First Presbyterian Church
Las Cruces, NM

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Chrismon Tree
(click on tree for larger picture)

One of the ways in which this church attacks the problem of the commercialization of the Advent season is to be seen in the Chrismon tree in the front entrance of the sanctuary. It is a special tree decorated with lights and Chrismons.

Chrismons are home-made decorations featuring one of the many symbols which Christians have used for centuries to represent various aspects of the Christian faith. They were first developed by Francis Kipps Spencer at Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, VA. She also coined the word, which is a combination of Christ and monogram. The idea quickly spread to other churches. Each individual or group which creates Chrismons adds their own variations, often based on patterns in several small books available from the Ascension Lutheran Church. The ornaments are traditionally made in the colors of white and gold. White is the liturgical color for Christmas and refers to our Lord's purity and perfection. Gold refers to His Majesty and Glory.

Our tree is decorated by a set of 24 Chrismons made by Alice Cooper in counted cross stitch. Each one is about two inches in diameter and was framed in gold by Grace Circle.

The best place to see our Chrismons is on the tree at the church. However photographs of the ornaments are available here. The next pages contain small pictures of the Chrismon set on our tree and a short title identifying the symbol represented. If you click on the picture you will go to a larger picture of the Chrismon. Use your back button to return to the page with the small pictures.

The first Chrismon page.

There are a number of other pages on the Internet with material on Chrismons. Some links to these pages are given here. If you have any suggestions for other links please send them to Alex Burr. The links found are often incomplete and not particularly outstanding. The best one is at A site from the The Christian Resource Institute contains an number of excellent pictures of Chrismons and a brief explanation of the meaning of the symbol. The Lutheran church most responsible for spreading information about Chrismons has some information at They offers several books on how to make Christmons and on their history. A store offers to sell Chrismons and Chrismon kits at However, the idea of a Chrismon is for a individual or a group to increase the significance of the ornament by actually making it. Some people say that if you can buy it, it is not a Chrismon.

Any Christian symbol can be made into a Chrismon. Symbols also have different meanings to different people. Only a little interpretation of the symbols is given here. More extensive information can be found in the following references.

The first Chrismon page.

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Send comments, suggestions, and requests to Alex. F. Burr or send e-mail to aburr @
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Last update 2009-12-15 15:51:27