As my oldest son grows, I want to ensure that Christmas is a season when we focus on our faith; I want him to learn why we celebrate the season the way that we do.
In order to focus on this throughout the whole season, rather than just on Christmas Day, we have decided to begin the Jesse Tree tradition at our house. Basically, the Jesse Tree involves focusing on the “people, prophecies and events” preceding Christ’s birth. One reads a passage of scripture and then hangs an ornament on a special tree to symbolize the person or event read about.
Last year I researched the idea and printed free printables. We colored the ornaments and hung them on sticks we gathered and placed in a vase. It was a bit last-minute and rushed and didn’t last the whole holiday season as we traveled to visit family overseas.
However, this year I knew I wanted to do it properly, so I planned ahead and ordered some beautiful felt ornaments from the seller BabyWhatKnots on Etsy.com. (I was even able to catch them on a sale sometime in October, I believe.) The ornaments arrived in good time and were of excellent quality.
Since I wanted to ‘up my game’ from the sticks in a vase, I asked my husband to make a flat wooden tree to hang on the wall. Instead, he decided to create a beautiful driftwood tree. I couldn’t be happier with the little driftwood tree and with the beautiful felt ornaments.
After we unwrap and read our Christmas book for the evening, we pull out The Jesus Storybook Bible, find our ornament, read the story and hang the ornament on the tree. My son loves reading the story, discussing the meaning of the symbol on the ornament, and of course, hanging the ornament on the tree.
The beauty of this tradition is that it can be done for free, using a free list of readings and free printables, or you can choose to invest in some ornaments to use annually and to pass down to your children. (You’ll find links to free resources for the Jesse Tree at the bottom of this post).
No matter the quality of materials used, the tradition holds great meaning. These moments – focused on our faith and our family – are creating memories and traditions that I hope will stay with my children throughout the years.
Now, it’s your turn. How do you celebrate Advent, or what special traditions do you have at your house during the holiday season?