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T he Jesse Tree Advent tradition is a journey through the stories on Jesus’s family tree. Each day, you hang an ornament on your Jesse Tree to symbolize a different Bible story about one of Jesus’s ancestors, until you reach the birth of Jesus on December 25. There are many different ways to make a Jesse Tree. You can keep it simple or get creative! Here’s a few ideas we suggest trying.

Give a tree branch new life

Choose a tree branch without leaves that has a main branch with lots of smaller branches attached to it. The tree branch should be about two to three feet long. Place the branch in a bucket of dirt or rocks and cover the bucket with green fabric, felt, or paper.

Make a mobile

Make a mobile using a tree branch. Use fishing line to hang the branch from the ceiling. You’ll need to make sure the symbols are balanced when you hang them on the branch so that the branch will remain level.

Fashion your tree from felt

Use brown felt and cut out a tree with branches. Glue it to a piece of green felt, 24” x 36.” Glue on small wooden pegs to hang the ornaments. Or put Velcro® on the backs of the ornaments for attaching to the felt Jesse Tree.

Cut a tree out of paper

Take a piece of brown construction paper (24” x 36”) and cut out a tree with branches. Then glue it to a 24” x 36” green poster board (construction paper would be fine, too). If you only plan to use this for one year, you could glue on the ornaments each day. Otherwise, you could use poster putty to hang the ornaments. 

Make the ornaments into a tree

Arrange the Jesse Tree ornaments into the shape of the tree. Just as Jesus’s family members make up his family tree, you can build your Jesse Tree with the stories it symbolizes. Cut out your ornaments and arrange them in the shape of a tree. You could mount them on construction paper, a bulletin board, or your fridge.

Use a table-top artificial tree

A table-top artificial tree without leaves like this one from Amazon makes for a great Jesse Tree. The branches are perfect for hanging your ornaments year after year. This may also help you distinguish your Jesse Tree from your Christmas tree. 

Just use a Christmas tree

Repurpose or buy a small Christmas tree to use as your Jesse Tree. A small artificial tree works well for hanging Jesse Tree ornaments. You may even have one in your storage room already!

Here’s a 3-foot tall artificial spruce tree you can buy on Amazon

Making Jesse Tree ornaments

Obviously, no Jesse Tree is complete without ornaments. Check out our free printable ornaments that you can color and hang on your Jesse Tree. 

Bringing the Bible stories to life 

Daily devotions help keep your Jesse Tree tradition rooted in the story of Jesus. Our family devotions invite children into each day’s story and match the symbols you’re hanging on your Jesse Tree. We also have personal devotions for teens and adults. 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. However, we were not paid to review or recommend any of the links on this page.

Grace Ruiter is digital content coordinator for the Reformed Church in America. If you'd like to connect with Grace, her email address is gruiter@rca.org.