How To Have a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange

Having a Jesse Tree to count down the day until Christmas is a beautiful and Christ-focused tradition for Advent! Once you have all the ornaments you need, you can use them year after year, making this a tradition that can be cherished for generations to come. Some families find it easier to arrange an exchange for crafting the ornament rather than making them all by themselves, and today I’m going to tell you exactly how to organize a Jesse Tree ornament exchange! Be sure to also check out how and why to start a Jesse Tree devotion in your home. 

How to host a Jesse Tree ornament exchange

Why Have A Jesse Tree Ornament Swap?

So the basic concept is that when you start a Jesse Tree, you need 25 ornaments. Collecting them is an investment since you can use them forever, but still, the process could quickly become expensive or overwhelming.

So the idea is… rather than making 25 different ornaments for your Jesse tree, you can craft the same ornament 25 times, then trade with 24 different families. Isn’t that brilliant?

Benefits of swapping Jesse Tree ornaments:

  1. You only have to design one ornament
  2. You only need supplies for one kind of ornament, making it easier to buy in bulk
  3. Mass producing the same ornament over and over is a LOT easier than making all different ornaments
  4. It builds excitement and community!
  5. It’s fun!!!

What If I Don’t Have Enough Friends That Want To Swap Ornaments?

First off, you don’t have to have 25 different people! If there are 12 of you, each of you could make 2 different ornaments and trade. If there are 5 of you, you can each make 5.

You can mail the ornaments! You can use various Facebook groups or online communities that want to participate in an activity like this and mail them to one central location. That person divides all the ornaments and sends them to their new home. Everyone can Paypal the money for shipping to the central person, and the central person doesn’t have to pay for any shipping in return for the extra work of re-packaging the ornaments. Kids love this type of pen pal activity! I have seen peg doll swaps organized this way as well.

How To Organize The Jesse Tree Ornament Swap

Your group needs to decide on a list of the ornaments you will be creating (as each set can vary a bit) and then post it on a sign-up site such as Sign Up Genius, or create a live Google Doc that everyone can edit, and email it.  The list of the ornaments needed will all be there, and people can sign up for as many as they need that are available.

Start early!!!! Jesse Trees begin on December 1, and you need to allow time for shipping! You also need to allow time for a few procrastinating moms to run a few days late lol. So choose your dates wisely.

Hosting The Jesse Tree Exchange

For any of you who are in town with each other, it can be really fun to have a Jesse Tree party where you exchange the ornaments! You may want an extra folding table for throwing this party. Set up a place for each ornament, such as a plate or a placemat, and as the guests arrive they place their Jesse Tree ornaments in their spot so there is 1 pile of each kind of ornament.

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Everyone attending the party should bring:

  • The ornaments they were responsible for making
  • A drink and/or snack to share so the hostess doesn’t have to provide food on top of having the clean her house lol
  • A container for their set of completed ornaments.

At some point during the party, everyone takes a basket or container of some kind and walks around, taking 1 of each ornament. For however many sets need to be mailed, the people at the party also take a container and make the sets for whoever has to ship them. That way if there is a problem with numbers you will know right away, and not leave too much responsibility on the person doing the mailing.

Jen from Balancing Beauty And Bedlam also has a fantastic post about hosting a Jesse Tree ornament exchange

Also, The Mac And Cheese Chronicles participated in a Jesse Tree ornament swap and she shares her ornaments and experience here

Or Hit The Easy Button… And Print Your Ornaments This Year

You can now print your very own set of Jesse Tree ornaments and be ready to start your Jesse Tree this Advent pronto! You can find my set of printable Jesse Tree ornaments here and the whole set prints in both black -& white AND in color. This way you can choose if your kiddos want to color their own set or if you want to print them Jesse Tree-ready. Your choice! Get your set now!

Printable Jesse Tree Ornaments


I hope this idea blesses your home! Happy Advent! 


  1. We did a Jesse Tree for the first time last year and loved it! We recycled all of our scratched CD or DVD's and printed out the symbols and glued them to the DVD's with some ribbon. It was fun. With my Faith Formation class we did the same, but glued on paper plates and made a tree shape with the plates on the classroom wall:)

  2. Thanks so much for the links!
    We will use Paper Dali's and put ours on a green, paper, kiddo hand, tree on the wall!

  3. Amy Caroline says

    Every year I try to do a Jesse Tree… maybe this year!! Thank you so much!!

  4. Fabulous, Lacy! This post has given me a few fresh ideas for our Jesse Tree. We've been doing the Jesse Tree for several Advents now and the kids love it, but I'm always up for improving what we already have. Thanks so much!

  5. Oh! Btw, I luv Jamie Jo's idea!!

  6. Thanks for mentioning Paper Dali!

    And, oooooooooooooooh, I really love those ideas. I need to get sewing with all those fab felt ideas!

  7. I was able to print some of the ornaments from Catholic Artworks before the link was removed, they really are beautiful! I added to that with a few I made, and some O Antiphon ornaments I designed with artwork from (post with pics on my blog.) I am so excited for Advent!!

  8. Great ideas! I'm hosting a Jesse Tree link up to gather Jesse Tree ideas from the blogosphere. Would you like to link up 🙂

  9. georgia kinnon says

    I love the jesse tree now it is so helpfull for my re project on the jesse tree

    year7(11 years of age)