Toolin’ Up Tuesday: Jesse Tree Ornaments

Ok, so previously we’ve established that FishMama’s definition of “tool” is something that makes your job as MOM easier or better. Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about cleaning tools, kitchen gadgets, baby things.

This week, since it’s All Things Christmas, I wanted to talk about something that makes our Christmas better: our Jesus ornaments.

Several years ago a friend gave us a set of Jesse Tree ornaments. There are 25 ornaments in the set that symbolize and trace God’s promises of the Messiah and/or his lineage from Creation to the New Testament. It is called a “Jesse Tree” since Isaiah 11 refers to Jesus as the “root of Jesse.”

Most people have a separate Jesse Tree, often a branch in a pot. We have chosen to place our Jesse Tree, or “Jesus ornaments” as they’re called around here, on our Christmas tree, in order to make them central to our celebrations. It’s also a great way to start conversations when visitors ask why you have a fiery furnace ornament on your tree.

I wrap the ornaments individually on Thanksgiving weekend and mark them with the corresponding day of the month that we should open it. Then each day of December we open one little package and have a devotional time learning about that symbol.

We use this book as a starting point for our discussions. This has become a wonderful tradition in our home. It helps us keep our focus on the reason we are celebrating.

Most of our ornaments are the handmade ones that my friend got from a Jesse Tree ornament exchange. (I found a brief explanation of such an exchange here.)

Others, like the Lion and the Lamb pictured above, I have purchased during and after Christmas time when I see something that fits the theme.

Here is a great site that not only sells all sorts of Jesse Tree ornaments, patterns, and books, but one that also features accompanying activities and information. Their embroidered ornaments are just beautiful!

What says, “Christmas” at your house? What makes your celebration easier, happier, more organized, or just better? Share it on your blog and then come back here to post the link. (Don’t forget to invite your readers to stop by here!) If you’d rather, just share your “tool” in the comments section.

Everyone who participates will be entered in a giveaway for a special Sheila Howe Designs Holiday Package (pictured below). Contest closes on Thursday at 7 am CST. ONE winner will be chosen at random. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

So chime in and share what’s special at your Holiday Home!

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Comments

  1. Thrifty and chic mom says:

    Christmas in July I love it. This year my bible study is doing a Jesse Tree ornament exchange which I am very excited about. I also love making easy homemade goodies with my sister and or friends that then will be given out in pretty tins or bags(bought after Christmas the year before for pennies).These gifts are great for neighbors, co-workers and friends, plus everyone loves a good treat.

  2. Tiffany says:

    Where have I been? I’ve never heard of a Jesse Tree until your post. It sounds and looks great!!!! Any idea where I could find patterns/ideas on making the ornaments?

  3. Mama Koala says:

    I’ve never heard of the Jesse Tree–great post! My favorite Christmas tool is cookie related–

    http://www.koalamama.blogspot.com

  4. intime0 says:

    I dont have a blog. I have wanted to do a Jesse Tree for a while but just dont have the ornaments yet. My “tools” for the holiday are my advent activities. We put them in a box and draw out a new activity for each day. (I spend a couple hours on the saturday before advent starts organizing them.) We do things like, bake all day, make a craft for grandparents, serve our pastors family, do a puzzle. It makes the holiday season more special.

  5. Kristinia - Loving Heart Mommy says:

    The Jesse Tree idea is awesome! This has inspired me to start a Jesse Tree tradition with my family and for my kids (Gabriel’s 2 Christmas and it will be baby Helana’s 1st).

    Soo far since my children are soo young we don’t really have a tradition as of yet but my plans are to make their hands/feet onto contruction paper and clay and to string them as garlands around the tree each year so we can see how much they’ve grown. I’m sharing this idea here but I’m blogging later on this afternoon about this and will return with the post!

    But a tradition I have kept going from my childhood and now to my family is the sugar cookies every Christmas!

    phillipsonlygirl at gmail dot com

  6. Briana Almengor says:

    I’m glad you’re doing this now..very smart of you. It’s forcing me to plan ahead when I typically cannot see past today. :)

    Hmm…I’m not the queen of organization. I keep things rather simple here, meaning don’t have a whole lot of clutter and don’t go all out with gifts.

    What’s helpful: green and red bins for my christmas decorations and I limit myself to 2 bins. If I buy more things or receive them, I have to get rid of other things in order to make room in the bins I have. I won’t buy more bins for more stuff…this keeps clutter at a minimum.

    Also, I love using fresh greens every year if I can come upon them. I don’t have to store these and I just love bringing the outside indoors esp. in the winter when getting outside happens less often.

  7. Courtney says:

    I’ve been searching to create our own holiday traditions. I like this one: we make a paper chain of twenty-five links. On each link we write the name of a friend, family or cause. Each night in December, we break a link and pray for that person/issue. It’s a good countdown to Christmas that keeps us focused on others, rather than the chocolates/candies in the advent calendar (not that I’m opposed to chocolate…).

  8. I try to ‘adopt’ someone else to buy gifts for through a non-profit – last year was some tween girls, once a single mom and baby, once a senior…

  9. Keeping the focus on the coming of the Savior is my tool for keeping Christmas simple and delightful.
    Last year, a dear friend gave us the Proclamation Ornaments from Adrian Rogers’ ministry. We put up a 3 foot artificial tree on top of our piano, and called it our Messiah tree. We did a new ornament and corresponding devotion every night .
    Just the other day, my 6 yr old was talking about something he learned from one of those devotions. I can’t wait to do it again!
    Dawn

  10. Butterfly Beauty says:

    We also do christmas in july! i used to think my mom was nuts for doing it but we always had a good time with it!

    One tradition we have is to find baby jesus (my mom hides him from the manger scene) and sing him happy birthday before we do any presents to remind ourselves of the real meaning of christmas plus its always fun to see who finds him first!

    we also did an advent calendar with tootsie rolls and someones name on it to pray for that person that day and it gave the kids a treat!!

  11. I have never done Christmas in Julye! But last year after Thanksgiving, we got out every book that we had that was Christmas or Winter related and put them in a separate basket. Then every night we would read from those books instead of our normal collection. And finishing with “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. I also try to instill in the kids that this isn’t just about getting presents. It is about helping those that are in need. We always donate to the local charities and all the girls pick out gifts to donate to our tree at church.

    As for oranizing, I do love Christmas but keep my decorations to a minimum, keeping mostly with natural items as well. We do a big tree though with lots of homemade ornaments, my mom even kept mine from when I was little. The kids get a kick out of that!

    JZ

  12. hipmama says:

    I’m an industrious cooker baker come Christmastime. My favorite and most useful tools are my Silpat mats. No greasing of sheets, and cookies come right off. Super easy clean up too!

  13. Rich, Stacey & Lillian says:

    I posted about my favorite Christmas “tool” on my blog http://richardandstaceybrill.blogspot.com/2008/07/toolin-up-tuesday.html

  14. Sheila’s cards are really cute!! And the Nativity one is really pretty. I’ve never heard of Jesse tree before you either. I have heard of Jotham’s Journey. That’s advent too isnt’ it? So far, we do a Nativity calendar where you read the story and stick the little corresponding symbol (star, sheep, wise man) to the corresponding day. The kids love it, but as they are getting older, it’s not enough I think. They would love something more–they really like the symbolism around Christmas if I can just get organized enough to point them to it! :)

  15. Mrs. Pear says:

    I think what makes ours easier is we basically do the same things each year, so we all know what to expect!

    I even have a baking list I follow every year! I may try a couple new things each year, but the core ones are always there! Including making buche de noel Christmas Eve morning.

    Also, I think the rule that Christmas shopping is done by Thanksgiving helps too (except for those few things that are online purchases like books that are being released early december!)

  16. I like to buy my cards after Christmas when they are cheap. I address them and sign them and when Dec. rolls around(always to fast)I add a recent family picture and news letter and mail them. It is like a gift to myself to have the cards already addressed.
    When we start recieving cards we display them and leave the empty envelope on the table in a basket to pray for those people at dinner time.

  17. I have bought an ornament every year since my husband and I married and a new ornament for each year of our children’s lives. Last year our oldest made an ornament at preschool…it has to be the BEST ornament ever and I cannot wait for more of those little treats to come. Last year I made stockings for my little ones that especially fit their favorites. And we made our own Jesse Tree from a bulletin board tree that we laminated. We printed ornaments and laminated them too. It’s wonderful!
    Shae

  18. My Christmas tool is making a list, for gifting, food, baking, candymaking…

    Lists are a beautiful thing!

  19. Jen Clemmer says:

    To try to stay organized . . . I set a goal to be wrapped and bought by December 1st. I try, try, try to be decorated by then as well. Then all that leaves me to do in December is the fun stuff like cards, cookies, and enjoying my boys. Lists are a beautiful thing!

  20. We love Christmas in our home! We know Christmas is here the day after Thanksgiving- while everyone is shopping, we spend a family day doing our tree, caroling, making cookies & fudge, and snuggling. We celebrate Christmas all year long! The Jesse Tree looks amazing! I love it!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] busted out our Jesse Tree ornaments this morning and we’ve got a new book to read through this year. I’m looking forward to [...]

  2. [...] put together this fun Christmas Countdown to do with my kids. It’s in addition to the Jesse Advent Tree we do. One is spiritual, and the other is just silly fun. (I think the two can [...]

  3. [...] done Jesse Tree ornaments almost every year for fourteen years. At first we had a separate Jesse Tree. But, it works best for [...]

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