I know that right now most people are ramping up for the big turkey and pie day next week a.k.a. Thanksgiving. We’re going to see my folks and sister in Hudson, New York and I’ve already made and frozen the stuffing (I used this recipe minus the nuts and sausage), gravy and butternut squash. Next week I’ll make a few pumpkin pies and some rustic apple tarts. Maybe the kids will help with some applesauce when they come home from college. All in all I feel like Thanksgiving is pretty much under control.
While turkey day is more or less organized what seems to sneak up on me every year is the season of Advent. This year the first Sunday of Advent is November 30th. Fortunately for me there are four weeks to get ready for the mystery of Christmas. I need all of that time to switch gears and remember there is so much more I am getting ready for beyond the shopping, cookie baking, and jolly guy in the red suit. Since our kids are returning to college the first day of Advent I thought I’d pull out their Advent calendars now. Isabelle and Russell have one (as do my nephews, niece and goddaughter), and we have a few other ways of marking Advent – all homemade.
These felt Advent Trees were from a piece I wrote for FamilyFun Magazine a number of years ago. The senior editor’s Grandmother had made one for her when she was a child and she asked me to recreate it for their readers. I loved the idea so much I made one for each of my kids. Basically you sew old buttons onto a green felt tree that you glue to a piece of red felt. The numbers were made from fabric which had a fuseable backing ironed on, with pockets made of a length of felt sewn on (and sewn to divide). The individual ornaments are made from bits and bobs I found around the house – trinkets, beads, miniature toys, shells, etc.
This Beeswax Candle Advent Wreath is something I started doing after I became a beekeeper. The colored craft wax comes in flat sheets, much the same as foundation wax. It is rolled around a wick. Shawn had made a lovely wooden, round cut from one of the trees on our property, to use as a “wreath”. It had small holes drilled into the top to hold the four candles. Unfortunately the mice who moved into the basement last winter decided this would be delicious to chew on(perhaps they were drawn to the bits of wax) so I threw it out. The one pictured below is a cut off I made from a log in our burn pile so you could get a sense of how it looks.
A month ago the Director of our Sunday School sent me a link to this blog that had a lovely felt Advent calendar. I made one for the church school and thought it would go nicely with some small votive candles which you can find at Ikea along with glass holders (you’d need two packs to get you through Advent). If you’re not big on real candles, or have really young children you could also use battery operated tea lights. I used materials from my felting stash, but New England Felting Supply has supplies.
I’ve been teaching Godly Play at our church for ten years. Shortly after I started I made a miniature version of their Advent Lessons with colored paper (which I then laminated) and use the Feves my friend Alexis sent me from France. There is something so enchanting about the little porcelain figures.
Those are four of my ideas for Advent, but there are so many other Advent calendars and wreaths out there. I recently noticed that the Anglican Communion Office and the Society of Saint John the Evangelist are teaming up this year to create a virtual Advent calendar with Instagram. Instagram is one social media I admit I am pretty putzy on. Maybe I’ll be motivated to pick things up with this online Advent calendar which you can sign up for here.
I’ll end with this wooden crèche our friends Thomas and Rick brought back from their trip to Bethlehem.