Saturday, November 21, 2009

Advent Saints Christmas Tree Ornaments

I had been thinking of some tangible way to recognise the saints throughout the advent season coupled with not being very happy with our christmas tree decorations. My dh says he likes to see a bright tree, FULL of colour.

So I thought up a craft that would meet both needs. ~ Creating a tree ornament for each day during advent, recognising the saints feast days, though I do alter slightly towards the end. Once the 'O Antiphons' come along (17th to the 23rd) I swap over to the O Antiphons as there are quite a few obscure saints right to the end and even though we will use our O Antiphon pointsettia wreath it will still be nice to have the O Antiphons represented on the Christmas tree.

At the very end (24th) my Sts Adam and Eve ornament that goes up Christmas Eve, their feast day.

Each ornament has a picture of the saint of the day and the letter that their name begins with.

I have just realised that I didn't make a Christmas Day ornament using the letter 'C' ! I'll make that soon and add it back into this posting at a later date. Though I have found the picture I will use (see below) it is a beautiful painting with Mary and Joseph presenting the Child Jesus to the shepherds, it is surrounded by the blackness of I'll paint the 'C' black and fill it with lots of silver stars, with one big silver or gold star!

I used the following:

MDF Alphabet cutouts (Spotlight and Bunnings sell these in Australia) ~ you can choose this larger size OR you could go for the smaller ones if space and and money are a bit more pressing, they will still look lovely small.

Then I went google image searching and found a nice image for each saint, preferably colourful if I could find one...most are. At the end of the post you can see the images I selected, click on them individually to enlarge and print. I printed them onto cardboard and then laminated them for strength and durability.

I bought a pack of acrylic tube paints in 18 colours to paint the individual alphabet cutouts.

The children had a fanastic production line going on while painting all of these cutouts, from youngest to oldest, they all got in and did their bit! We chose colours that complimented each picture in some way. When the alphabet cutouts were glued to the saint images, wood glue was used, but any good PVA glue would also work.

I had bought some cheap packets of glittery stars, images, balls etc. A lovely variety, some with christmas themes, some with birthday theme (you'll see why soon) and lots of different sized stars.

(You can click on any of the images to see at a larger size)

30th of November ~ St Andrew the Apostle. We took a few snowflake little cutouts and cut off the two side bars to create the traditonal 'St Andrew Cross'. Some of the decorations on the alphabet cutouts have some sort of symbolic meaning, some do not. At the end of the day, as long as they are decorative and eye catching, it doesn't matter if they are or not. We used super glue for sticking on the decorations, as it sticks almost instantly and you can use it sparingly.

1st of December ~ St Edmund Campion. The decorations on this cutout are not symbolic,.

2nd of December ~ St Bibiana. St Bibiana was an early christian martyr, so we used gold and red 'palm-like' cutouts to decorate the alphabet, representing her martyrdom.

3rd of December ~ St Francis Xavier. We used blue/green balls to decorate the alphabet as St Francis was a missionary who travelled the globe converting people to the faith.

4th of December ~ St Barbara. We used little birthday cake cutouts, because they have three candles on top, but to me, they represent St Barbara's love of the Blessed Trinity when she ordered the three windows for her tower. See how I placed the alphabet cutout? One illuminated manuscript scene can be seen through one part of the 'B' and another scene through the other hole.

5th of December ~ St John the Wonder Worker. This one we decorated with no symbolic meaning in mind.

6th of December ~ St Nicholas. We decorated more with colour in mind than anything else with this cutout.

7th of December ~ St Ambrose. We used ballon cutouts with this one, cutting the bottoms of them, making them look like two important symbols ~ a beehive (gold) and a mitre! (red)

8th of December ~ The Immaculate Conception. 12 stars are placed in the 'I' which is very symbolic to Our Lady.

9th of December ~ St Juan Diego. We used christmas tree cutouts and stars representing nature ~ the earth and sky that Juan would have had a great appreciation for as an Aztec.

10th of December ~ Our Lady of Loreto. We used christmas angels and stars as the Holy House of Loreto was transported through the air (stars) by angels. (the angels can be seen in the image as well.)

11th of December ~ St Damacus I. In this image of St Damacus he is surrounded by angels and so we used angels and stars on the cutout as well.

12th of December ~ Our Lady of Guadalupe. The cutout was painted in a burnt brown colour for the sunburst and golden stars for her miraculous starry mantle.

13th of December ~ St Lucy. Well, wouldn't you know it! I had little christmas candles in my christmas miscellaneous mix! So candles and stars it was.

14th of December ~ St John of God. We placed two red palm-like cutouts together to make a heart as the main feature on the 'J' as St John is the patron of heart patients, the rest was decorated randomly.

15th of December ~ St Nino. In this icon image there features an angel, so we decorated the 'N' with angels as well.

16th of December ~ St Adelaide. If you look closely at the image of St Adelaide and her husband, they both wear crowns that look very much like the little birthday cake cutouts used to decorate the 'A'! (click on picture for better details of the crowns)

I will do a separate posting of the 'O Antiphons' which start on the 17th of December and continue through until the 23rd. (These are now completed, and my posting is here.)

24th of December ~ Sts Adam and Eve. We used some lovely little balls to decorate the 'A' and the 'E' to represent the apple!

All that needs to be done now is a hole punch in each ornament, to enable some gold thread to feed through for hanging.

Not all are going to be hole-punched ~ with Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Damacus I, have their alphabet cutouts positioned so they peep just over the top of the laminated cardboard, so I can feed the gold thread through.

A couple may also need to have the thread firmly taped from the back since their alpahbet cutout goes up the top and over the center. (Sts Barbara, Francis Xavier and Edmund Campion.)


Gae said...

Dear Anne,
A wonderful idea.
We are actually going to make canndle representations for our Saints of Advent ( we will do one each day of Advent)
On each individual candle we will cut out or mould a candle wax representation.
Once again you have done a great job and thank you for sharing.

The Academy of the Good Shepherd said...

Wow! Anne, you are amazing. These are beautiful!

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Gae, I'd love to see your candles, have you blogged about them in the past at all?

Gae said...

Dear Anne,
No I haven't blogged on them as I haven't had my blog for an Advent/ Christmas season.
I have so much I want to share but am finding it hard to find time to share everything I want to.
I will share on the blog when we do them if you want to check in at all.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

That's right..time flys, it seems like longer...I look forward to following your advent postings Gae, I know I'll enjoy them and be inspired!

Anonymous said...

These are great!! One week to go before Advent, I can't believe it. I am finding no time at all at present to plan, so tomorrow I am going to offer a couple of hours - you have inspired me!
I may get a Jesse Tree up and going for the first time this year. We made a lot of ornaments for one last year but didn't get them finished in time - story of my life of liturgical living .;)
I have been looking at making an Advent notebook to keep ideas organized and on track, it may be just what I need, and you never know my poor neglected blog may get a post on it.
Love C

Meredith said...

Just beautiful Annie, a lovely idea indeed :) Much love,

Carole in Wales said...

Anne, you are so creative! This is such a wonderful idea.

Jo Shabo said...

These are just beautiful- such a creative, lovely idea!

Lisa Sweet said...

These are fantastic and you are so generous to share your ideas with us, even the images you used! I am very inspired by your creations.
God bless.
P.S. Will you post a picture of your Christmas tree?

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Hi Lisa! Yes, definately a photo of the tree with all the ornaments :)

Vee said...

OOoooooooooh, they are so beautiful! I can hardly stand how gorgeous these are! If I weren't brain-deep in work and freelancing, I'd make these now! I'm bookmarking this for next year. Brilliant, Anne. Truly.

Catholic Chicks said...


Rarely Sara said...

We are a little behind in getting these made, but I'm curious how your are "doing" them with your kids. Do you read something, and hang it on the tree? I think I want to do this in addition to my Jesse tree, but I'm not sure how to get started. I'd love to hear ideas. Thanks!

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Sara, I find a book/s on that saint for the day, usually I have somethning, whether it is a picture book or out of a compilation saint book, I read out loud with the children and the ornament is placed on our christmas tree!

The World of the Blue Bells Trilogy said...

Wonderful post and great ideas! Thank you!


The World of the Blue Bells Trilogy said...

Great post and wonderful ideas! Thanks so much! Laura