Jesse Advent Tree – December 1

I love all of the fun Christmas traditions of trees and lights and yes, even Santa Claus.

I believe those all have their place…

and that place should be squarely second in line to the REAL meaning of it all.

What makes a Jesse Advent different is that rather than a simple piece of candy to eat every day in countdown to Christmas, you open an ornament that symbolizes that day’s devotional…

And by the end of it, you get through the Bible and it culminates with the birth of Jesus.

The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

Now, most Jesse Advent doohickys are trees…you hang the ornament on a mini tree…but I didn’t want a tree.

Most Jesse Advent ornaments are either paper cutouts or crafty things you make with your kids (i.e. cotton balls and googly eyes to make a lamb)…

But I wanted the ornaments to last for a long time…so I decided to buy REAL ornaments for each day.

If you want to do it this way, I give you some advice: prepare to spend a lot of money and start EARLY.  You’d be surprised at how hard it can be to find the ornaments you need.

And yes, it gets pricey.  Pretty ornaments can be fairly expensive…especially when you need 25 of them.  But, I adore how lovely it all looks and that it should last a lifetime.  For me, (a self proclaimed cheapskate), I don’t mind spending the money knowing that a tradition is made…and when the kids are older with their own families, I will split up the ornaments and get them started on their own Jesse Advent traditions with ornaments from their childhood.  Cute, right?

This is how we do it:

Clothespins, glitter and little kraft paper bags strung along a piece of jute twine stapled to the wall.

Not only do I prefer the clothesline look, but I also liked that the ornaments are in full view and in chronological order…telling the story visually too.  But you can do the tree if a long blank wall isn’t available.

We are using this book for our devotionals.  There are LOTS of versions of Jesse Advent Tree devotionals.  Each use different verses and use slightly different ornaments, so make sure you pick a devotional book and stick with it.  Especially if you’re buying real ornaments…or they might not match up.

(For example, some devotionals use the story of Jonah…so you would need a fish/whale ornament.  Other devotionals do not.  So if you change devotionals midway through, you’ll have a mish mash of ornaments.  Not that I did that or anything.)

December 1:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

I just hang the ornament on the outside of the bag…and they all line up along the wall in order.

You can click HERE to see all of my ornaments/days.


Would you prefer a free fifty free version?  Or maybe you don’t have time to find 25 ornaments before December 1?

Never fear!  The fabulous Ann Voskamp has a FREE downloadable e-book you can use…in it, she also includes pages that your kids can color and decorate to use as the ornaments.  If you prefer the idea of “real” ornaments, use Ann’s paper cutouts this year and collect ornaments next year!




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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    I have not heard of this before! Love it! I will have to look for ornaments after Christmas, and do this next year. If you ever have an extra 2 minutes:-) could you email me the list of ornaments you used so I can keep my eye out for them? Thanks!!
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Karson 9Months

    • 2

      the ornaments you use will depend on the devotional you use. some choose to use the story of jonah so you would use a whale ornament…others tell the story of david and goliath…so a whale wouldn’t do you much good…your best bet would be to pick the devotional you want to use and then use the list included there to collect your ornaments. if you want to use the same book i am, use the link i posted and click on “see inside this book” and flip through…the list of ornaments is there. :)

      • 3

        I see. :-) Thanks! I did just order the book. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Holiday traditions; and have been looking for a good one to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas.
        Kelly´s last blog post ..Karson 9Months

  2. 4

    This is totally awesome – thanks for sharing this great idea. My kids are little, too – but I think we can pull something together umm today!
    melissa´s last blog post ..Bye-Bye Binky

  3. 5

    I absolutely LOVE this idea!

  4. 6

    thanks for the link to anne’s sight. i think my heart burst just a little bit. i can’t quite contain christmas in my heart this year. it’s hard to describe.
    thank you from the bottom of my heart for having such a kind and generous heart. i feel like i need to rent some kids now. my kids are grown now… just in college. and won’t be home until mid december. we’ve always advented our way through the holiday, but not always with such purpose.
    i’m going to incorporate some of this even with just the hubs and me. who says you have to be a kid to do advent!!
    can’t wait to see how your story unfolds…
    purejoy´s last blog post ..PINT- the leftovers…

  5. 7

    Love this idea! I challenged my Sunday School class full of adults on Sunday to go outside their comfort zone and share with someone a little bit about the true meaning of Christmas this year. For example, instead of giving baked loaves of bread to your neighbors, give a little book or DVD about Jesus.

    And nice CRAFTY PANTS job!!

  6. 8

    Love, love, love this! I have been wanting to do a Jesse Advent deal and I really like the devotional you have chosen…will be looking to add that to our list of “will get”! I made an advent calendar a couple years ago that I love, my son loves and will continue to be used…it’s Mary & Joseph traveling through the “town” to get to the “stable” where, on that special day, “Mary, Joseph & Baby Jesus” come out and are placed on the calendar. If that makes any sense.
    I might do a make-do with what we have version of the Jesse one this year and start searching now for the ornaments for next year! :)

    Thank you for sharing this!

  7. 9

    Oh – LOVE this idea! Thanks!!
    Lindsay´s last blog post ..Baby Torture- er- Fun

  8. 10

    This is the first time I’ve heard of this and I am IN LOVE with it. We don’t have children yet, so I think I’ll take my time to procrastinate… er, acquire ornaments I truly love (although I understand this advent “tree” is good for adults, too). I look forward to seeing your ornaments for each day!
    Kara´s last blog post ..Holy good news- Batman!

  9. 11

    You have no idea how happy I am to see this post! I’ve been trying to combine a couple different advent calendars that I love to come up with something just right. I agree that Santa and lights and all the festivities have their place but I want our main focus of Christmas to be about the birth of Christ. I thought I had found something that was going to work for us but this is spot on perfect! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Kelly´s last blog post ..I Loved Our Thanksgiving Week

  10. 12

    We’ve been using the Jesse Tree devotional for the last 5 years, and each year I have been part of a different group of gals that got together and made one ornament 25 times, came together for a Jesse Tree exchange, and shared the ornaments with each other. Each year I have ended up with 24 of the GREATEST ornaments (plus my “OK” one.) Each one wrapped in creative ways with the number placed on it for easy identification. Katie and Tyler have gone through it enough times to know what’s coming- it’s so cool to have the Gospel story firmly embedded in their minds and hearts. They each take a turn unwrapping the ornament for that night and placing it on the tree. One question for you, my dear: why didn’t you join us in making them this year at Grace? All the cool moms were there. :-)

  11. 13

    i love the use of real ornaments and the clothes pins. i was going to start a jesse tree this year but i didn’t have a tree and really didn’t want a tree. this is great inspiration for next year. i have the printed ornaments but since we do a pretty intensive advent calendar {bible verse and then either craft, activity, or outing each day} i didn’t get time to put it together. now i can be on the lookout for ornaments at the end of this season and be prepared for next year.

    thanks for sharing!

  12. 14

    This is so cool Jeanette! Thanks for posting; I hadn’t heard of a Jesse Advent before either. My husband and I are just doing a little advent calendar plus advent wreath thing but I love this! I’ll have to do it when we have kids. :)

  13. 15

    DIE. I love this!!! Totally going to steal it next year :)
    Bianca´s last blog post ..the perils of christmas…

  14. 16

    I’m thinking I like this idea… Had my daughter and son still been alive and survived the womb *AND* birth, I’d have them “help” with the opening of ornaments. I might start doing this this year with my niece if my BIL and SIL are game…

  15. 17

    way cool! just pinned this for next year when little nugget will be a little older. :)


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeannett , Jeannett . Jeannett said: My Jesse Advent Clothesline is UP! So excited! […]

  2. […] Every year I do a Jesse Advent “tree”, and every year I get comments saying “I keep meaning to do this!  But now it’s too late/I don’t have time…NEXT YEAR!”  Well, if you’ve been meaning to put together some kind of Advent tradition, NOW is the time.  THIS is the year.  (You can see what my family does HERE.) […]