Celebrating Christmas with a Jesse’s Tree Party!Nov 17, 2023
Celebrating Christmas with a Jesse Tree Party!
Christmas so easily becomes clouded with the hustle and bustle of well-meaning holiday fun! There’s decorating, parties, gifts to buy, cards to get out, baking — so many things to get done in so little time. It’s easy to lose sight of why we celebrate.
Several years ago, my sweet friends Wendi and Alison put together a wonderful Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange Party. It was so much fun that I wanted to share it with you. I usually don’t send out Christmas posts in November, but this one has to go out early or you’ll miss out on all the fun!
Jesse Tree is the tradition of bringing a little advent to your Christmas season. It is the countdown to Christmas that takes you from creation to Jesus’s birth. It’s a little walk through the Bible for 25 days.
The tradition gets its “roots” from the verse in Isaiah 11:1 that says,
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."
How to Plan Your Jesse Tree Party
Invite: Invite 24 people to join in on the fun! Each person is responsible for making 25 ornaments based on their given day’s story (note that I'm counting you as #25). Realistically you can have more or less than 25 people. The number of guests will just affect how many ornaments everyone makes. We had a few ladies who were not able to make it to the party, so some people brought two sets of 25 ornaments.
Helpful Tip: I've included a sample sign-up sheet with a printable for a simple Jesse Tree devotion (see below). When you create your Evite, include a link to this post so your friends will get a feel for what the party is all about and get some ideas on how to create their ornaments. Plus they can decide whether or not to get a little tree or the book. (My friends linked to a blog post, too. It was helpful.)
Tree: First you need to decide what you want your Jesse tree to be: an actual mini tree or a poster board tree. This will affect your guest’s decisions on what to create.
Our hostesses decided to have everyone make ornaments for mini trees. Everyone was responsible for getting their own mini tree.
We have a small tree that I made for the first Christmas Steve and I were married. We couldn't afford a tree that Christmas, so I made one out of hangers and garland. Somehow it has survived through the years and is now our Jesse tree. (Our Christmas wish that year was for money to buy an artificial tree after Christmas to take advantage of post-Christmas sales. Thank you, Grandma Nida!)
Here are a couple of trees I found that might work well for your Jesse tree. Pre-lite ones are extra fun.
The Advent Book: There are a lot of Jesse Tree books out there. You kinda have to pick one. Each book has different stories they focus on for the 25 days. Many of them have overlaps like creation and the birth of Christ. All the books include those stories.
Once you pick a book divide up the stories among yourself and your 24 guests. I created the printable below to go along with my favorite Jesse Tree book. I will tell you that one of my goals is to write my own Jesse Tree devotion one of these days. Until I get to it, I hope you enjoy this book and the easy printable (again, below) I put together for you.
We used The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Lambert Smith. Here's a link to the book. What I like about this book is that the family devotions are just wonderful. There are suggestions for songs to sing, Scripture reading, and a little devotion that points the story to Christ. I own four Jesse Tree books, and this one is my favorite.
Side note: For added fun, HERE'S A LINK TO ALL MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOKS! One of our traditions has always been to read a different Christmas book each morning (or evening...if we get busy) as part of our countdown to Christmas.
Day of the party: Wendi and Alison had set up stations throughout the house for each ornament. Each station had a little tag with our names and the ornament we created on it. We enjoyed some wonderful worship time, a little Bible reading, prayer -- & then potluck and fellowship. We all walked around and admired each other's creativity.
Each person was given a bag to collect their beautiful little ornaments and a printable similar to the one below that I'm giving you. The printable helped us to make sure we got all of the ornaments we were supposed to pick up.
No time for a party or you just want to keep it simple?
One thing to point out is that you can plan a simple and easy Jesse tree celebration for your family. You don't need a tree or a party.
No Mini Tree: You can simply create a poster board tree and tape each ornament to the tree as you read through your devotion daily. There are tons of printables out there on Jesse Tree. You can print up ornaments online (check out Pinterest) and have your kids color them if you’d like. Then you can hang these colored ornaments on your poster board tree, around the house, or on your refrigerator. Honestly, just reading through the wonderful devotional is a great way to celebrate Advent. (*See my tip at the bottom for what my friend did for her "tree.")
No Party: If you do decide to use a tree, you can make your own ornaments for each day and turn advent into a fun art project. Then again, you don’t even have to make the ornaments yourself. There are several people on Etsy who can make cute little ornaments. I ordered my original ornaments through Etsy. The only problem I ran into was that the Etsy artist used a different outline than the book listed above and had ornaments that didn’t go along with any of the books I had. I just ad-libbed on those days.
No Book: Here’s the thing. You don’t have to have a book if you have a Bible. You can actually make up your own 25-day count down to the birth of Christ. Some go all the way to the cross. It’s up to you! The printable I created has several verses to read each day if you'd like to just use your Bible. I cut out a few of the random verses that the book suggests and added a few extra ones that go along with the theme. I still like the book, but the printable is a fun snapshot of the whole story and all the ornaments.
So, keep your Jesse Tree Advent-ure as simple or as elaborate as you'd like!
Ready to See How the Jesse Tree Ornaments Turned Out?
Everyone did such a great job! Remember you don’t have to make ornaments just like these. You can pick different stories or different elements of the story to create your ornaments. Also, remember that not every ornament was handmade. Just have fun and be as creative as you'd like -- or head to the store. No pressure!
Aren't they all so cute!! I hope you try to do Jesse Tree this year! We've just loved it. We've been doing it for a few years now. Last year we really enjoyed it with all these new fun ornaments that perfectly went along with our devotion book.
Let me know if you have done Jesse Tree or if you are going to try it out this year for the first time in the comments below! Can't wait to hear!
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