The Chrismon™ Tree


What is a Chrismon?


The word “Chrismon” is a combination of the words “Christ” and “Monogram” (meaning symbol). Traditionally, Chrismon ornaments are not sold; they are homemade. They are always white and gold. . . white symbolizing that Jesus is pure and perfect, and gold symbolizing His majesty and glory.  They can be made from paper, styrofoam, wood, embroidery, needlepoint, beading, or any other material and process. Making Chrismons is an excellent project for a church group to share in fellowship while learning about Christian symbols and the life of Christ.


History of the Chrismon


Chrismons are first of all Christian symbols. From the beginning of Christianity, persecuted followers used symbols to communicate secretly with each other. Christian symbols have been used in churches ever since.

Chrismon ornaments were originated in 1957 by a woman named Frances Kipps Spencer at Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia. Mrs. Kipps made the first Chrismon decorations and trademarked the word. Their use and popularity rapidly spread. Protestant and Catholic churches alike gravitated to their use. Their purpose is to remind people of the real meaning of Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and to tell His story.

You can read more about the History of the Chrismon here
You can read more about Christian Symbols and their Meanings here.

Tutorial: How I Made My Own Chrismons


Last Christmas some dear friends gifted us with a steak party pack.  They arrived in a two-inch thick styrofoam cooler.  After transferring the steaks to our freezer, my mind immediately started pondering how I could repurpose the styrofoam cooler. I came up with the idea of cutting out Christian symbols to use as Chrismon tree ornaments. I did an Internet search and found these free downloadable patterns 

After printing the symbols onto paper, I cut them out and traced them onto the styrofoam. Danny cut them out with a scroll saw, Since the styrofoam was two inches thick, he sliced each shape into two with a band saw. I decorated them with gold beads, trim and glitter.  I made 83 ornaments out of this cube of styrofoam!

You can use white cardboard, even paper plates, to make the ornaments, but styrofoam or wood will hold up better for many years. 

Supplies


Styrofoam or white cardboard
Patterns
Tacky glue
Gold gitter glue
Gold ribbon
Gold craft beads (4mm)
White craft beads (4 mm)
Gold sequence
Craft straight pins (gold, ½ inch)
Gold eye pins
Any white or gold decorative trim
Gold ornament hangers

Helpful tips


  1. Use an emory board to gently sand the edges of the styrofoam cut-outs to "erase" tracing marks and smooth ragged edges.
  2. The gold glitter glue is great to use for drawing and outlining. Mistakes can be lifted off with a toothpick. It’s very forgiving. It takes a long time to dry, so I would use the glitter glue one day and finish decorating the ornament the next day, or vice versa. Rest the tube upside down when not using so the glue flows down to the tip.

  3. Likewise, rest the tacky glue upside down between uses.
  4. Attach beads and to the ornaments with ½ inch gold pins. First slip a pin through the bead and/or sequence and then dip the tip of the pin into glue before pressing into the styrofoam. This will hold it fast for years to come.
  5. Insert a  gold eye pin at the top of each ornament for hanging. Dip the tip the eye pin in glue before pressing it into the styrofoam.
  6. Don’t store your ornaments in a hot attic as the glue may soften and the decorations could slip out of place. 

So, here are some pics of the ornaments I made for our Chrismon tree. While I
 have some repeat patterns, each ornament has a unique design.






I used a piece of styrofoam craft sheet to draw and cut out a shape to use for a crown tree topper.



Our church's Chrismon Trees, decorated with cross-stitch ornaments made with love by members of the congregation.

St. Luke Lutheran Church, Cabot, Pennsylvania

I hope you'll try making some Chrismon ornaments for your home or your church. It is fun to involve others in learning the meanings of the Christian symbols and to use the creativity God gave you to present them to others as a witness of Christ's love for mankind. 

God bless you!

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