Growing up, my family always made an advent wreath together at a crafty, Advent evening. The participants would rotate around tables in the church fellowship hall, making a different ornament or Christmas craft at each one. Each year I wish I could transport my children back in time so they too can experience such a sense of community bonding.
I feel my children are extremely lucky to experience the variety of cultures and traditions that our transient brings us close to. But this also makes it more difficult for them to experience our American traditions. As the children grow, I’m finding it much more important for me to stress what is celebrated in our own family. This is the first year that I can see C has been able to understand our holiday traditions so today was especially important for marking the beginning of Advent.
Evergreen branches are extremely easy to come by here. The typical German household must be bursting with the fresh sent of pine. Unfortunately for us, we never know where our travels are going to lead us, or whether we’ll be in a country where we can make a wreath from fresh bows. With that in mind, as well as my personal dislike for the fake variety, I decided we needed a wreath that would be tough enough to be thrown taken in and out of whatever storage space we have.
I started with a hay wreath and used a spiraling pattern to glue the white kidney beans, covering the entire wreath.
My local hardware store sold re-usable candle holders which are traditionally used in flower arrangements. I like the fact that these can be taken out and pushed back in again and again.
Add to that some Christmas ribbon and a set of Advent candles that decrease in size each week and you’re ready to begin the season.
We lit the first candle tonight and read the Christmas story before digging into our dinner. We’ll do this each night choosing to sing a Christmas song, say a prayer, or read a Christmas story. And while C is not old enough to light the candle each night, I think it’s a good start to bringing us together as a family during this holly, jolly season. What is your favorite holiday tradition?