Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Advent and the Jesse Tree - printable file and ornaments!

 **Please note - this post is from Advent of 2009.  A current  Jesse Tree packet, with schedule, ornaments, and prayers is here.**

blog pics 105
A few of our Jesse Tree ornaments and the cards we use to go with them. They are decorated with glitter glue, which isn’t showing up too well in the picture. They’re pretty in real life. :)

We are spending a little bit of time this month Christmas shopping and getting ready for Advent, which begins Nov. 29th… I love having time before Christmas that isn’t hurried and rushed and chaotic… just time for our family to soak in the peacefulness and joy of the season.

One of our little traditions is the Jesse Tree. I use *tradition* in a pretty loose way here, because this is actually only our 2nd year:). But I do hope and plan to make this a tradition for years to come.

The Jesse Tree is a way of telling the story of Jesus’ genealogy and the history of God’s plan of salvation. It goes from creation to the birth of Jesus, hitting the high points like the fall of Adam and Eve, the flood, prophets, and the lineage from Jesse to Jesus. There is an ornament and scripture reading (or Bible story) for each day of Advent.

Because the number of days in Advent can vary a little from year to year (this year there are 26 days) there are a couple of options. You can do the same ornaments and stories every year starting with Dec. 1st and only doing 24 ornaments a year, similar to an advent calendar. Or you can have a couple of *extra* ornaments to slip in here and there, normally on the Sundays of Advent. This is what we will do.

There is no set way of doing a Jesse Tree, if you do a Google search you may find several other ornaments and ideas. It can get a little confusing the first time (or two!).

Some families print ornaments out and let their children decorate them, then hang them on a tree. Many use a bare branch in a garden pot for their Jesse tree. I decided on making a felt tree just for simplicity’s sake so we can do the same thing year after year. I created felt ornaments last year, but when M is older I may print them out, let him decorate the ornaments, and then glue felt to the back of them to hang on the tree. Here’s a picture of the felt tree we’ll use:image
I’ve created a file which lists the ornaments and stories for each day. It also has some cards we use that have each day’s scripture reference on them, the special “emphasis point” to talk about, as well as a short prayer to read each evening (suitable for small children). Click on the image to go to the file and see all the elements. The last few pages have printable ornaments to color and decorate. image
Last year I checked out a book about the Jesse Tree from the library, but for the life of me I can’t remember the title. I got the ideas for many of our ornaments and prayers from the book, as well as some of the other ideas.

Here’s the specifics of what we’ll do each evening of Advent…
  • M will open his special Advent box: blog pics 092Inside the box will be a piece of candy, a sticker, a short length of yarn, the ornament of the day, and the card (for our reference):blog pics 097
  • M will eat his piece of candy first (pretty sure of that :) )
  • We’ll read the Bible story for the evening from one of our Children’s Bibles or from other religious story books we have. The scripture reference for each day is on each card if you want to read directly from the Bible for older children.
  • M will place the ornament on the tree while we talk about the “emphasis point” for the evening (also on the card… things like God’s promises, what makes God sad, etc.).
  • M will put the sticker on a tree cutout that we’ll use as an Advent calendar. blog pics 094
  • We will read the short prayer written on the card.
  • Finally, M will place the piece of yarn in the manger. One piece of yarn per evening to make a soft bed for baby Jesus, while doing this we’ll say something along the lines of “Come Baby Jesus, be born in our hearts”.blog pics 095On Christmas Eve there will be a baby Jesus to place in the manger on top of the “hay”.
Last year he was two and needed quite a bit of guidance, but by the end of Advent he had the routine totally down. Especially the candy part. ;)

If this is something you want to try with your family and you have any questions, please let me know!! Or if you already decorate a Jesse Tree as part of your tradition, I’d love to hear about it!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. This is a wonderful, timely post. I have been thinking about traditions to start now that Bear is 2. I just hadn't had the time to do much research yet. A Jesse tree was one thing I wanted to do, along with an advent calendar of fun activities to do together as a family each day of advent. I'll be posting about that later this month. Anyway, thank you for doing all that work and making it available to us. I can't wait for my printer to work so I can print it and be ready for advent.

  2. I love this idea! I would never had thought to do something like this.

  3. What a great idea! I love the idea of the Jesse Tree!

  4. I L-O-V-E this idea! We have been looking for new traditions to implement this year and I really like this one! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I need to think about it. As you know, we are not religious, but I would like to introduce some history of Christmas this year. So much to do - so little time :)

  6. I just printed out all of your pages- so helpful! Thank you! I was wondering however, if you could post or let me know how you went about making your felt ornaments last year? I think that is a terrific idea! Thanks so much!

  7. Chic Mama... Thank you!

    I decided which colors of felt I wanted and bought the squares of felt (available at Hancock Fabrics and Michaels).

    I used felt tip markers (non-washable because those will bleed) to draw the ornaments onto the felt, using the drawings as guides. I am NOT an artist by any means, and I think anyone could do this with a little patience. A trick I used for a couple of the more difficult ones was to go over the paper image with a thick black marker, then tape it to a sunny window and, holding the felt over it, I was able to trace the image.

    After they were drawn I cut them out then used glitter glue on some of the details, holding the glue tip very close to the felt. That is basically it!

    There are 26, so it can be time consuming. I did the ones for the coming week every weekend of Advent. I have to say it was fun to do, although I sometimes stressed about getting them all done. :)

    A couple of them, like the one with the ark and the rainbow were cut out separately, and then glued onto a larger piece of felt with hot glue to make it all one ornament.

    For Zechariah and Elizabeth I took the easy way and just printed the picture, colored it and then glued it to a piece of felt. You could do that for all of them.

    Another idea I had, but ended up not doing, was to color them in a paint program, then print them onto fabric transfer paper and iron them onto white felt. I've never experimented with transferring onto felt, but have heard that it works!

    I hope that helps!! Let me know if there are any more questions. Have fun!!

  8. Oh, I've wanted to start a Jesse tree tradition in our house, and this post is a fantastic resource - thanks!

  9. Thank you for posting these resources. I'm printing off all of the pages now, and am looking forward to starting this tradition with our family.

  10. It strikes me that these ornaments would make good toddler coloring pages as well. (The other coloring stuff I have found is geared to much older children)

    What do you use for a nativity? I'm wanting to do the yarn thing, but having problems deciding what to do for a manger/Jesus (I could use the Fisher Price baby Jesus maybe? Or we have a small baby doll that is wearing blue...)

    It seems the size of the Jesus dictates the size of the manger. And the size of the manger dictates how much yarn you need each day!

  11. I hope it's okay but I've added the top picture and linked to your post in our post featuring advent ideas next week.

    ~Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot

  12. Thanks for sharing! I was excited when I saw the idea of a Jesse tree on another site - and I printed out ornaments and coloring pages from there, but I wasn't sure which stories to use - so I'll be printing out your cards. And I love the tree and the yarn ideas...

  13. This is AWESOME!! Thank you so so much for sharing all of this with us! I just printed out the pages and will *hopefully* get all of it together in time!


    I have been up all night looking for something like this (Jesse Tree Printables) and ITS HERE!!!
    I think I can finally go to bed :0)!!

    God Bless

  15. The prayer card on day 6 has Joseph misspelled. Just wanted to let you know.

  16. Thanks so much for reposting this! I'm definitely going to do a Jesse tree this year, and your ornament templates & calendar make it easy :)

  17. La de da, just noticed I'd not commented. Downloading and printing now to share with my Sunday school class.


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