Advent Workshop 2011 – The Advent Wreath (Part 1)

On November 30, 2011, we’ll have a simple meal in our parish hall for anyone who signs up (usually about 45-60 people). As the adults clear the family-style meal, the children will gather at prepared tables for the Advent Workshop crafts. (Last year, we had 33 children participate.)

Our Advent Workshop is a longstanding tradition in our parish on the first Wednesday in Advent. We have had many different crafts over the years, ranging from Chrismon ornaments to simple creches, Jesse Tree ornaments, and Advent paper chains. The general expectation for an appropriate craft is that it be spiritually uplifting, liturgically correct, developmentally appropriate for ages 3-18, be of keepsake quality, allow for individual expression, be a child-driven activity, and (most important) be completed in one hour.

Sigh.

This year (this week) my always very helpful and more-than-patient husband, the one who decorates our parish hall every year for the season, had rotator cuff surgery. My easy access to getting things done just got undone – he isn’t moving anywhere fast. However, he came up with this craft prior to the surgery, and we’re working on the details now: the battery operated Advent Wreath for children.

One of our particular goals for this year in Christian Nurture is to bring the many families who only attend Sunday School into corporate worship and help them enjoy the liturgical traditions of our church. These families may not already have Advent wreaths. Our hope is that the children will have their own to “work” with, and the adults will be encouraged to have a traditional wreath for the family in their homes.

Our prototype consists of a 6 inch wooden “Floral & Craft Ring” from Michaels. We added four  1 1/4″ dowels cut to varying heights (ours are 2″, 2 1/2″, 3″, and 3 1/2″) and topped them with battery operated tea lights (also from Michaels, sold in packs of 24). The dowels will be glued to the wreath and the tea lights will be attached to the top of the candles with velcro buttons (to enable turning on the lights and changing the battery, if necessary.)

We’re planning on several many ways to decorate the wreaths, so expect more details as we brainstorm. (Feel free to chime in!)

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8 Responses to Advent Workshop 2011 – The Advent Wreath (Part 1)

  1. Storyteller says:

    Wow! This looks amazing (although I have to confess that my perfectionist side wonders how much guidance the 3-year-olds will get about appropriate colors for the candles…)

    I hate to add to your workload, but will you give out a page or booklet with suggested family Advent devotions and/or ways to use the wreaths?

    • browniesmoke says:

      Haha – I will probably put out several blog posts on the Advent wreaths, just in the development of the idea. We’ve never done anything quite like this before! The blog entries will help us remember in the future what we did, I hope.

      Yes, we are planning on a booklet, and that is already in the works. I hope to upload what we settle on, as well as the finances of the project…I’m adding up my receipts as we speak! If I’m organized, I’ll have it all uploaded so that others might use it.

      The pictures show a nice wooden wreath, but it’s not even glued yet; we have it just propped up. I sent the pictures to several people, and we were all amused at the vehement responses we got for ornamentation. At this point we plan to have construction paper cut to size to roll around the “candles,” so we might be able to control color choices. (We use Sarum blue and rose pink). We’ve also purchased ribbon in those colors.

      Onward! We’ll see what happens as it develops.

    • browniesmoke says:

      Storyteller, we’re using a booklet that a parishioner had used many years ago in an earlier Advent Workshop. She gave me her files to photocopy, but she didn’t have a digital copy. I’ll try to scan them soon and get them to you. I would like to redo them slightly – if only because they speak of purple candles, and we now use Sarum blue and rose pink for our advent wreath.

  2. Leslie says:

    Hi Jill,
    I just discovered your blog – thanks to your comment on mine. I’m really enjoying exploring it! I love this wreath idea and can’t wait to see updates! So nice to meet you!

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