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DIY Jesse Tree: Creating a Family Advent Tradition

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What is a Jesse Tree?

After years of infertility and waiting to adopt our oldest, I longed to create family holiday traditions.  One particular tradition I wanted to start was using a Jesse Tree to tell the Christmas story.  For many people, telling the Christmas story each year means starting with Mary, the shepherds, or the manger, but the Jesse tree tells the Christmas story from the very beginning, creation.

Creating a DIY Jesse Tree - Start a new advent tradition


I want my children to see the Bible as one seamless story.  The manger was not “Plan B”, but was part of God’s plan all along!

God is glorified through this marvelous story as it shows His sovereign grace and mercy to an undeserving world.  Sin is part of the Christmas story.  This post is not a devotional about the amazing story of the Bible, but, if you want to read further, here is a great article about the story of Christmas starting at the very beginning.


Jesse Tree Resources


In planning this advent tradition, I utilized several resources for creating your own Jesse Tree.

I love these printable Jesse Tree ornaments because they include pre-colored and “color your own” sets! (There is also an available devotional. I have not read it, so, as with all resources, please use Biblical discretion).

Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs linked the Jesus Storybook Bible with each day of advent.  You can access the guide and check out the printables she uses by clicking here.

We currently use the Jesus Storybook Bible for our devotions, so we plan on using it for our advent devotions as well!  You can create your Jesse tree using sturdy sticks or you can purchase a small, table-top tree. Here is one similar to ours.


Example Jesse Tree


My DIY Jesse Tree


I purchased a small tree (similar) and woodcraft ornaments (similar).  I used Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs Jesus Story Book Bible advent schedule and wrote the date and devotional on the back of each ornament.  On the front, I painted the design using free Jesse Tree ornament printables as inspiration.  I sealed the ornaments with mod podge, but that might not be necessary.

Here is the finished product! We have been using this DIY Jesse Tree advent calendar for several years now.  Each night in December, we will read a section of our storybook Bible, and our children will get to hang the corresponding ornament on the tree.

Each story points to the coming Christ, and I can’t think of a better way to help my children keep their eyes on Jesus during the Advent season.


DIY Jesse Tree advent calendar

DIY Jesse Tree Advent Calendar closeup

DIY Jesse Tree Advent Calendar Ornaments


No Time to Make a Jesse Tree?

If you are already overwhelmed this advent season and the thought of creating your own DIY Jesse tree sounds like too much, there are many great pre-made resources!


What advent traditions does your family have? Have you ever heard of, used, or created your own Jesse Tree?


Creating a DIY Jesse Tree - Start a new advent tradition

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Hannah

    Oooooo I love this! What a beautiful idea, I would love to have some sort of tradition like this when I have children as well!

    1. Thanks! I was actually going to do it last year when it was just me and my husband but never got around to it. Very excited to start this year though!

  2. Emily

    This is fun AND beautiful! What a great way to get your kids involved in learning about Christmas. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I may have only shared some of my better ornaments, but I don’t think my toddler will mind how they look!

  3. Julie

    I love this idea! We had a Jesse tree a few years ago and it really helped us keep our hearts aligned through Advent!

  4. Alice Mills

    What a great tradition. I live when people use their creativity to celebrate holidays!

  5. Susan Evans

    I’ve done a Jesse tree a couple of times with my kids, and we loved it! We read a page for each ornament, some aspect about Christ. It helped us to focus on the fact that Jesus was born, and that’s what Christmas is about.

  6. Amy Hagerup

    What a great idea. It actually took me a long time to get to this post because I kept clicking to read your other stories that led up to this. We have two adopted children in addition to 3 biological kids. Praise God for each one.

  7. Melissa

    What a neat idea! We have a few Christmas ornaments that go through the story of Jesus’ birth. The kids enjoy playing it each day to hear what it says.

  8. Awesome! I’ve heard a few “WE do a Jesse tree” but now I actually know what it is! And can make one 🙂 thank you!

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