How to Make a Chrismon Tree
How to make a tree with ornaments that reflect the real meaning of Christmas.
A chrismon, a combination of the words "Christ" and "monogram," is a symbol that represents Jesus. The very first chrismon was the Chi Rho, a combination of the first two Greek letters of "Cristos," or Christ.
A Chrismon Tree is a tree decorated with such common chrismons as crosses, stars, angels, doves, fish ("icthus"), and triangles representing the Holy Trinity. Chrismon ornaments can be made from any type of material, whether paper, cloth, Styrofoam. The chrismons are often white and gold--white to represent Jesus' purity, gold to represent his sovereignty.
Below are simple steps for making a cardboard and felt Chrismon Tree:
- Pencil or Pen
- Black marker
- Newspapers or a workable surface
- White felt, construction paper, oak tag, plastic canvas, cloth, OR craft foam
- Gold decorative materials (some ideas include: fabric paint, glitter, sequins, beads, braid/cord, foil, etc.)
- Green felt
- Brown felt
- Draw various chrismon symbols onto the cardboard with a black marker. You can make 25 different ornaments or have similar ones. Click these links for patterns of crosses and other chrismon symbols. Make the last ornament different (e.g. a nine-pointed star to represent the `Star of Bethlehem', a manger, a fish or `icthus', or an angel).
- Cut out your cardboard shapes and trace them on your white material with a pen or pencil.
- Cut out your white chrismon ornaments and turn them over so the traced lines are not visible.
- Decorate your chrismons with an assortment of gold material. Use your imagination!
- Set aside your ornaments to dry.
- Next, draw a tree pattern onto cardboard. Make sure your tree is large enough to fit all your chrismon ornaments. Cut the cardboard.
- Trace the tree pattern onto the green felt with a magic marker and cut the felt.
- Cut a rectangle out of the brown felt for a tree trunk and glue it to the bottom of your tree.
- Cut 48 pieces of Velcro. Arrange 24 pieces of Velcro on the tree and glue them down. Make sure to place on piece of Velcro on the top of the tree. Glue the remaining 24 pieces on the back of each Chrismon ornament.
- Tape your tree on a wall or tape a string to the back of the tree to hang it up.
- For each day of the Advent, have children tape a new chrismon ornament on the tree. On Christmas Day, the last (and, if you choose, the most unique) ornament can go on the top of the tree. Merry Christmas!