i should be mopping the floor: Hosting a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Hosting a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange

This post for a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange contains affiliate links. I make a small portion when these links are used, at no additional cost to you.

If you're ready for a unique scripture-based ornament exchange, a Jesse Tree may be just right for you. I've both attended and hosted a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange and they're so inspirational...and create a lifetime of Advent memories for your family. See how to host one of these below.

Ornament Exchange
First off, you're probably wondering what a Jesse Tree is, right? A Jesse Tree is an old Christmas tradition. Jesse Trees can be used to help tell the story of the Jesus and His lineage from creation to His birth. See how it works below.

A Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange

Jesse Trees are based on Isaiah 11:1-4:


"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD-- and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth."


Jesse Tree Tradition

How Does a Jesse Tree Work?

After a Jesse Tree ornament exchange, every party-goer brings home 25 unique ornaments for their family to use throughout the Advent season (December 1-25). They also bring home a scripture sheet, scripture cards, or a book of the scriptures that correlate with the 25 ornaments and 25 days.

Once Advent begins, families can use their ornaments every day on their own Jesse Tree. Personally, my family uses a smaller, inexpensive fake tree as our Jesse Tree. It's situated in our kitchen, since we have Jesse Tree time with our dinner. On day one, we find the day one ornament and read its assigned scripture as the ornament is placed on the tree. Then we repeat daily. Friday, I'm sharing the free scripture cards to go with your Jesse Tree (or grab my previous set here, but keep in mind it was for a 24 day Jesse Tree). 

The actual ornaments are always a favorite part of a Jesse Tree. And a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange is the perfect way to acquire these ornaments. Hosting one is fun and not too overly stressful, either. The hardest part is making 25 of your ornament you signed up for. This is a great activity to do with church friends, prayer groups, or in your community.

Planning the Ornament Exchange

I went a fairly simple route when I hosted my own exchange. I had attended a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange previously and fell in love with the concept (my family has been doing it for a number of years now and my teenager sill enjoys this part of Advent).
  • Ask around. I gauged interest on Facebook if anyone was interested in attending a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange. When I had a bit of interest, I started a Facebook group for the event and all of our communication leading up to the party. I encouraged friends to invite friends and it filled up quickly from there.
  • Plan early! There is a bit of time involved when every party attendee is required to craft 25 ornaments (all the same). Start planning in October (or even earlier) and host your party in November. The original party I attended was Thanksgiving week, but I did mine a bit earlier than that (only because I host Thanksgiving every year and didn't want to pile too much on).
  • Your first priority is to assign your ornaments to all who have committed to attending. The first ornament exchange I attended assigned these to everyone...I decided to let everyone sign up for what they wanted. It's whatever you want to do. Below, I've provided a free printable sign up sheet for you (perfect to hang at your church). I also included the actual text for it below the printable, if you want to copy and paste it online for sign ups. When I did my party and all of our communication was through Facebook, I created a Google Doc for sign ups and shared the link in the group (I pinned it as the top post in the group since everyone referred back to it often). Grab the list or text below:
Jesse Tree Printables
You can download the above document for your signs ups here. If this link doesn't work for you, try this alternate one here.

Again, if you're doing online sign ups, feel free to copy and paste the below text to use (I highly recommend Google Docs):

DAY ONE: The Alpha & Omega (Revelation 1:8)- 
DAY TWO: The Father, Son, & Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19)- 
DAY THREE: Love (John 15:17)- 
DAY FOUR: Creation (Genesis 1:1)- 
DAY FIVE: We Believe (1 Thes 4:14)- 
DAY SIX: Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1)- 
DAY SEVEN: A Sign (Isaiah 7:14)- 
DAY EIGHT: In God, I trust (Psalm 56:4)- 
DAY NINE: Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)- 
DAY TEN: Mary (Matthew 1:18)- 
DAY ELEVEN: Joseph (Matthew 1:24)- 
DAY TWELVE: A Manger (Luke 2:7)- 
DAY THIRTEEN: No room in the inn (Luke 2:7)- 
DAY FOURTEEN: Shepherds (Luke 2:18)- 
DAY FIFTEEN: Angel (Luke 2:9-10)- 
DAY SIXTEEN: Baby (Luke 2: 11-12)- 
DAY SEVENTEEN: Heart (Luke 2: 18-19)- 
DAY EIGHTEEN: Magi (Matthew 2:1-2)- 
DAY NINETEEN: Star (Matthew 2:2)-
DAY TWENTY: Worship (Matthew 2:11)- 
DAY TWENTY-ONE: Gifts (Matthew 2:11)- 
DAY TWENTY-TWO: Nazarene (Matthew 2:23)- 
DAY TWENTY-THREE: Light of the World (John 8:12)- 
DAY TWENTY-FOUR: God gave his Son (John 3:16)- 

DAY TWENTY-FIVE: God’s Powerful Word (The Bible)- 

Creating the Jesse Tree Ornaments:

While this part can be intimidating, it need not be. Not everyone is crafty, and that is totally okay! This is about the experience. There is something very special and sweet about having 25 scripture-based ornaments that were all handmade by 25 different people. These ornaments were lovingly put together and prayed over...and my family gets the privilege of using them year after year. 

In my communication with party attendees, I shared online resources for ornament ideas that they could duplicate. You're welcome to share and follow my Jesse Tree Ornament Pinterest Board here for ideas and inspiration. But, what's really fun is when folks come up with their own ornament design. I have shared all 25 Jesse Tree Ornaments from my party to inspire you and your bunch. Find them here (there's a preview below!).
 
Jesse Tree Ornament Ideas

Simple Ornament Guidelines 

  • There truly aren't many rules for the ornaments...that way people can really get creative!
  • But, do require your attendees to make sure the day number is somewhere on their ornament. 
  • While optional, I love it when people include their name on their ornaments. To let you know, many people don't like to do this (some don't love their creations in the end, and that's okay).
  • It's also optional to include the scripture on the ornament somewhere (if there's room).
  • And be sure to have a hanger of some type on each ornament.
  • The only other guideline is that all 25 of the ornaments they create must be the same and based off of their assigned scripture. 

Ornament Labels
Above, you can see how some of my party attendees labeled their ornaments. Again, see all of the ornament details here.

The Ornament Exchange Details


  • As the hostess, try not too overload yourself too terribly much since hosting 25 people can be overwhelming. I provided paper plates, napkins, cups, and beverages for our ornament exchange, but all of the attendees brought the food.
  • I highly recommend keeping it simple. We did appetizers and sweets and kept it to finger foods. I did a simple last name assignment a couple of weeks in advance: (A-M: appetizers, N-Z: desserts). Y'all...we still had more food than we could eat! And everything was delicious.
  • Have a friend or two arrive early to help with set up. My friend, Bonnie, and her daughter came and helped me get everything ready. My son and her daughter helped receive and set up all of the ornaments when everyone arrived.
  • You may have to get creative with where you set up your ornament area. We got lucky since our sunroom is practically empty. I set up long tables with cheap plastic tablecloths (like these from Amazon).

Jesse Tree Party

  • You can see the set up from the ornament exchange I hosted above. We laid out the ornaments in order of their day they corresponded with.
  • When everyone arrived, they gave their container of ornaments to our two helpers who went and set them up on the designated tables (which were kind of out of the way. It's neat when everyone sees all of the ornaments laid out for them...kind of fun to have them somewhat "hidden" until it's time to collect them). The party goers ate and mingled while the ornaments were being arranged.
  • At the previous party I attended, the hostess used her bedrooms for the ornaments and had them laid out on the beds. Another option is a garage (weather-permitting). 


Jesse Tree Organization

  • I also provided the above bags for everyone to take their ornaments home inside (along with a printout of the days and verses to use all season...pop in tomorrow for a new set of those!). While these bags were super cute for the party, a lidded, plastic tub like this one is more practical for the year-round storage aspect.
  • You can also find the free printable tags I used on our bags here.


Jesse Tree Love Ornament
Above is what the new cards I've created for your Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange look like. They'll be available for free tomorrow. 

The Party


  • There is no rhyme or reason to how you want to structure your actual party. I had a lot of folks who didn't know each other, so I kept it casual and unstructured. We prayed, ate, I explained the Jesse Tree concept, handed out bags, and everyone collected their ornaments. It wasn't as mundane as my explanation, but I kept it simple.
  • At the previous party I went to, we each introduced ourselves and told a bit about the ornaments we created. I actually had a friend beg me to not make her speak, so I just did most of the talking at the party I hosted...I totally get that!
Jesse Tree Party Ideas
A friend snapped the above picture of me from last year's ornament exchange. I tend to talk with my hands, y'all. I was giving the explanation of how it all worked.

Again, my favorite part of these parties is when all of the guests are ushered into the ornament area...and see the magnitude of their creations all laid out (and all of the neat ornaments they get to take home!). There is always a bit of an audible gasp and lots of oooohs and ahhhhs. It's pretty special. We'd all just spent the previous days or weeks crafting these ornaments...seeing it all come together is super sweet! If you have questions or other ideas on hosting a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange, let me know in the comments (I try my best to respond within 24 hours).


Hebrews 4:12 Ornament

More Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange Resources

  • You can see the original ornaments from the first Jesse Tree exchange I attended here.
  • And see all of the ornaments from the party I hosted here.
  • Follow my Jesse Tree Ornament ideas Pinterest board here.





2 comments:

  1. I am very glad that I have come across to your blog because you have shared a one of a kind blog which has all the things in a very pleasant manner. The information you shared here is unique and informative which is very rear to see nowadays. I would have missed the useful information if I didn't find your site.
    So keep on sharing hope to see more from you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE this! I have several themed trees in my house and this is an amazing idea and way to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

    ReplyDelete