Monday, December 01, 2008

Jesse Tree

Over the past couple of years, it seems I've been hearing more and more about creating a Jesse Tree with children. I am very intrigued by any idea that combines a fun family tradition with learning more about God and keeping Him central to our holiday celebration. And, had really wanted to do this last year - but it did not happen. This is the year!!

After searching the internet, it seems there are a variety of ways of doing this. Some suggested printing out pages to be colored and using those for the ornaments. Others suggested a list of ornaments and kind of left you on your own to gather them from here or there. Neither of these really seemed like the best for me - so when I came across this site, I was very excited at the options they offered.

I ordered the iron-on transfer set and began working on my ornaments. The patterns were easy to use and the iron-on worked great! I decided on my fabric and chose to complete all the stitching in red. Since no store near me sells embroidery floss, I knew I needed to keep it simple. And, I love how these turned out.

After completing all the hand stitching, I cut each circle out and stitched around the edge on the sewing machine - which also attached the hanger.

Now, I will admit that I had a great dilemma in choosing a tree to use. I wanted something with character and something not expensive. I saw a couple of trees that I really liked, but they were just too expensive. I asked a fellow blogger if she had any ideas and she mentioned seeing a tree made out of a drying rack. Something about that picture in my mind made me remember a set of free unopened Tinker Toys that I had stashed in my closet.

I wavered on this idea quite a bit too - because there is certainly nothing reverent about it, but it is playful and fun - my girls love it! And, it was free and using something I already had on hand. It will be super easy to store, etc...

I potted the tree in a small julep cup that my mom had given me, just slide a bit of floral foam down inside and make a small tree skirt from felt to cover the foam. I also made a paper star for the top and added a bow to the pot. That was it!

Each night at dinner, we add another ornament to our Jesse Tree and review the ornaments from the night before. We also read the daily devotional that I ordered with my iron-on set. I pray that this tradition will be a blessing to my family and a way of teaching my children about the prophecy of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament and why Jesus' birth is such a blessing to our lives.

As I was stitching the ornaments, it was a time of prayer for what they would mean to our family and I also wondered if they would be passed down someday to another generation of children learning the ways of God.

I am so thrilled that the lovely family behind the site where I ordered my iron-on set and devotional book is going to share some of their goodies with you!!

Three of you will win a devotional book and your choice of either the iron-on transfer set or the cross-stitch pattern.

To be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment sharing how you use the Jesse Tree in your own home or telling me what your favorite way of keeping the holiday focused on Christ with littles is. I am so eager to learn more creative ideas on this topic and can't wait to hear what you have to share.

Comments will be accepted until midnight tonight and winners will be chosen at random tomorrow.

I do hope you will visit the Jesse Tree site. As I explored, I was excited to find coloring pages, beautiful ornaments, parent devotions and ideas on implementing the Jesse Tree in your own home.

97 comments:

Catherine said...

Oh Monica - how lovely! Count me in!
I saw a glimpse of your ornaments during your haven week and have been looking forward to seeing the results - they are very simple and (therefore) beautiful. I have never been able to find a tree that I have liked, so my decorations (which I made with felt - you can see them on my blog) go on the wall on two lines. We have a special tradition of wrapping them all first, with a small chocolate coin for each child inside, to nibble while we read the story for the day-- it is very special. I do want to do more lasting Jesse Tree decorations at some stage soon.

Katy said...

oh my goodness...how fantastic!!! I love this! We have never done the Jesse Tree before but this is something I will have to definitely look into.

For us, we will read the Christmas story to the kids (although they know it..hehe) and they are in a christmas play at church that reminds them the true meaning. I am HUGE on remembering the real reason for Christmas. We don't go overboard on gifts at Christmas. We make it fun....but aren't ridiculous. I think people spend way too much and go too crazy on gifts.
We try to emphasize giving rather than receiving...by Operation Christmas Child, doing things for sock and mitten trees, and talking to our kids about the fact that there are kids and people around the world who have nothing.

Thanks for sharing this with us Monica! :)I would love to win this giveaway! If not...that's OK too..I look forward to just trying this ourselves...not sure I have time this year..but it will be a great idea for next year! Thanks!!!!

The Nilsen's Journey said...

I loved this post! Thank you! We have a one year old (in a couple days) & our heart has been to focus on Christ in Christmas. I have been also researching this Jesse Tree idea & although we won't begin the tradition until next year (we are overseas visiting family for this month), next year I am planning to get it all set up. Thank you for your links in your post! I really love the links tree...it's very humble & inviting for a child! Bless you!

Home School Dawn said...

Very nice, Monica.
I use the ornament approach, and we place them on our Christmas tree rather than using a separate tree. I only have about half of the ornaments, since I add two or three to the collection per year. We play a Bible card game called Redemption and have created "ornaments" from those for the the events for which we do not have an ornament.

Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

How wonderful! I was thinking about a Jesse tree yesterday as I made a construction paper advent wreath with my son. RIght now we go through a devotion book that my church does and light the advent wreath each night but the Jesse tree sounds like a great way to make it more interactive with the children. Thanks for sharing and hosting the giveaway!

Grace said...

Ok now you have given me something to look into for next year. I have never heard of a Jesse Tree. one thing we are doing that Brianna LOVED last year is an advent calendar. Each morning she can open a little door and it has something in there that has to do with the manger scene. whether it be a star, animal or Mary Joseph and Jesus. She loves the anticipation of what each day will have.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea!! I love the fabric and floss you chose too!
I know your family will be blessed. Thanks for lettin us know about this. Praying for you-tammyp

Amy M said...

We have never done a Jesse Tree, but one tradition we have to focus on Christ and includes something the kids LOVE is reading! I have collected enough children's Christian Christmas books through rummages, thrift stores, after Christmas sales and gifts that we have one wrapped for 25 days of December leading up to Christmas. Each day a child chooses a book and we snuggle up and read together. After Christmas I wrap them right up and tuck them away until next year until we're ready to do it all over again!

eworpell said...

Thank you for sharing! I read about doing a Jesse tree a couple of years ago-but like you, hadn't gotten around to it yet. It does seem like a great way to keep the holiday centered on Christ. Can't wait to check out some of the links you posted! :)

asnipofgoodness said...

MONICA!!!!!SOOOOOO CUTE!!!! I love the tree you made, and the ornaments are perfect!!!! I really want to start this tradition with my family, you have inspired me!

Each year for Christmas we bake a Happy Birthday cake for Jesus. The little guys, and big guys always look forward to it. This year I bought a small creche to add to the top.

Crystal said...

This is my first year using the Jesse tree. I downloaded the paper version, colored them, and glued them to cardstock. I also downloaded the devotions, cut them and glued them to index cards, so that each day, we will just grab the card and share it with our family. I am so excited to use these during our family devotions! Your ornaments and tree are beautiful. Thanks for sharing the links!:)

Jenny said...

This is such a wonderful idea. I have never heard of the Jesse Tree. This is just what I am looking though to help draw our family closer to christ. Which is my goal for the New Year. Wether I win this or not. I look forward to putting this together. Also think it would be a good gift to give some of my family next year.

I do hope to win this!

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

I will definitely be visiting that site! This year, I will working on a short advent reading each day with my girls. We tried last year, and I'm hoping that this is the year with attention spans being a little better. I have contemplated the Jesse Tree each year as well, but the idea of making all the ornaments overwhelmed me as well. Thanks for offering these!

Wendi said...

I love the idea of the Jesse Tree. I had never heard of it.

Megan is now 2 and really understanding things. We are still working out what traditions we want for her. Starting today we will be reading a book about the true meaning of Christmas.

angie said...

Last year, I tried a once weekly advent candle wreath with my family. The time between each devotional was too far apart for carry over. I love the idea of the Jesse tree, as it is a daily reminder of the promises of God fulfilled.
The tinker toys are a great idea!
Angie

*carrie* said...

That's so neat, Monica. I love how everything turned out. That Tinker Toy tree is something else, too!

Melissa said...

I have just been hearing about the Jesse Tree for a month now. My little one is only 16 months old so I hope to start this tradition next year. The ornaments that you made look beautiful and simple to make.

Amy said...

What a sweet Jesse tree. I had not heard of these until Simple Mom shared about hers. What a wonderful idea!

I hope you guys had a good Thanksgiving and your dad has been in my prayers ((hugs))

Danielle said...

Thank you for sharing that beautiful website! I love the Heirloom set!

Anyway, I just blogged about my Jesse Tree...I love your set...much more kid friendly!

Our other Advent Custum is reading the advent books called Jotham's Journey, Bartholomew's Passage, and Tabitha's Travels. I blogged about them a week ago. Highly recommended for when your children are a little older!

mytmagnolia said...

Monica-I love this. You are always inspiring me with your crafty idead and your frugalness.

We have never done a Jesse Tree but we do try very hard to keep the focus of Christmas on our Lord and Savior. We participate in the Angel Tree project, We read or listen to the Christmas story every day until Christmas. We make goodies to share with our retired & elderly neighbors. We talk w/ our little about what Christmas is really about and give her chances to give to others.

I would love to start a Jesse Tree tradition in our home. Our little really thrives on tradition and I think would love the Jesse tree. I can see it as something I am sure she would want to pass on to her own littles one day.

Thanks for a great blog.

Glenna Marshall said...

Lovely!

When my husband began pastoring the church we are at, he really wanted to help the body celebrate Advent, something they had never previously done. This is now our
4th Christmas with our people, and we are going through our 4th Advent, which consists of Sunday evening Advent services and home Bible studies for all the families so they can teach their children at home before the main messages on Sunday evenings. The services are conducted using minimal light, and Advent songs are sung and performed, my husband preaches a message to go with his Advent theme of the year (this year it is looking at the first Advent of Christ and longing/waiting for His second Advent). The families work with their children all week to make ornaments using ideas from the passages of Scripture given to meditate on for that week. During the service, the children all bring their ornaments to put on our Jesse tree. It is wonderful to watch the children produce ornaments they have made after listening to their parents read the Word to them!
This is our first Christmas with a child, and he's too young to make ornaments, but we will be following an Advent calendar and lighting our Advent candles during our Scripture readings.

Tiffany said...

These turned out so well! I have wanted to do a Jesse tree for a couple of years, but haven't found the supplies I needed/wanted. I think that it is such a neat idea!

As a family, we do not celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ, but instead as just a fun family holiday. I know this goes against the grain of modern Christianity, but since there is nothing in Scripture commanding us to celebrate Christ's birth as a holiday or religious day, we choose to honor the silence of Scripture. Instead, we follow Scripture's pattern of taking the Lord's Supper weekly as our celebration of Christ. Anyway...all that being said, we do still try to bring Christ into all that we do, including our non-religious Christmas celebrations! This year we're focusing on two verses with our little ones - "God loves a cheerful giver" and "Every good and perfect gift..." We're focusing on how we are so blessed we are able to give good things to others and then how God has already given us such good things. We're also focusing onthe character traits of contentment & thankfulness.

Still, I would love to incorporate the Jesse Tree into our learning! If not in December, it would always be a wonderful activity any time of the year! Thanks for sharing your work with all of your pictures. (I love the Tinkertoy tree!) -Tiffany

Carol said...

This is great, I'd never heard of a Jesse tree before. I grew up thinking Christmas was all about Santa, milk, and cookies. Sure I knew the story of Jesus's birth, but not how the true meaning of Christmas. I'd love to teach my girls in a fun way and make some lasting memories and hopefully a tradition they'll continue with their own children.

Anonymous said...

I had this growing up and have wanted to do this with my children but have forgot over the years. As a family we celebrate Christ Birthday with a big cookie or cupcakes to help them remeber who's day Christmas really is, they just love making Jesus a special treat and singing Happy Birthday to Him.
Monica
moni5502@gmail.com

Bay said...

I really love your Jesse Tree ornaments. I have been wanting a nativity set since I got married and this year I finally got one! I am really excited to set it up in my house this year. I would love to start a Jesse Tree tradition now with my baby daughter. It would be great to win and have another Christ-focused Christmas item for my home (as well as the daily devotion involved in the Jesse tree!). Thanks for the entry!

bluebonnetstopeaches said...

I love the Jesse Tree, this is the first year I've ever heard of it! I would love to start that tradition next year! A family tradition that we enjoy is "building" our nativity scene. It's a small nativity scene in our home and each day the kids get to add a new piece to it. On Christmas morning we add baby Jesus. We love it because it focuses our minds attention on the reason for our celebrations that day.

Anna said...

Oh, wow! What a wonderful give away. I love ideas that help us keep Christ central throughout the hubub of the season.

We're early yet in establishing traditions for our family having only been married (almost) 2 years. However, one idea we have decided on was gleaned from a more experienced momma while I was expecting our son. She shared how she and her husband only gave each of their children 3 gifts, just as the baby Christ was given. After pondering it a little while, the idea really rang true for us. We don't want the getting of gifts to be the main thought on our children's minds during Christmas. We also hope to establish an early morning reading of the nativity story - maybe with everyone piled up in Daddy and Momma's bed... A Jesse Tree might be a good fit for us, too.

SmrfChic said...

I had never heard of a Jesse tree before! How intriguing. As four keeping Christ in our Christmas, we always make sure to hit the Christmas eve service, and set up a nativity set, etc. I've also made a Kings cake before, and we're trying to limit presents to 3 each. Neither my husband nor I were raised in an overly religious home, so it's been a bit of a struggle to figure this kind of stuff out for us.

Shannon/MrsCoach said...

We too celebrate by making an Advent Wreath, but have never used a Jesse Tree. I never knew much about it until now! I just visited the site and printed out the coloring pages. I'm trying to think of ways to incorporate this now... I love the ideas!
We participate every year in our church "Living Nativity" (all of my littles have either been baby Jesus and when my daughter was 5, she was chosen to play Mary in the children's play! (she prayed about being chosen for weeks...and, as always...the Lord did provide!)

Sally said...

We have used the Jesse tree ornaments to add to the stories already told with other special ornaments (the construction paper angel our daughter "made" one year & still tells how the angel told everyone about Jesus). It takes hours to decorate the tree because of the stories (our ornaments are mainly based on Jesus' story or from very special friends). Having downsized earlier this year, I was looking for an inexpensive option to downsize the size of the ornaments as well! How fun to be able to keep it going!!!

snippity1 said...

I have been looking for ways to add more Christ to christmas. I think this Jesse tree would be a wonderful tradition to start. Of course, we read the Bible (Luke) story...but I still feel like we don't do enough to 'counteract' the secular part of Christmas that is so prevalent these days.

GritsGirl said...

Wow. i have never heard of the Jesse tree before but I love the idea. I would love to start this in my home! Thanks for the great giveaway! On Christmas Eve we attend out churches vesoers service and on Christmas morning we read the Christmas story.

LynnMarie said...

What a wonderful gift to children and grandchildren. My grandsons are in CA and only get to see them about once a year - we live in NH. I send them things to remember me by and this would be just so great to do with them over the miles. And we can pass it on to them. Count me in please! Yours is just beautiful!!

Sarah said...

I was inspired by your post regarding the Jesse Tree. I had never heard of it, but I really like the idea alot!
As for me, I have 2 littles- 2 yrs. and 6 months. Ways I have been implementing Christ and the true meaning of Christmas this year are simple of course, but meaningful. I have been reading the story of Jesus birth from many different angles with my 2 yr old. She is really enjoying this and each day she remembers more and more of the story. I am doing this each day of December. We are learning Christmas songs each day as well and I am having several Christ centered crafts for her to do several times a week. dltk-kids.com is a great resource.
Plus, our childrens program at church which I am assistant leader for is also based on the Christmas story and the true meaning all month.
At any rate, these ideas you have shared as well as the resources are wonderful. Thank you!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for this great idea... I am going to share this with my brother and SIL also...

Thanks again,
Elizabeth

Step said...

Monica, I'm a new reader of your blog and was so excited to see your post about the Jesse tree. I did come across the very site you linked to your post here while looking for my own ideas for doing this. This year will be our first for a Jesse tree too. Because I wanted to get started this year, I ended up printing out symbols for the ornaments, coloring them and then laminating them onto cardstock. I LOVE those iron on transfers, maybe next year. Also, I have been searching for just the right tree as well AND I have a set of tinker toys that my boys have outgrown in my "giveaway" pile. How perfect!!!

Anyway, we're really trying to focus on Jesus this season. The Jesse tree will be a new tradition for us. We also light an Advent wreath along with a scripture reading each Sunday. We have already bought gifts for our church's angel tree where you pick an angel ornament/s from the tree and buy a needy child some much needed gifts. We also give to toys for tots and my 11yo son will be caroling at a retirement home and buying gifts for a needy family with our church's youth group.

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! -- Stephanie

Anonymous said...

Monica- I have never heard of the Jesse Tree, but after reading your post I love the idea. I would love to be able to do this with my family. You have done such a beautiful job, and I think your tree is perfect. :o) Thanks for hosting this special giveaway.
Blessings, ~Yvette
yvette@im4christ.org

Jessica said...

That's great! I'd never heard of a Jesse Tree and it sounds like a great tradition to start.

I bought a little Advent "house" several years ago but this is the first year we're going to actually use it because our oldest little is old enough to understand. Behind each door will be items that will encourage them to do something for someone else: $2 to buy mittens for the mitten tree at church, a note instructing them to help with the dishes, shovel a neighbor's driveway, etc.

The former idea is "nice" but I think the Jesse tree would really help us to focus on Christ this season!

Thanks!!

Wendi said...

I love these Jesse Tree ornaments! I too have been wanting to do a Jesse Tree but have not found an ornament collection that I liked and could afford yet - this set seems very simple. I'd love to win a set, and if I don't I may have to purchase them :)

Since having our first child (almost 7) we have been collecting Christmas books - they get put in our book basket in December. We also have a family friend that gives us a set of "advent envelopes" every year. Each envelope contains a scripture verse pertaining to Advent and a piece of candy for each child.

Vintage Mommy said...

We have an Advent log that we light after dinner and read a daily Advent Scripture.

I've also planned activities for my kids using the symbols of Christmas as weekly themes. I've written the names of each activity on slips of paper and tucked them into an Advent garland. We'll pull out an activity to do every night after dinner.

I had never heard of a Jesse tree! What a great idea!

...they call me mommy... said...

Looks so neat, Monica...I had never heard of a Jesse tree until your blog! What a great idea! I definitely will check it out more...
We have tried to celebrate Christmas as Jesus' "birthday" so we do a Happy Birthday Jesus cake, sing, and make signs for His birthday as part of our Christmas celebration...

Thanks for sharing! And I think your tree SO cute! :-)

Heather said...

We are doing a Jesse Tree this year for the first time. I'm really looking forward to it. I've purchased a 2-dimensional wire tree to hang on the wall near our kitchen table. It's designed to hold photos or Christmas cards on little swirly hooks, but my children will draw and color an appropriate symbol to match the lesson on a 2-inch circle, which we'll then hang on the tree. I'm hoping it will become a yearly tradition.

Michelle said...

I have a post on my blog today about the Blessing Jar that we are doing this season along with a link to yours about the Jesse Tree. Merry Christmas!

Dana Rexrode said...

I'd love a chance to win!! I have three boys, ages 8, 7 & 5. We try very hard to focus on the true meaning of Christmas by taking time to volunteer, Christmas caroling at nursing homes in our area, and making sure to read and focus on the birth of Christ. We also throw a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party as part of our church's Christmas celebration. I've often thought of doing a Jesse tree, but I'm not the most crafty person. This seems perfect!!

Dana

Bridgett said...

how neat! I have not heard of a Jesus Tree. The idea is fantastic! One thing we are doing this year to stay focused on Christ is everyone will receive 3 presents and that's it! To represent the the three gifts Christ recieved. I'm thinking I want this to become a tradition. I'm def. going to search that site, I've been racking my head trying to think of a way to drive it home. :)

Dawn said...

I've been waiting to hear about this since you mentioned it to me!
Your's are darling!
Enter me in the contest for sure! If I don't win, I'm ordering the iron on set to make for next year.
I can't even get started on everything we do here to keep Christ the focus of Christmas...you know how carried away I get!
Love you,Dawn M.

Genesa said...

I love the way the ornaments turned out. How beautiful!

Jean Marie Bibby said...

I have to admit that I've never heard of the Jesse Tree. I am so thankful for your blog and the many wonderful ideas you have shared to help me build on my family's foundation. Thank you.

I can't wait to start our own tree.

Since our kids are so young. I began with a star theme wtih Luke when he was two. We focus all on the part of the star in Christ's birth. It was such a wonderful thing to continue on into the next year and add another part of the story last year. This year I am thinking of backtracking since Kayla is now two and re-doing the star theme again. Christmas is such a wonderful warm spot during winter.

Trish said...

I had been hearing about a Jesse Tree too. I did a little research and would love to do something like this. Count me in your giveaway!
Trish
youmanspr@aol.com

Jodie said...

I love this idea! I have not done it yet, but really would love to. One small thing we've done is that when we open the doors on our wooden advent calendar, I put slips of paper with Scripture passages in there, rather than candy. So each day there is a passage to read to focus on the True meaning of Christmas as we await the celebration of Jesus' birth!

BrendaLou said...

Monica, what a lovely tradition. I'm a Grandma to 3 dear, dear grandchildren and I take my role very seriously.Their moms work and I'm the one who does the craft stuff with them, I teach them the funny poems, the songs about Jesus. Hubby and I take them to church with us. I collect Nativity Scenes and keep many of them up all year. On Dec. 1 the "really big" set made by My mother about 40 years ago comes out but where's Baby Jesus & the wise men? The wise men make their journey all around the house and finally arrive at the manger on Dec 24 (I know, it's not accurate!) and baby Jesus appears on Dec 25. The grandbabies help me (just like their parents before them!) decide where the journey of the wise men will take them.
God is good....I'm so very enjoying my role as a grandma.

char said...

Monica - I love how the Tinker Toy tree turned out. I thought about your question about how we focus on Christ during Christmas... and while unpacking our Christmas things I was reminded of several ways (my brain is very compartmentalized these days!).

1. We send out a Christ-Centered Christmas letter to friends and family, usually directly sharing the gospel since this season seems to be the one which people are the most accepting of Christ being spoken of.

2. We have read out loud books that share the Christmas story to read at night ranging from preschool age to adult.

3. We have different Christmas movies that I have found at the Salvation Army and online that talk about Christ's birth.

4. We have a neat activity (I told you about this) called "What God wants for Christmas" that you open like a 7 day calendar made of boxes that share different elements of the Christmas story and share the gospel.

5. We participate in an annual Happy Birthday Jesus party where we share the gospel.

I would love to add the Jesse Tree to our celebration. :) char

Mrs. Pear said...

How wonderful! I have to confess that I have wanted a Jesse tree for a couple years now, but it keeps getting bumped for more immediate needs.

To honor Jesus in Christmas we have a wonderful selection of books with that focus that we read starting with Advent. We do an Advent calendar, once again supplied by Grandma. And we talk about Christmas being Jesus' birthday.

Our oldest is 3.5 and while she got it last year, I anticipate greater understanding this year! Our second daughter is almost 12 weeks, so I expect her to love the lights!

Anonymous said...

Monica,
I have never done a Jesse tree before, but I would love to do one with my family. We as a family always try to stress that this time of year is about what God did for us. One way we do this, is we say Merry Christmas every where we go. I know it may not seem like much, but here in Maryland people always say Happy Holidays, they just really try to take Jesus out of everything. So I think that it is a small way to help people remember. Also we sing Christmas songs while we shop. With six kids singing we can sure make a loud but joyful noise. Also for gifts we give money to different missionaries in the name of family members for gifts.

Thank you so much for your website it is a blessing to read everyday.

lisa said...

Monica,

We have not done a Jesse tree, but we do have an Advent wreath. I limit the kids to three presents each on Christmas. We give through Samaritan's Purse and Voice of the Martyrs. My kids are working on being nice to their siblings by doing secret favors for the other ones. I do not feel I have yet hit on how to make the Christmas season about our Lord, but I am working on it.

Lisa
lmw@friendlycity.net

Meagan said...

Monica~
This is one of the sweetest Jesse Trees I have seen! I love the ornaments you made (and would be very happy to have the patterns!) and the tinker toy tree is great!

This is our fourth year celebrating Advent and using a Jesse tree. We have always printed out the patterns, had the children color them, and attach the pictures to blue cardstock. This year I decided to change things a bit and make felt ornaments. We do the devotional together and then the kids take turns hanging the ornaments. We usually use a bare branch with lots of small branches attached to it for our Jesse tree and I have always loved how it looks with the ornaments.

We also use the advent wreath and light the appropriate candles while we do our devotion. I did not know much about Advent until a few years ago and now I look forward to it every year. It is such a wonderful way to help the kids (and the parents) keep the focus on Jesus throughout the days leading up to Christmas. And I also love how the devotions take you through the major events of the Old Testament leading up to the birth of Christ.

Thanks for sharing your ideas and for having the giveaway! I always enjoy seeing how other families celebrate Advent and Christmas.

surrendered2theking said...

These ornaments are so neat! I have been doing a lot of research on the Jesse Tree, and would like to do it starting next Christmas. I have an 18 month old son, and though I know he will be spoiled by his grandparents at Christmas, my husband and I want to make sure that Christ is the focus. The Jesse tree is such a wonderful way to do that! This year, I want to read the real Christmas story to my son and watch the Natvity Story movie together as a family.
~Amy
surrendered2theking@gmail.com

Mrs Pea said...

I would love to recieve such a special gift. Presently, my Jesse tree "ornaments" are pictures I drew on cardboard. We put one into each pocket of the Mabel Lucie Atwell advent calendar I sewed for the children, and each morning we pull one out, think about the picture, then turn it over to find out where in the Bible the information is "hidden".

Kimberly said...

What a great idea! I would love to do something like this with my kids. I like how it is the centerpiece of your table as well.

Each year we use "What God Wants for Christmas" as our devotional with the kids. They open a box which contains a piece of the nativity. We add to it each night for a week and read the devotion that goes with it. On the last night they find out that God wants them for Christmas when they open up the last box and it contains a mirror.

I certainly like the idea of a Jesse tree and would love to add this Christmas tradition to our family - and I love to make ornaments. What a fun project. Thanks for sharing this idea. I'll definitely be checking out that website. Thanks for the idea and the giveaway! I hope I win one!

Angelia Tanner in TX said...

Monica your thoughtful planning and pursuing is so unique and beautifully simple. I love it. I have some of those tinker toys and never thought... Your wooden tree is very cute! I made paper Jesse tree ornaments this year (my first time to do this) I decided to hang mine on a ribbon on the wall going down each day and tie the new one on. I laminated them and printed the verse for each one on one side. I double sided it like you did your fabric ones. I am excited to be in this give away. God's continued blessings to your family. And many prayers of healing and strength for your dear father. Happy Holiday season. Smiles Angelia Tanner in TX

cheryl said...

I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and have been so inspired by your desire to be a godly wife and mother, and to be able to express your creativity in such great ways!
I LOVE your giveaway today. Our girls are 3.5 and almost 2, and we're starting the Jesse Tree tradition in our home this year as well. I haven't found anything I've loved for ornaments yet, and I recently came across this site as well. This would be super exciting to win. ;o)
We have a "tree" made out of some branches we cut off of a berry bush in our yard, and potted in a small flower pot w/ pea gravel around it. We're planning to use a hodge-podge of paper ornaments and some random ornaments we already had for our regular tree that will work for certain days.
We're also making up or own devotions from an assortment of things we found on-line.

More than Survival said...

How Wonderful!
I checked out their site and have it book marked... we will have to start doing this... I haven't heard of it before now and love it! We would hang each ornament on a garland in the dining room (NO room for a tree) and we would hang the ornament and do the devotional at supper each night. The older kids could take turns with us reading it. As the younger ones get older, they can read, too! WONDERFUL!!
Heather

Lisar said...

I love the tinker toy idea....it is so simple, yet effective and it WILL be easy to pack away for the years to come...alos love the ornaments...I must check out the site.

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

Monica,
That is such a great idea to use Tinkertoys!!! We have a felt Jesse Tree and use velcro backed ornaments from Ann Voskamp's book, The Glorious Coming. I'm going to be looking for Tinkertoys at garage sales, now. Love it. :)

Ruth said...

Monica,
I would love a chance to be entered. I have never done the Jesse Tree and only really starting hearing about it last year.
With my family. I like to do a Christmas study during our Bible class while we homeschool. I try to bring in new aspects of Christmas each year. My kids have always enjoyed being the ones who set up the Nativity. They are older now and still enjoy this. I find that it is easy to tell the story while they set it up and theye enjoy hearing it. I also use a small and simple Advent calendar and devotional with the kids each evening.
Ruth

Lois in Kansas said...

Wonderful time of learning together! We've Started reading Bartholomew's Passage, an Advent book this year. It's the first time we've done this with our 2 girls, 7 & 8. It's helping us focus on God and not get caught up in the "Holiday Season" celebrations.
Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

Butterfly Momma said...

Hi Monica - what a lovely idea. I actually do not have any earth shattering ideas of how to keep Christ the center of our Christmas, (my little boy is 1, so I'm still new at this parenting thing!!) - but I read lots of Christ centered Christmas books, play lots of Christmas Christ-centered hymns and songs for him and we will be reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve from his little Bible. This Jesse tree idea is an amazing one and one that I definitely need to implement!! Thanks for sharing and for hosting this giveaway.
God bless,
Wendy

The Butterfly Catcher said...

What a beautiful way to keep Christ at the center of the season! This is the third sight today that I've seen the idea of a Jesse Tree. . .okay I think I'm hooked!!

As far as holiday traditions go, we usually try to have a devotional a couple of times each week that is centered around the events leading up to the birth of our Lord. We also attempt to downplay the materialistic side of the holiday by coming up with creative, homemade ways that we can bless our family, friends, and neighbors.

Eight Is Great! said...

What a great idea. At our house we decided to start a new tradition this year of "Our Gifts we can give to Christ". We decided to make a Christmas chain out of colored paper. We add a red link with the gift we want to give and green links telling how we as a family can achieve this together.

The Chambers Family said...

I love your Jesse tree idea, that is so cool. So simple and so beautiful. =)

We have never done a Jesse tree, nor had I heard of it until I read about it on Simple Mom and on here.

We really try to focus on Christ during the Christmas season by daily talking with our children about what Christmas is all about. We memorize different verses about Jesus' birth as well. This year I want to teach them a good portion of Luke 2. We really try not to go crazy with gifts and really try to put limit on what the grandparents do as well.

We also do a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas. They love that!

Amy said...

Thanks for the links, MOnica! We already have a small(er) tree set up in our kitchen for our first ever Jesse tree, but I, like you, had been unable to find just what I was looking for in terms of ornaments. I think I'll use the coloring sheets this year--and maybe I'll win the transfers for next year! ; )

betty said...

Really you're a fairy godmother of sweetness that fills everything around it. Thank you for so many good ideas.So cute! Bicos

Wilma Samyn said...

Hi Monica,

We're doing a Jesse Tree for the first time this year and we got branches from outside. The decorations we just make as we go, and I got a lot of inspiration from the site you mentioned. I liked yours in a real country style. I'm always impressed how you implement the Word of God in your decorating. It inspires a lot!
Thanks!

blessedmommie said...

I love the idea of your tinker toy tree. It is so childlike and whimsical! And your ornaments are precious.
Some of the traditions that we have done to teach about Jesus, is to read a special Christmas story at bedtime each night by the tree. This year I also wanted to teach a Christmas carol (about the Lord, not a secular one) along with the verses each night along with the story. Also I have collected nativity sets that are for children and can be played with the past three years. So we have three- a Little People set, a sweet cloth stuffed set, and this year's addition is a large magnetic set(including the stable). These I place in prominent locations during the month of December. Thank you for sharing, and for the drawing (this is my first time of entering one). :)

The Things We Do said...

Monica, I love the site and had never seen it before. Please enter me! I've been doing a Jesse Tree with my children the past few years. I learned about in a book called Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes. I highly recommend the book as well. The second half of the book is filled with resources and one of them is the devotional and ornaments to make with your kids for a Jesse Tree. My kids love it and they look forward to it every day. =0)

The Things We Do said...

I forgot to mention that we also put a basket at the bottom of our Christmas tree with some raffia in it (ie hay). It sits empty until Christmas Eve when I put a wrapped baby Jesus doll in it. That's the first thing they run to on Christmas morning which brings me joy. They don't run to their gifts, they run to the "manger".

Elise said...

That is great, Monica!! I must say I have not heard of the Jesse Tree. As far as Christmas goes, we do try to emphasize that the holiday is about Jesus' birth, not Santa or the gifts they receive. It is more of a telling of the Christmas story and they have the Little People Nativity that they play with. We only do 4 gifts-three, like Jesus got, and 1 from Santa.
Elise

Megan said...

Glad you found my friend Keri's site! Your ornaments look great. I need to go dig mine out of storage now since it is, oh, 6:45pm on December 1. About time, you think?

Peter & Jessica said...

The Jesse tree is new to me. Thank you for sharing!

Mama Bear said...

I honestly do not know much about the Jesse tree. I've heard murmurings of it around the blogosphere but haven't yet educated myself - this might be my chance! :)

Love your blog.

Amy in TN said...

Oh, how exciting! I am planning to begin the Jesse Tree tradition with my family this year. We colored the pictures for the ornaments over Thanksgiving break and I was going to mount them on cardstock and lamenate them. I would much rather have those cute stitched ornaments, though. I would also love to have the devotional book. My sister and I decided to make each other gifts this year, so we are making copies of our ornaments for her family as well. What a timely post for me to read. I was going to make her a devotion book from passages I found online. Now I have more sites to consult. Thanks Monica! BTW, your ornaments are adorable.

Nancy M. said...

I have never heard of a Jesse Tree until this year. Thanks for sharing the links. It looks like a fun thing to get kids involved and learning.

Jo Ann said...

I am new to your blog and just love it! I have really wanted to do a Jesse tree.

It seems that every year we realize there's still so much more we could be doing to incorporate more Jesus. This year we are really focusing on developing servant's hearts.

One of my favorite things we are doing this year is having a Jesus stocking. We will fill it with money (loose change, etc.) throughout the month and then total it on Christmas day and then use it to bless someone in need.

By the way, I absolutely loved the tinkertoy tree!

Dana D said...

WOW! I'd never seen that before. I love it! And the tinker-toy tree is beautiful. It's perfect for children to enjoy.

Currently we use several nativities. Last year we added "What God Wants for Christmas" to our family activities.

Jessica said...

Our one year old has a Little People Nativity set that she loves to play with. As she plays we tell her about the Christmas story. I would love to start the Jesse Tree with her next year!

Tilly said...

Hello Monica! I'm a long time reader of your blog...although for the most part, I'm a lurker. I simply had to come out of hiding for this one though, not only for a chance to win the goodies, but also to tell you how lovely yours are!! I have a daughter who is 2.5 and a son who is 6 months, so they're really young to understand any of it, but we are certainly starting young! We will read the Nativity story frequently, as well as talk about Jesus' birthday...with all of her young aunts and uncles, she will understand that! We try to keep gifts simple so that it isn't a crazy, main focus. And of course we will be going to Mass, and I think that getting all dressed up in a new dress to go tell Jesus "Happy Birthday" will certainly make an impression! :)
Thank you so much for your beautiful blog!
~Mackenzie

Liz in Colorado said...

I've been thinking of doing a Jesse tree ever since we had our first child two years ago, but have not yet put anything together. We light candles together for Advent and sing Christmas carols together. We also do Operation Christmas Child every year. I LOVE your Jesse tree and how you did it! Thanks for the inspiration!

joeandkris513 said...

I've never heard of a Jessie Tree either, but am eager to make one now that I've seen yours. It also makes a great gift idea for nieces and nephews too!
My little ones (4 and 2) are kept close to the meaning of Christmas by our reading to them, reenacting the Christmas story with the Fisher Price nativity we bought them last year, and being a part of every activity our Church has during the Christmas season. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and your decorations. I had never heard of a Jesse tree before, and I love that it emphasizes the Old Testament references to Jesus. We have special Christmas Ornaments that are the names of God. The kids love taking turns putting them on the tree.

Amy said...

Monica,
I just came across your site two days ago and have enjoyed browsing through your posts so much.
I just finished posting a bit on how we make Jesus the center of our Christmas in our home. (www.dailypleasures.blogspot.com)
One of my favorite ideas is to place an empty manger over a tray of straw. For each kind deed, a piece of straw is placed in the manger to prepare it for Baby Jesus' arrival on Christmas morning.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful Jesse tree. What a special heirloom you have created.
Amy

Brandy said...

This is such a neat idea. I have never thought of doing something like this to teach or lean about the bible more. I am going to have to check that website out. Thanks.

Paige said...

I've never heard of this idea. The site says it's an old tradition but I can't find any more info on it. We always did the advent and have recently been reading the prophesy and timeline of the Messiah. That has been a nice time as a family.
Paige

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love this idea! Just today I was looking for an advent calendar, and was bummed that so many of them just seem to countdown to "Gift Day" rather than the real purpose of the day. We will be going through the Stockman's advent book this year, but I was wanting something more. Count me in!
Wendy

Sugar Coma said...

i love your tree - at least for it's cuteness value. i've never heard of the jesse tree until just tonight so i'm not sure exactly how it works. it looks like something my family would enjoy though.

every year we find a needy family and the kids help us to pick out gifts to bless them with. it helps them to remember the gift God has blessed us with and not just think of the presents under the tree for themselves.

DavisFam3 said...

We have a set of Advent Candles, and a book that we read a story, or sing a song from to celebrate Advent, but I would love to incorporate a Jesse tree into it. Your ornaments came out so nice, and I LOVE the tinker toy tree! I think we'll have to dig out the tinker toys and make one just for fun!!

Angie said...

I have never heard of a Jesse tree before but now I want to do this for my family! What a great idea!

Allison said...

This is so neat! I have one little one right now and one on the way, and so have been wanting to do a Jesse Tree. Right now we do the weekly advent readings with a wreath, and we read some stories and talk about the nativity each night. This is a wonderful way to incorporate the OT prophecies and stories! Thanks!