Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Jesse Tree

Advent, along with the beginning of the New Liturgical Year, is getting close! This year, the first Sunday of Advent is December 2nd. I have started working on my plans for Advent & Christmas. I look forward to starting new traditions this year, including the use of Christmas Mosaic, along with continuing our old favorites. I thought I would take a minute and share one of our old favorites... The Jesse Tree.

About four or five years ago, I bought a from the series Celebrating the Faith in the Home titled Advent and Christmas for the Christian Family. This is a wonderful book of ideas that I have only seen sold through Emmanuel Books. It was through this book that I was first introduced to the Jesse Tree.

At first I planned to purchase this kit from Leaflet, but due to our tight budget, I decided to make our own instead. I modeled it after the Leaflet tree and then used the patterns from my book to make the ornaments.

I made mine out of felt since it doesn't fray. If you are able to sew, unfortunately I am not, you could take the necessary measures to prevent fraying and make your tree this way. Or, you could also make a wooden tree. Another friend of mine just put a branch in a pot, and placed it on her table, and used this to hang the ornaments from.

Every day we read a page from one of our Children's Bibles, starting with Creation and ending on Dec 24th with the Birth of Christ. Depending on how many days are in Advent, we sometimes have days where we read 2 stories and hang 2 ornaments, in order to finish in time. (We have 30 ornaments, since sometimes Advent starts in November, plus 7 more for the "O Antiphons" used the week prior to Christmas.) It looks like I am missing a few of our ornaments. Guess I will add making those to my "to do" list :)

After we read the story we hang the ornament on the tree. Then I try to have a corresponding coloring page for them to color. ALL of my children, as well as myself, profit immensely from this activity. As the author says in my book:
It provides a meaningful way for us to count down the days until Christmas. Moreover, it increases our understanding of this portion of salvation history and is an effective way to prepare spiritually for Christmas.
I always love how even my littlest children's ears perk up during the readings and gospel at Mass when they realize "We just read about that at home!" I am really looking forward to Advent this year! Aren't you?

This picture was taken 2 years ago, on Christmas morning...
You can see our Jesse Tree in the background.

"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse." ~ Isaiah 11:1


  1. Jessica! That is great! You did a beautiful job... I am sitting here wondering I could make one too, lol.
    I am really looking forward to Advent too!

  2. This is the year I am making one, after all these years I kept saying "I want to do that!", but never did. Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Hi Shannon! I happened across your blog about a year ago and I LOVE visiting it, I know I can always find excellent ideas here to help our family grow in our faith! We just got back from a Thanksgiving vacation and I really want to create a Jesse tree for our kids, and have them help where possible, but we're in a time crunch! I wondered if you had any suggestions for simple, handmade ornaments if I was going to use a real, small Christmas tree? Thank you so much!!!

  4. Hi Julia, thanks for commenting!

    I recently posted a few links near the top of this post, with simple printable ornaments:

    I hope that helps, and I hope that you have a very blessed Advent!

  5. I'm so sorry I wrote "Shannon" Jessica, I had just written to a friend named Shannon previously - Mommy brain! Thank you for your response, God bless you and yours!!!

  6. Julia ~ That is no big deal, I figured as much! :) God Bless!

  7. Do you hang the ornaments from the bells? How do you keep them on the tree?

  8. Both the tree and the ornaments are made from felt, so they really the ornaments "should" just stick to the tree. However, my children always seem to knock them off and so we hang ours from the bells. My children love the bells anyways, so it works out great!


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