The process of Christmas decorating itself is a wonderful time of anticipation. A fun way to mark the time and add to the excitement of counting down the days is with a beautiful Advent wreath. Not only will the lighting of each candle bring you closer to Christmas, but you’ll have a perfect Christmas centerpiece for your holiday gatherings.
You may wonder why the Advent wreath is a table top Christmas centerpiece and not a hanging decoration. Advent literally means “coming” and the Latin adventus is a translation of the Greek word for “second coming”. The four weeks before Christmas is spent in preparation for the celebration of the “coming”. The Advent wreath traditionally has four candles which are lit each week prior to Christmas and sometimes a fifth candle to be lit on Christmas. Because of the addition of candles to this style of Christmas wreath, an Advent wreath is usually laid flat on a table.
The option of hanging is still available if you are adventurous in your decorating. These wreaths were often hung level to the ground from the ceiling. As you can imagine, a large wreath in this style would make an impressive display hanging over a table.
Beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, one candle is lit. Each Sunday after, the previous candle(s) are lit along with the new one. You can add ceremony by talking with your family about the symbolism of each week. The first candle represents Hope, the second Love, the third Joy, and the fourth Peace. If you add a fifth candle, it goes in the middle and symbolizes Christmas.
To create your own Christmas table decorations, you only need a few items and a little creativity. You can choose a pre-made wreath, a round foam base, an Advent frame (which will have the candle holders in it) or use wire and shape your own. Select a size and style that is suitable for your table and sits level. Attach cut or artificial greenery to fill in your frame.
Next, space four candle holders and candles evenly around your wreath. You can find florist candle holders with a spike to go into foam, wrap candles with wire or insert single candle sticks into your display. Traditionally, purple candles are used because they are the color of the vestments priests wear during Advent and are considered penitent. In the third week, however, rose colored vestments are worn to represent rejoicing and the third candle is pink. If you can not find these colors, you can use white or ivory candles.
Your decorations can be as simple as ribbon or as elaborate as Christmas wreaths for the front door. Depending on how big your piece is, add in pine cones, seedpods, ornaments, fruits or bells. Just remember, you will be lighting candles so keep your decorations low and soak your greenery if you are using cut plants.
Be inspired by the idea of gathering around your centerpiece for each candle’s lighting and imagine how your Advent wreath will bring the Hope, Love, Joy and Peace of the season to your Christmas table. How wonderful to have a centerpiece that means so much as a way adding beauty to the room and embodying the excitement of preparing for Christmas!
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