Today we started our third Christmas countdown activity. I know three probably seems like a lot, but as I've mentioned previously, I love countdowns, and I think this one is the most important one of all three.
I decided to do a Jesse tree with my family. For those of you unfamiliar with a Jesse Tree, it is Christian countdown activity, with a tree decorated with an ornament every day during advent. The ornaments represent an event leading to Christ's birth, starting with Creation. When I first came across this idea on Pinterest (pinned here, originally form here) I knew I wanted this to be a part of our family's future Christmas traditions. After all, it is way too easy to get caught up in the secular and material celebrations of Christmas. I want to make sure our family is focused on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. I just wasn't sure if Claire was old enough this year to participate.
Well, after a couple of weeks of deliberation, I decided to give it a go. I figured that, if nothing else, Claire could help make the ornaments (they are made out of paper) and hang them on the tree. Although we are 12 days into the countdown calendar, I decided today was the day to start catching up.
I went to the original site and printed their handy-dandy PDF file that has the description of the Jesse tree, the ornaments, and scripture readings for each day. Then, I cut out each ornament, and started Claire in on coloring the ornaments from the past 12 days.
Her attention span allowed us to get through 7 (which I felt was pretty good for 18 months). I made her do one more tonight, and I figure we'll finish catching up tomorrow. From there we'll do one ornament a day.
After Claire had colored the ornaments, I attached them to some Christmas-themed scrapbook paper using some good old Elmer's glue. I punched a hole in the top, and then tied a bit of striped baker's twine through the hole to make a hanger. (PS I have discovered a new-found love of striped baker's twine. I bought some on Cyber Monday from here and I'm looking for as many ways as possible to incorporate it into my Christmas crafts. :))
Then we read the scripture passages for the first two days, and hung the ornaments on the tree.
I'm excited about this new tradition. It's such a great way to learn about Christ's heritage, and to focus on our anticipation of the big day. Claire's obviously not comprehending it at this point, but I know I am benefiting from it, and I enjoyed the family time tonight. I'm so glad we started this today!
Jesse tree ornaments were not the only craftiness I got up to today. I made another centerpiece. Today's was a bit more sophisticated than my last one. When I was at Pier 1 the other day I snagged two boxes of these fall decorations on clearance:
Any other Jesse trees going out there? Anyone incorporating acorns and pinecones into their Christmas decor? I've got another pinecone project brewing, too. We'll see if it comes to fruition.