DIY Jesse Tree Ornaments

As I noted when I wrote last summer about Christ-focused Advent traditions, the Jesse Tree is one of my favorite parts of Christmas.

A Jesse Tree helps families reflect on the people, prophesies, and events that preceded Christ’s birth.  There is one Jesse Tree reading for each day of Advent. These readings are from the Bible and each is accompanied by an ornament that symbolizes the occurrence or theme presented in the reading (e.g., the first sin is symbolized by a tree with fruit, the Passover is symbolized by a lamb, the exile is symbolized by tears, the birth of Christ is symbolized by a manger). These ornaments are used to decorate a “Jesse Tree” (the name is taken from Isaiah 11:1).

Several friends and family members have asked me how I made my Jesse Tree ornaments. I made the ornaments about 10 years ago, so I can’t demonstrate exactly how I made them. What I can do, though, is share images of the ornaments with you and describe the general process I used to make them. I’ve placed their images, along with the corresponding Scripture passages, in the following tables. (Click on the image of the reading guide to view and download a printer-friendly version of it.)

The Jesse Tree is a meaningful, family-friendly Advent tradition. Here is a reading guide and simple ornaments you can make for your tree!

The Jesse Tree is a meaningful, family-friendly Advent tradition. Here is a reading guide and simple ornaments you can make for your tree!

About the readings: Per the church calendar, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, so the actual dates and duration of Advent vary from one year to the next. For this reason, I’ve placed the readings in order, but have not assigned them to specific dates. You can make whatever adjustments are needed (such as excluding readings or reading more than one on some days) in order to make the readings fit in the present year. You can also simply begin the readings on November 27th of each year so you conclude them on Christmas.

About the ornaments: All of the ornaments are made of foam craft sheets (affiliate link). The ones with sticky backs are particularly useful because some of the ornaments have more than one layer. I found simple clip art images for most of the symbols and printed these. I cut the clip art images out of the paper, traced them onto the foam, and then cut them out of the foam. I cut out the remaining ornaments freehand. None of the ornaments are going to win awards for their beauty or intricacy, but they effectively symbolize their respective events or themes and they’ve been durable.

If your family participates in the Jesse Tree tradition, then I hope you have a wonderful time meditating on Scripture together and that your faith is strengthened. If you’ve not participated in this tradition, then I hope you will consider doing so. It’s such an encouraging activity to share with one another!

Does your family have a Jesse Tree? If so, did you make your own ornaments or did you purchase them? What other Advent traditions are you taking part in this Christmas season?

Shared at the following:

The Art of Home-Making, Tuesday Talk, Faith Filled Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, Grace and Truth, Wrapping up the Holidays, Party in Your PJs, and Moments of Hope.

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Comments

  1. This is neat! Thanks for putting it all together. I’ll be sharing your post. 🙂 #MomentsofHope

    • I’m so pleased to share it, Kelly. This tradition means so much to me and my family.
      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing the post!

  2. This is great, Shannon! We do a very simple tradition similar to this with our little children, but I think we will do this as they get a bit older. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hi Brooke,
      My kiddos are still quite young, as well, so they don’t quite understand the significance of this. I agree with you that this will be so wonderful for them as they grow older.

  3. I absolutely LOVE these ornaments! Every year we do the Jesse Tree in our home, and it is such a meaningful tradition! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Shannon,
    Wow! This is really neat! What a phenomenal project. Thank you so much for sharing it at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    • I’m pleased to share it, Lori. I am proud of the ornaments (I’m not all that gifted at crafts), but they are just a vehicle for meditating on the stories that preceded the birth of Christ. I love getting to focus on these events as we move towards Christmas.

  5. I love this idea! We did a Jesse tree many years ago and it helped the family take the time to get into the Advent story daily. Great idea!
    #Grace&Truth
    Julie

    • Hi Julie,
      Having that time to focus each day on the significance of what we celebrate at Christmas is so nice, isn’t it?

  6. LOVE! I started doing this with my SS kids last year- we divided them up for each Sunday before advent and tacked them on a bulletin board with a tree outline 🙂 It really puts Christmas in perspective. Thanks for sharing your cute ornaments!

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