Saturday, November 26, 2011

starting a new family tradition: our advent tree

For years I have wanted to figure out a meaningful way to celebrate Advent as a family. Last Christmas a dear friend gave me a book about how to make a "Jesse Tree." I knew right away that it was just the thing for us, but as usual, I wanted to customize it to express a more robust biblical theology. The book came with a paper tree and leaves to cut out, but I wanted a more durable version. I had no idea when I'd find time to make it, but I was poking around my mom's sewing room last Christmas and discovered she had all the supplies I needed.

Impulsively, I dove into the project and embroidered all the leaves with images from key Bible stories. Mom pitched in to help, using her superior sewing skills to sew my free-hand tree onto a backdrop, finish the edges and make loops to hang it, and finish the edges of all the leaves (Thanks, Mom!). On our drive up to the mountains and back I sewed on all the snaps (I didn't want to use velcro, because I was afraid the felt would get all fuzzy). I haven't planned out exactly which scriptures to read yet for each day, and what to say to the kids, but I have the first week ready so I can keep ahead of the game.

In hopes of inspiring some of you to attempt a similar type of project, I'm posting pictures of our Advent Tree. You could make one from paper, wood, quilted cotton, cardboard, or whatever material you enjoy working with. If your kids are particularly artistic (Denise!) then you could let them draw their own leaves and add them to the tree. Or you could order the book that gave me the idea in the first place. (There are other kits and ideas available on Amazon. Just type in 'Jesse Tree' and you'll see lots of options!) I'll post my devotionals one week's worth at a time so that you can try them out at your house.


  1. I can't wait to make ours! I've been waiting and waiting to have a kiddo to do it (ever since I saw these posts when you first wrote them) and now that I have Zeke it is the perfect time :) Thank you so much for sharing! Any adjustments to the verses/words/details since you posted these? I am excited to get started!

  2. Emma,
    I've been wondering how life is going for you guys. Thanks for commenting.
    So glad you're going to try this! I think I've made tweaks along the way as we've used this. Some of the passages are quite long, so you'll need to adapt as needed to fit your family's needs.