Making An Advent Wreath
The very first Sunday of Advent, we set up our Advent Wreath and put it in the middle of our dining room table. The wreath is such a powerful sign to our family that we are joyfully waiting for the coming of our Savior, the Christ Child, as we light a new candle every Sunday night.
The Advent Wreath is a wreath of evergreens with four candles representing the four Sundays of Advent. There are three purple candles and one pink candle surrounding a white candle in the center. Everything about the wreath is symbolic and is a wonderful teaching tool. The circle represents eternity, the evergreens represent the eternal nature of God, and the candles represent a time of preparation and purification.
The color of the candles is also symbolic.
- Violet represents penitence as we prepare our hearts for the birth of our Savior.
- The rose or pink candle represents Mary, the willing servant of God and the mother of our Lord.
- The white candle represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve.
It builds such anticipation to watch as every candle burns a little more. I love gathering in the evening, lighting the candles, breathing in the smell of evergreens and reading through the story of our salvation.
How to Make Your Own Advent Wreath
- Metal Advent ring or grapevine wreath. Both can be cheaply purchased from a craft store or online.
- Advent candle set (three purple and one pink candle)
- One white candle in a candle holder
- Fresh evergreen branches of your choice (pine, juniper, seeded eucalyptus, cedar, etc.)
- Pruning Snips
- Florists Wire
- Insert the purple and pink candles into the holders on the metal form or insert the candles equidistantly in between the vines of the grapevine wreath.
- Cut and place the greenery on your Advent wreath. For the metal form, use floral wire to attach your greenery. For the grapevine form, insert the greenery in between the vines.
- Place your wreath in the middle of your dining or breakfast table.
- Place the white candle in the middle of the Advent wreath.
The Christ Child and the Christmas Crib Tradition
The Christ Child and Christmas Crib has become one of the most meaningful Advent traditions for our family.
On the first Sunday of Advent, right after evening devotions, we set the manger from our nativity scene out on the dining room table (you could also use a small basket). Next to the manger, we place a dish full of small pieces of straw (I use a bundle of raffia from my local crafts store and I cut it into small pieces).
We write down the names of every person in our family on little slips of paper. We fold the slips of paper up, place them in a bowl and pass the bowl around. Everyone takes a slip of paper with a name on it.
The person whose name you have drawn is now in your special care throughout Advent. From this day until Christmas, you do as many little favors for that person as you can. You have to provide at least one surprise every single day—but without ever being found out!
When the good deed is done, you go and add a piece of straw to the manger. We try to get the manger as full of straw as we can so that, when we put baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve, he is surrounded by our love and good deeds made visible with the straw.
My family takes this tradition very seriously! I can’t tell you how touching (and surprising!) it is to see my children sneaking around doing good deeds for someone else in our family. It really creates such a spirit of selfless love and generosity.