Last year, I decided that I wanted to start an advent tradition with our family. I didn't really know what it was until reading about it on numerous blogs and decided it was a wonderful idea. I decided to go with a Jesse Tree, which involves a daily ornament. Each day, beginning on December 1st, you read a devotional with your family and then hang the symbolic ornament on the "Jesse Tree". I loved the thought of spending the entire month seeing how the entire Bible leads to Jesus, especially when so much focus is on gifts, shopping, and Santa this time of year. There are a billion different versions of the Jesse Tree or Advent Calendar, but I liked the one from Life Rearranged the best. (Definitely go to her link if you want this version of the Jesse Tree explained in detail). I tried doing a free printable version last year. It was way too complicated for a two year old, and the paper ornaments fell apart by the end of the season. With this version, you use real ornaments. I loved the thought of using the same special ornaments every year.
I chose the same Advent book as Life Rearranged, which can be found here. Since I am using real ornaments, I knew this was going to be a pricey new tradition. However, knowing that I am buying these ornaments once and will have them forever made it easier to purchase. I am still a thrifty shopper though, so I kind of tried to keep the rule that I wouldn't spend more than $10 on one ornament. I also spent a lot of time on different websites looking for ornaments. I still have quite a few to get, but wanted to share what I have found, where I found them, and how much I spent if you wanted to get started on your own Jesse Tree. There were a couple that I found at specific places or was given, but I thought the others could be a help.
Ok, I hot glued this ladder from a branch that was outside. Not beautiful by any means, but it works and saved some money!
Yeah, this ornament was made after Delaney said "ornament time!" and I realized I didn't have an ornament for that night. I cut a piece of fabric, hot glued, and threw some foam circles on it that were laying on the counter from a snowman craft. I didn't even add a ribbon yet, so she just "stuck" in the tree. Not my best work, but again, it was cheap and actually looked cute on the tree.
This was my favorite find. It was a plain white plaster ornament on a ribbon hanging in the craft DIY section at Micheals. Delaney had some watercolors on the table, so I used a little bit of black watercolor to give it a gray look and just wrote the numbers with sharpie.
The wheat was in the floral section and it was a huge cluster of wheat. I obviously cute it down, but it is still a little large.
11. NEED- a slingshot (when searching, I got a good laugh about the possibility of this one)
My mom brought this over and said "I thought you could make something similar to this for your Jesse Tree. I made these for Sunday School".
My response was "um, can I have that one?" and it was done.
16. NEED- a lamb and a shepherd's staff
So, I obviously had the materials for this since I make hand stamped jewelry and ornaments. However, I need a disclaimer to explain that I stamped this at 8pm in the dark in about 20 seconds. I didn't want you to think my stamping is normally that crooked, but for my kid, it will work:)
So, I modeled the fiery furnace after one I saw online, but now I can't find it to give it credit. In the Christmas village section at Michaels, they had a roll of stone and a roll of brick, to make pathways for your village. I cut it, hot glued it, and threw some red tissue inside.
This was from the same Christmas village packet. Yes, I was too lazy to cut a hole and put a ribbon on it. Next year, people.
Let me know if you have suggestions for the ornaments that I don't have yet. I think I will have to make quite a few and use paper printouts for this Christmas. I wanted to have them all ready for this year, but I would rather take my time and make sure the ornaments turn out well.
*Update 1/2/14- I was able to make a lot of the ornaments very quickly, in time for each night. It was a huge hit with our daughter. She is 3 1/2 and looked forward to her "ornament" every night. I don't think she really understood the devotions and I don't think they sunk in, but the point was to just introduce her to these Bible stories and help explain why we are celebrating Christmas. We have a small 4 foot tree, which became our Jesse Tree. Here is a picture of our finished tree: