Embrace the holiday spirit with a DIY Advent wreath that brings a personal touch to your celebrations. This article provides easy step-by-step instructions, making crafting your own festive wreath a joyful and creative experience.
When I was little, every December 1st my mom used to give my brother and me the chocolate advent calendars with little cardboard doors that could be opened to reveal a piece of cute-shaped chocolate. Every morning I’d race to my Advent to retrieve my chocolate with the excitement of knowing my mom couldn’t possibly be mad that I was eating chocolate for breakfast before school since she gave it to me!
These days, I’ve come to realize that the chocolate in those 80s Advent calendars was waxy and disgusting, so my love of the chocolate Advent calendar has waned.
But an Advent Wreath that doubles as home decor? Well, now I’m intrigued.
It wasn’t until last year that I realized what an Advent Wreath actually was! Greenery, candles, embellishments…yes please! So this Christmas season, I decided to try and make my own DIY Advent Wreath.
While Advent Wreaths can be purchased ready-made, they can be pretty pricey. And then there’s the issue of storing them until the following year. For me, there’s something fun about creating my own version. And it’s even better if I can use things I already own!
Full disclosure, I’m not particularly religious and so didn’t know all of the meaning behind an Advent Wreath. I had to do quite a bit of research, which I’m sharing with you today. Personally, I just think Advent Wreaths are pretty and a beautiful addition to the home.
What is an Advent Wreath
An Advent wreath is a symbolic and decorative item used by Christians during the Advent season, the period of four weeks leading up to Christmas. Typically made of evergreen branches, the circular wreath is adorned with four candles, often accompanied by a central fifth candle. Each candle represents one of the four weeks of Advent, focusing on themes of hope, peace, joy, and love.
The lighting of the candles is a significant ritual during Advent. Starting on the first Sunday of Advent, one candle is lit, and an additional candle is lit on each successive Sunday. The central candle, often white and called the Christ Candle, is usually lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The progression of lighting symbolizes the increasing light of Christ coming into the world.
Advent wreaths serve as a visual and spiritual centerpiece in homes and churches, fostering a sense of anticipation, reflection, and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
When is the Advent
Advent is a season observed in many Christian traditions, marking the period of four weeks before Christmas to remind us of the meaning of the season. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word “adventus,” meaning “coming” or “arrival.” It is a time of anticipation, reflection, and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Advent is observed on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas day. Generally, Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30th, which is the feast day of St. Andrew, and it lasts for four weeks. This year, advent begins on December 3rd.
What are the Sundays of Advent
Advent wreaths typically feature four candles (sometimes five), each carrying a specific meaning that aligns with the four weeks of Advent:
1. First Candle – Hope
The first week of Advent symbolizes the Prophet’s Candle, the first candle represents hope and anticipation. It is often lit on the first Sunday of Advent, setting the tone for the weeks to come.
2. Second Candle – Peace
Known as the Bethlehem Candle, the second candle signifies peace. Lit on the second week Sunday of Advent, it reflects on the peaceful anticipation of the Savior’s birth.
3. Third Candle – Joy
The third candle, often pink and called the Shepherd’s Candle, represents joy. Lit on Gaudete Sunday, it marks a moment of rejoicing amidst the penitential season.
4. Fourth Candle – Love
The final purple or blue candle, known as the Angel’s Candle, represents love. Lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, it emphasizes the love embodied in the imminent arrival of Christ.
5. Optional Fifth Candle – Christ
In some traditions, a central white candle is placed in the middle of the wreath. Often called the Christ Candle, it is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, symbolizing the birth of Jesus.
Symbolism of the Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath is rich in symbolism, representing various aspects of the Christian faith and the anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ. Here are the key symbolic elements of an Advent wreath:
The circular shape of the wreath symbolizes eternity and the unending nature of God’s love. It has no beginning or end, representing the everlasting nature of the divine.
The evergreen branches used to form the base of the wreath signify the eternal life found in Christ. In the midst of winter, when many other plants lose their leaves, evergreens remain vibrant and green, serving as a symbol of hope and the promise of new life.
The lighting of candles on the Advent wreath symbolizes the increasing light of Christ coming into the world. As each candle is lit during the weeks of Advent, it reflects the growing anticipation and the dispelling of darkness.
What are the Colors of Advent candles
Advent wreaths are made up of three purple candles and one pink. If the fifth candle is used, it is white.
- Week 1 Hope: Purple
- Week 2: Peace: Purple
- Week 3: Joy: Pink
- Week 4 Love: Purple
- Fifth Christ Candle: White
What Do the Colors Mean?
- Purple Candles: Purple candles, often three in number, represent the traditional colors of Advent. The use of purple is symbolic of penitence, repentance, and the solemnity associated with waiting for the arrival of the Messiah.
- Pink Candle: The pink candle is usually lit on the third Sunday of Advent and is called the “Shepherd’s Candle” or “Candle of Joy.” The pink color symbolizes a moment of rejoicing and joy in the midst of the penitential season.
- White Candle: The white candle represents the purity and light of Christ.
A Modern Twist on the Advent Wreath
A traditional Advent Wreath will feature purple and pink candles. Looking online, I noticed that a lot of people use only white candles for their Advent Wreaths. White candles might be used because they are a color most peole typically own, as opposed to having to buy the purple and pink candles.
For my wreath, I decided to use white pillar candles and because I have a cat, battery-operated pillar candles!
DIY Advent Wreath
I decided to make a super easy DIY Advent Wreath using materials I had on hand. I’ll show you what I did step-by-step and then give you other ideas if you want to create your own.
- 4 (or 5) candles – taper or pillar
- Candle holders or floral foam
Step 1: Select a Base
If you have an actual wreath you want to use, you might not need a base. In my case, I didn’t have a wreath and so needed a base to create the shape.
Start with a circular base for your “wreath”. I decided to use my dough bowl because it is a good size for a table centerpiece and is shallow enough to allow the greenery to hang over the sides. I’ve listed other ideas for vessels below.
Step 2: Add Base Greenery
Fresh greenery would be absolutely beautiful and elegant for an Advent Wreath. I made mine in early November, though, so I used some of my favorite faux greenery to create a timeless Advent Wreath.
Do you want your fresh greenery to last longer? Check out my tutorial to Keep Greenery Fresh Longer!
I didn’t have an actual wreath that would fit in my dough bowl, so I used a length of Norfolk Pine garland as a base.
Step 3: Add Candles
Since my dough bowl is rather wide, I decided to use pillar candles to take up more space. And because I have a rather inquisitive cat, I chose LED candles instead of real.
Four candles form a perimeter, with the fifth candle, should you use it, in the center. The fifth candle is often taller than the other four. I used four 6″ pillar candles for my Advent Wreath.
Tip: For taper candles, you can use traditional candle holders or poke them insto a base of floral foam.
Step 4: Add More Greenery
To give the wreath a nice, full look, consider adding additional picks. I added my all-time favorite Michael’s greenery picks throughout to add fullness and depth.
My Favorite Greenery
- Norfolk Pine Garland or Wreath: Afloral or Kirklands
- Faux Cedar Garland: Terrain
- Hanging Cedar and Pinecone Bush: Michael’s
- Faux Pine Garland: Terrian
- Faux Magnolia Garland: Afloral
Step 5: Embellish
I wanted to have a natural look for my DIY Advent Wreath so I chose to use berries, pinecones, and small ornaments.
Alternate Vessel Ideas
- Cake stand
- Ironstone bowl
- Large compote
- Round bread board
- Ceramic pie dish
- Round tray
More Embellishment Ideas
- Dried orange slices – you can purchase these or make your own
- Small bells
More Christmas Projects
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