Tuesday 8 November 2011

100 days to Christmas | Jesse Tree advent

Today's guest post is from Melissa, who blogs over at Remember to Breathe.

When I was growing up we always had a chocolate filled advent calendar. You know the ones ... cardboard doors that you open to reveal a compound chocolate treat. There were four of us kids which meant every fourth day it was our turn to open up the door and gobble the treat. When I had kids of my own I wanted to restart the Christmas countdown. The first year we had an advent calendar I found a fun one which had stickers that you stuck on a background until finally by Christmas you had a full nativity scene. Following that we had a few lazy years of supermarket advent calendars until I pulled the plug because the majority of them were Bart Simpson or Barbie themed.

Finally, a few years ago, I stumbled across the Jesse Tree concept, which explores in broad brush strokes the story from creation to Jesus using a passage from the bible each day along with a decoration to hang on a tree that represents the story. It was just what we were looking for. To halt the grumbling I added in a pick from a lolly bowl while we were all discussing the stories. My first Jesse Tree consisted of a branch from the garden in a ginger pot and paper decorations printed from the computer.

The next year, inspired by all the cute advent calendars on the web, I decided to make our own. Now for me to complete a craft project, it needs to be easy and quick and I had seen the perfect idea ... socks on a string. By happy coincidence target was having a sale on socks and my local store had multipacks of red, white and green socks. Add some string, some wooden pegs from the Reject shop and we had a calendar. I decided to fancy it up a  bit and used my hot glue gun to stick on some stars I cut out of red felt but that is entirely optional. Use a texta to write the numbers 1-24 on the pegs and hang it up and your done. Inside the socks I put a lolly for each member of the family and the bible verses for each day. I loved it then and now four years later I still love it and can’t wait until we pull it out again.

Last year our kidschurch put out a list of readings for the Jesse Tree (the first time they’ve done that) and so we followed them but didn’t make or hang any ornaments because we moved in December and hanging the socks was about all I could manage.

This year I will be pulling out my trusty row of socks, I just have to work out where we will hang them in the new house. We will also be following The Jesse Tree Advent Celebration which is available as a free download on AnnVoskamp’s Blog: A Holy Experience. So as you can see our advent traditions are evolving year by year. The socks are definitely here to stay and I would recommend them as very easy and just a fun, bright and cheery addition to the Christmas season.

Do you count down to Christmas? Are your family traditions settled or are you still trying to find the things that your kids will remember when they’re grown?



  1. The Chosen One's grandparents gave us a beautiful German wood advent calendar but not having grown up with the tradition I wasn't the best at following through. The boys were always on me to add things or have them open the doors.

  2. We have a couple of Advent trees ...I never buy the chocolate ones from the supermarkets!
    Alison xx

  3. Melissa I loved your advent calendar when I first saw it on your blog and still love it. In new zealand I can't seem to find those lovely bright socks like you have but this year I will go looking again and see if I can. I love your post

  4. Hi! I make Jesse Tree Ornaments and sell them in my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/acupofjoy

    I'd love for you to have a look.



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