Advent celebrations begin on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which this year is the 28th of November. It’s a lovely, traditional way to welcome the start of the festive season so, if you’re feeling creative, I have come up with some Advent wreath designs for you to try out.
Advent comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’ signifying a coming or arrival, the traditional decoration for this season is a wreath holding four candles; one for each Sunday in Advent. Some people add a fifth in the centre to light on Christmas Day itself.
Far removed from the coat hanger and tinsel version made by Blue Peter viewers of a certain generation, the Advent wreath is in fact a very symbolic design which dates back to pre-Christian times. Then, candles were lit within a circle of evergreen branches in the dark December days as a sign of hope for warmer and lighter days to come.
If you really want to get into the mood for Advent then you need to head to Europe, where Advent is a much bigger occasion. For example, German Master Florist Gregor Lersch holds an annual Advent exhibition at his shop where selected customers, mulled wine in hand, can view and order designs. Gregor describes Advent as ‘the threshold between autumn and winter’, quite a poetic way to put it.
It is still customary today to make the traditional Advent wreath out of various types of winter evergreens and to decorate it with cones, nuts or seed pods to represent resurrection and life. Some people choose red and purple candles, others white.
If you want to have a go at creating your very own Advent design, here are some ideas to inspire you. If you do try any of these designs, please don’t leave the candles burning unattended at home!
Here, the concept of the Advent wreath has been brought up to date by using an anthurium plant as a base. Wrap a lightweight straw wreath in large leaves, and push red sticks through it and then into the pot to support it. The candles have been anchored into the wreath separately using green garden canes.
Stand potted mini poinsettia plants into a ready made Christmas star. Add the four candles to the centre of the design, standing them on a flat board or plate so that the wax doesn’t mark the table underneath.
Seasonal red berried Gaultheria shrubs are ‘planted’ into a cone wreath, leaving space in the centre for the candles and cones. Wire sticks together loosely around the outside to give extra interest to the design.
Again this design is based on a straw wreath. Bind Miniature red and pink Kalanchoe plants into the wreath before placing the candles. Add tiny red glass baubles, red twigs and a thin layer of sisal to complete a striking table centre.
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