 and she wore her pearls.  Her hair reminds me of Rosemary Clooney’s from White Christmas.  I can’t tell you how much I love and cherish this photo!

The photo on the right is of my great-grandmother and great-grandfather.  They were Shirley’s parents.  This photo is unique because my great-grandparents divorced when my grandmother was very young.  I never met my great-grandfather.  Shirley was raised by her step-father who was lovingly known in the family as Grumpy.  Although I never knew my grandma’s biological father, I couldn’t help but include this photo from the 1920s.

diy fall decor ideas thankful tree family memory tree dia de los muertos day of the dead decor ideaOn the other side of the tree, on the top right, is my Grandpa Ted in his Army uniform.  It’s faded but still amazing.  My grandpa accomplished a lot in his life but he was never more proud of his service in our Army.   The date on the back of the picture, in my Grandma’s handwriting, is April 23, 1949.

The final ornament is of my Grandma again. I had other family members I could have chosen but I miss her so much I couldn’t help but load up!  This one is from April 1931 (she was 5) and on the back it says it was taken in Coral Gables, Florida–likely at her parent’s house.  I love her surrounded by the beautiful trumpet lilies, and her happy smile.

My husband passed by the tree one day and said, “Where’s my family?”  I laughed!  I guess I had bogarted our family memory tree pretty badly.  Looks like I will be making another set of ornaments very soon!

Get more of this diy fall memory tree project here!

xo, Kristen
Kristen Hong of Hello Nutritarian

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  • Erika Acuna says:

    Mimi and I love this and want to try doing it, too! Simple and do-able but lovely too ; )

  • antM says:

    Love the mirror refection. Would like to see the frames in fall colors like bronze or gold.

    • Kristen says:

      I think bronze would be really pretty too!!

  • antM says:

    Jumping ahead into the Christmas season I might use Evergreen branches with red/green frames tied with red/green plaid satin ribbon. The possibilities are endless.