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Catholic Activity: The Tree Decorations

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Instead of traditional Christmas tree decorations, adding symbolic ornaments that reflect the family tree of Christ, or the Jesse Tree, are presented here.

DIRECTIONS

Tree decorations are another appealing family project. For the smaller children, there are on the market today simple cardboard tree decorations, gaily colored and ready to punch or cut out. In one family nearby, the little boys could not stop talking about "their decorations," even though they had done nothing more complicated than punching them out and hanging them on the tree. For older children there are limitless possibilities, and lately the popular household magazines have been full of ideas on "how to make" home decorations, as even the secular world becomes surfeited with the artificial and sophisticated baubles and longs for a "good, old-fashioned Christmas."

The Twelve Days of Christmas Kit contains patterns and directions for a set of meaningful, striking tree decorations to cut out and assemble. When these decorations are hung on the Christmas tree, it is transformed into the "family tree" of Christ, since each decoration is a symbol either of an ancestor of Christ, an Old Testament type, or a prophecy foretelling His coming.

Thus there are decorations like Noe's Ark, since Noe was a savior and the father of a new race, prefiguring Christ, the Savior who fathers a race of new men in the supernatural order, sheltering them in the ark of the Church. There is the "Sun of Justice," a favorite figure of the psalmist; there is the flower rising up from the root of Jesse, as Isaias had foretold in his prophecy of the Incarnation, and a dozen others. The "Jesse tree" as this very special Christmas tree is sometimes called, is becoming increasingly popular, and the making of the symbolic decorations is an opportunity for a meaningful, instructive family project. The illustrations at the left give an idea of these Jesse tree symbols. A brief explanation of each one is contained in the Kit.

Activity Source: Twelve Days of Christmas, The by Elsa Chaney, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1955