Creating the Mosaic Jesse Tree

Creating the Mosaic Jesse Tree.

I used to be an artist.

Praise and thanks to God who gave me the passion.  And the talent to go along with it.

In high school I honed my painting skills.

And in college I delved into drawing.

I even painted an undersea mural on our basement stairwell during winter break one year.

Then, after I got married but before I had kids (a very small window) I began this mosaic project.


I thought it would be a good idea to spend countless hours tearing paper into teeny tiny pieces then glue them back together on wooden ornaments to depict scenes from the Bible… This was the beginning of my Jesse Tree.


The Jesse Tree is my favorite Advent tradition.  Every day of December, we hang an ornament on the tree depicting a certain personage in Jesus’ genealogy.

Then, starting December 17, we peruse the O Antiphons: each celebrating a different name for Jesus.  A different way He fulfills the prophesies of the Messiah from the Old Testament.

We finish off with Christmas Eve and Christmas.  Days on which we celebrate the closeness of Jesus, the Light of the World, and the incredible joy of His Incarnation.

Every year, I feel the anticipation of swiftly moving through years of Old Testament history, ushering in the coming of the Messiah.

But the years spent handcrafting these ornaments were anything but swift.

Once my first child was born, the long afternoons dedicated to creating visual masterpieces were over.  My project quickly lost momentum, and I wondered if I would ever complete it.

But every year, as Advent approached, I would feel my motivation renewed and my enthusiasm and determination to make progress on my Jesse Tree returned.

So I’d pull out my cardstock and my modpodge, my rubber stamps and my India ink, and carve out a few minutes here and there to take baby steps towards completing my ornaments.


One year, disaster struck.  In a flurry of post-Christmas cleanup, I stored my ornaments incorrectly.  The summer heat rolled in and softened the glue on the completed faces.

As Christmas drew near, I was horrified to open the box to discover the ornaments fused together.  Hot tears rolled forth, and disappointment choked up my throat.  I thought I had lost years of dedicated work.

I cried out to Mother Mary and instantly felt a wave of calm and reassurance wash over me.  I spent hours coaxing the pairs of ornaments apart, softening the glue over a steaming pot of water.  By the end of the day tears were flowing again.  This time, tears of relief and gratitude to Our Lady for restoring my ornaments to me with minimal damage.

Finally, five years after my first sketch, the end came into sight.  My youngest was almost 2 years old.  She played independently for short stretches, and for longer ones with her 3 year old sister.  My oldest was 5, and had the patience and ability to help me.  He ripped paper, cleaned stamps, and opened string cheese for his sisters.

After 5 long years, I finished the project of my dreams.  I’m not gonna lie, a few more tears were shed.  Tears of love for the beautiful turnout of years of patient work.

I guess you could say I’m still an artist.

The masterpieces I devote most of my time to were sketched deep within my body.  Nurtured and molded every hour of every day.  And will remain unfinished until they meet their Creator in Heaven someday.  These masterpieces are my children.

They are my life’s work.

But every now and then, I squeeze in a few moments with my paint.  My charcoal.  My paper and glue.


I may be a little rusty.  And my work rolls at a snail’s pace.  But the joy of creating is worth every laundry pile left unfolded.  Every lost hour of sleep.  Every mess created by children unattended for a few minutes.

Purchase the Mosaic Jesse Tree

As excited as I am to display my completed Jesse Tree in my home every year, I’m even more excited to share it with you.

I transformed my ornaments a product available for purchase in my Etsy store. Each set includes 25 cardstock ornaments and a 6×9 booklet with scriptures, reflections, and prayers for each day.


The Jesse tree is available in two formats: one for the craft-enthusiast with some assembly required, and the other ready to hang.

Each day, add one ornament to your tree,  hang it from your stairway banister or across your mantle, or tape it to your kitchen window.

I hope you love this Mosaic Jesse Tree, and that it blesses your Advent as much as it blesses mine every year.  May your heart overflow with the joy and excitement of the coming of Christ!  Amen.

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Mosaic Jesse Tree Imprimatur


Read what other people think about the Mosaic Jesse Tree:

Catholic Wife, Catholic Life

These Jesse Tree ornaments, and the booklet it comes with, really makes makes it easy and do-able to prepare for Jesus’ birth at Christmas, little by little. And it’s beautiful!

Read Annie’s entire product review here: Preparing for Jesus Birth.

The Green Catholic Burrow

I’m really in love with this set and how simple it will be to try out this tradition in our home this year.

Read Desiree’s entire product review here: How (and Why) to start a Jesse Tree tradition this Advent.

Look to Him and Be Radiant

Her full color ornaments give an awesome impression of texture and depth through the mosaic symbols, and while I have seen many versions of the Jesse Tree, I am particularly excited that the images are simple, but not particularly childish, meaning that they will work for a K-8 display in my school and not be too complicated for the primary kiddos or dismissed by my junior high students.

Read Katie’s full review here: New Resources for Advent.

How to Upgrade and Preserve Your Mosaic Jesse Tree.

This post answers the most frequently asked questions about the Jesse Tree ornaments, such as:

  • How/where do we hang them?
  • Can we laminate them?
  • What’s the best way to preserve them?

And gives you my best tips for preserving your set!


22 thoughts on “Creating the Mosaic Jesse Tree

  1. Pingback: 4+ Amazing Advent Ideas – Catholics Online

  2. Annie Deddens, from Pray More Novenas, mentioned your work on her blog. After reading your story about the near disaster while the ornaments were stored during a humid summer, I knew I had to have them! I purchased the “need assembly” variety, and have mounted them on glittery dark purple card stock from Hobby Lobby. I might put the ones for the 3rd week on dark pink. Anyway, I love them and look forward to putting up my Jesse Tree this coming weekend. Thank you for your inspiring work!


  3. Pingback: Anticipating Advent - - Celebrating Catholic Motherhood

  4. Pingback: Waiting for Christmas: Advent Traditions My Family Loves | Life in Every Limb

  5. Pingback: How to Upgrade and Preserve Your Mosaic Jesse Tree – To Jesus Sincerely

  6. Hi,
    I read about these on the Catholic Wife, Catholic Life blog. Beautiful ornaments!
    Do these ornaments include the names and bible verse on the back like the original ones you made for yourself? Also, in the hope of preserving them year to year, could they be laminated ? I’m quite smitten with these.. Had looked far and wide for a set when my son was little. I hope to get some, but shipping to Canada adds a lot to the price, so will have to see. Thanks.


    • Hi Shelley! Unfortunately, the backs didn’t transfer very well to printed form, so the backs of the ornaments are blank. However, the reflection booklet includes an icon of the day’s ornament on the same page as the reflection, to make it easier to find the correct ornament for the day. As for laminating them… I’ve thought of it, but never tried it. The only problem I see is with the hole punched tab. Hole punching would break the lamination seal… unless you punched/cut out a bigger hole for the ribbon, laminated, and then punched/cut a much smaller hole so as not to break the seal. Thank you for your comments and your interest in the Mosaic Jesse Tree!


  7. Pingback: How and Why to Start a Jesse Tree Tradition this Advent | The Green Catholic Burrow

  8. Pingback: 100 Simple Activities for Your Family's Best Advent Ever

  9. Thank you for sharing your talent and thoughts! I so love the line youn penned “But the joy of creating is worth every laundry pile left unfolded. Every lost hour of sleep. “


  10. Very beautiful! And so are the ornaments! Thank you for sharing your witness and your talent! I will make some. ( I made a set several years ago but the symbols were only okay. These are wonderful!)


  11. This is absolutely fantastic! I am so excited for this – it’s fresh off everyone’s minds, and can easily be stored away for next year’s Advent, as we box up Christmas decorations! Awesome timeliness. 😀


  12. Your art is beautiful! I’d love to see more. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this lovely resource. This is perfect to print off and tuck away with the Christmas decorations for next year!


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