9310 Townsend Road • Providence Forge, VA 23140  (804) 966-2079

Chrismon Tree History

History of the PFPC Crismon Tree

Written by Jane VanDyke in 1997

The word crismon is a contraction of the two words—Christ and Monogram. A Christmas tree decorated with symbols from Christian history tells a story of the true spiritual meaning of Christmas. Christian monograms or crismons have been used throughout the ages as signs of the Christian faith.  Each monogram design has a meaning of its own.

About 20 years ago, the children, then in Sunday School, drew symbols on pieces of styrofoam,  and they hung their handmade crismons on the tree.  Ann Hockaday remembers that Dennis was just a teenager at the time and was given the task of hanging the crismons on the top because even then he was tall. Wilma Ward wrote out an explanation of the symbols used.

The idea of crismons danced in Ann’s head over the years just like sugar plums and about five years ago she decided to find some crismons at the store and decorate a crimson tree in the church.  She quickly found out that crismons aren’t readily found and most are made by loving hands.  It was too late that year to get them done by Christmas, but the idea was born and the crismon elves began their work.

During the year 1992 a team of helpers worked on the crismons and our beautiful crismon tree was ready for December 1992.  There are approximately 75 different designs and well over 100 crismons on the tree.  Some were such favorites that several were made of that design.  Mary Minor Malechek probably made over half of them and Deb Hockaday put the braid and backing on the finished products.  A sincere thank you to the veritable team of crismon helpers who gave their time and love to create such a beautiful tree that helps keep the true meaning of Christmas alive in our hearts:  Ann Hockaday, Mary Minor Malechek, Deb Hockaday, Alice Weaver, Veda Wood, Lindy Forrest, Ashley Farmer, Janet Eley, Cindy

Kissel-Ito, Pat Bower, Diane Forbis, and Tom Hardiman.

Crismons and Their Meaning

Descending dove with 3-rayed halo around its head—Holy Spirit

Ark and rainbow—Noah & the flood and God’s promise.  Ark is also a symbol of the church

Lamp—knowledge and wisdom found in the Bible

Alpha and Omega— Christ who says “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”

Butterfly—resurrection and life everlasting for the believer

Grapes—sacrament of Holy Communion

Fish—the Savior, was used as a sign by early Christians

Anchor cross—was used by early Christians as a symbol of their faith when they had to avoid recognition as Christians to avoid persecution

Latin Cross – cross upon which Jesus was crucified

Jerusalem Cross – unity of all Christians

Five pointed star — the star of Bethlehem

Wheat – thankfulness for the bounty of the earth

Ship with a cross as the mast — the church with Christ as the captain

Tablets of Stone—Ten Commandments

Lamb—Jesus Christ

Bread and wine—the Lord’s Supper and symbol for Maundy Thursday

Sevenfold Flame—tongues of fire and power of the Holy Spirit

Thistle—earthly sorrow and sin and suffering of Christ

Shell—with three drops of water represents baptism