Friday, November 22, 2013

Making a Family Advent Wreath

 And I know we are not even quite to Thanksgiving yet, but for those of us who celebrate Advent, one has to begin to think of these things early. This year Advent comes quickly on the heels of Thanksgiving, before there is even time to finish all the leftovers, the Sunday after in fact.
Before I will have had the chance to get down my Christmas decorations!  But never fear, even if you haven't had the chance to unpack your twenty bins of decor (wait, you don't have 20 bins? you are a smarter cookie then me!) you can still start Advent a week from Sunday with minimal stress. 

One of my very favorite projects from A Homemade Year is the Advent wreath. When I lived in Juneau, Alaska, I was introduced for the first time to the Advent wreath. Typically the Advent wreath, a tradition that helps Christians observe the four Sundays of Advent as they journey toward Christmas, is made from evergreens. But as with most things in Southeast Alaska, the Advent wreath that our new church family introduced to us was not typical of the sort of wreath you might find in the “lower forty-eight.” Our wreath, made from a thick slice of log, was as unique, beautiful, and unexpected as Alaska itself. Drawing inspiration from those log bases, I have made our family our own woodland Advent wreath.
            Now, this may cause some people to raise their liturgical tradition eyebrows, but I do not use the traditional purple and pink candles for our wreath. Instead, we use candles in colors that I love (I blame my contrary, evangelical genetics for this). Not to be too casual about this very important tradition, each separate color of candle still represents one aspect of our Advent observance, helping provide guidance as we move through the month. Of course if you are a fan of the original colors (three purple or light blue, one rose, one white) you can easily substitute those instead. (In AHY I  note both my color choice and the traditional color choices for each week. )

For our wreath Sweet Man actually sliced a log for me, but look what I found recently! Pre-cut slices, the PERFECT size! I have found these both at Hobby Lobby and Michael's - how great is that??

To get your log base ready for candles, simply Drill one 1-inch hole directly in the middle, going almost the entire way through the log slice.
Drill four more holes the same way, in the positions of north, south, east, and west (see wreath picture for example).
Once this is done, add your four colorful candles to the four outlying holes and one white candle in the middle. 
So now you don't have to get out your chainsaw or pester your husband to get this done, just hop on down to the craft shop with your 50% coupon and pick one up. You could make your advent wreath in less time than it takes your turkey to cook!

Over the past few months I have had the most fun leading Advent Events for several church groups across the state. We have painted rocks with the word HOPE, made felt heart shaped pillows, glittered paper-mache stars, stamped feathers and tied bows to big ole jingle bells in order to make each of the objects that accompany our Advent Wreath.

The objects shown in the pictures from the book are of the objects we use in our family, but for the Advent Events I found the following items at my local craft stores:

Paper Mache Stars (that could be painted or glittered)
River Rocks ( (to be painted with the word Hope)
Red Felt (cut, stitched -using embroidery floss- and stuffed into heart pillows)
White Feathers (stamped with the word Peace)  OR Wooden Bird Shape (painted or glittered)
Large Jungle Bell (can be glittered or embellished with ribbon)

Each week when our family gathers to light the candle, we place one item to represent that week’s theme on the wreath base, next to it's corresponding candle.
 This is a great way to get kids of all ages involved, because even little bitty hands can hold a large jingle bell or heart pillow.
These days my boys are old enough to help light the candles and read the bible verses for each week, but we still love using the objects as extra reminders of what Advent is all about. They are like small breadcrumbs, little clues that point towards all the gifts that come through the birth of Christ on Christmas. 

To order a copy of A Homemade Year, which begins with words and celebrations for Advent and Christmastide,  you can visit Amazon, Paraclete Press, Barnes and Noble, Mardel or most other major bookstores.  

(To find out how to have me come visit your church or group click here.

1 comment:

  1. that is such a cute advent wreath! love the colors! I posted the giveaway for your book on my blog tonight :)


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