The locksmith eyed this birdfeeder and mentioned it might attract more bears than birds...oops.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Advent Jesse Tree

Many wonderful years ago, I heard about an Advent Jesse Tree.  I had never heard of a 'Jesse Tree' and even though I'd grown up southern Baptist and learned many old time Bible stories, I couldn't for the life of me place' Jesse'.  The only Jesse I knew was the girl Rick Springfield sung about and Jessie down the street who was co-accosted with my girl by the big blue Baloo at the Animal Kingdom.

So I did a little research and found out this: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots ... And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:1,10)

Jesse was King David's daddy!  No wonder there's a Christmas tree named in his honor!
This is a great arts and crafts project for kids of all ages. (Literally all ages as I enjoyed making it as much as the kids!)  The first thing you do is order this book.  I got mine from Amazon for around ten dollars.

(I have no idea why the sentences here are all funny highlighted but they are so there ya go..)

Inside the book, there are 24 (or is it 25?) Bible stories with a prayer, a little song suggestion and a sweet story that begins the tale of God's love and redemption.  You read the story and unwrap the ornament which you've so lovingly crafted with your child earlier in the year.  By this time, everyone has generally forgotten what each ornament looks like so it's an exciting time of anticipation as the tissue comes off and everyone 'oohs and ahhs' at the handiwork of your brilliant child!

So here's what else you'll need to pull off this great craft project:

A three or four foot tree. (Hobby Lobby has a 40% off coupon in the Sunday paper)
Little bottles of scribble paint.  It comes out liquid and turns to rubber.  Get black, red, blue, green, yellow, brown
Several sheets of foam paper.  I got a whole pack of colors on clearance.  You'll need yellow, tan, brown, gray, blue, green and any other colors you like. (check the dollar store)
A small 1 to 2 inch dove.
Two sheep
one earth
3 cinnamon sticks
a baby in a manger
an angel
a rubber snake (dollar store)
several (6 to 8) thin four inch wooden rectangles for the ornaments that need a foundation
2 or 3  3 inch grape vine wreaths
grapes cluster (the dollar store!)
wheat (again, the dollar store! Who knew they had all these wonderful things!)
gold ribbon to make a crown
a candle
White puffy balls
tiny eyeballs so your animals can see
felt: black with sparkles to look like the night sky
a glue guns and glue
thin red ribbon cord for making the hangers
and probably a few more things.

Getting the book first is crucial to make a list.  Go to the Dollar store first, then Hobby Lobby for the rest.

Sebastian, Chase and Trey helped shape the tree and then it was time to make the ornaments. You want a tree big enough to hold all of the ornaments so don't skimp on the size.  Three foot is the minimum.

Oops, first we washed our hands.  I was sure to point out that if any fingers went into a nose, all arts and crafts instantly ceased and hands had to be washed again.  They were extremely cooperative!

We gathered all the things on a table and commenced making ornaments! ooOh, you need scissors too!  

Our first ornament was an already painted earth, so Trey added glitter to the land.  Did I mention you needed glitter?  Lots of glitter.  Green, gold, silver.  And yes, you will be finding glitter everywhere for the next six months.

Here you can see how the little wooden rectangle is used.  We swirled glue to make the tree and topped it with glitter.  And yes, the top came off the glitter jar but all was eventually well.  Did I mention glitter was found on our faces and hands and clothes all weekend? Sebastian added a scribble apple and the trunk was foam. The snake was cut to size. 

Trey added white puffy balls to Mr. Sheep.  I placed a tiny dab of hot glue and he carefully placed a puffy ball, pushing it down into the glue. "OUCH! It burned me!"  Next ball placed. "OUCH! It burned me!"  Next ball placed.  "OUCH!" and so it went.  But he never cried and Mr. Sheep was covered in puffs and was soon able to see with wiggly eyes.

We eventually finished the fiery furnace, ten commandments, dove and crown, Bethlehem town, Joseph's coat,  heart, Jacob's ladder and many more.  The kids were focused and  careful as they each took turns. 
Later, when Daddy was shown the results of their hard word, each child proudly pointed out exactly what parts they had made.  

Once all the ornaments were made, we used the glue gun and glued a ribbon loop to the back of each.  This is evidence that yes, Dacia does indeed make arts and crafts and I have no doubt will be wielding her own glue gun and perusing the aisles of Hobby Lobby in no time!

Once each ornament is dry, just wrap it up in tissue,  paying special attention to the book, and number them in the order they are revealed.  This will generally be the place you'll discover the ornament you inevitably forgot to make.  So just plug in the glue gun again and make that last ornament.  (it was the' wall' for us and Dacia did a great job! )  Now you're done!   Just put the tree and wrapped ornaments away and on December 1, read the first story and hang the first ornament.  You'll have a wonderfully interactive, fun, Christmas activity for years to come!


  1. Thank you so much for doing this for us! I highly doubt I'll be wielding a glue gun anytime in the near future, but I'm open to it if the occasion arises ;) This was a memory that the boys will have forever, and you will be at the center of it.

  2. Hi, Dana!
    My friends and I are making a Jesse Tree this year (like, now), and we wanted to know if you have a list of the ornaments you made...all 25...that we could model. Do you know if the book you recommend has step-by-step instructions for making the ornaments, or did you just create them yourself?
    Thanks for the help!