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Advent Wreath 2014


At the risk of spouting a cliche, I cannot believe that it is a year since I last made an Advent Wreath! Oh well…

I decided to record the stages of construction, and I show them for anyone who may be interested.

This is the metal ring which provides the framework. I bought it from a Church Furnishers many years ago. It has seen better days, but is still sturdy and does the job. It isn’t seen, in any case. The board beside it has also been used for years. When you see how the flower blocks are placed, you will realise that a base is essential.

The four blocks of foam are soaked, pressed down onto the metal ring, and trimmed slightly at each corner. That makes it easier to position sprigs so that it appears to be a ring shape.

This is my selection of greenery. The bag is full of variegated box, which I use as the basis of the wreath. I used to use griselinia, but I lost the bush in the last harsh winter. I find the box lasts better, staying green even when it starts to dry out.

This is the stage where I begin to relax. Up to this point, the wreath looks very sparse, and I always imagine I haven’t brought enough material to make it look right. I just keep pushing sprigs into the foam, working round and round the “ring”. The illusion that it is a circle happens quite naturally. This year, I was asked to cover the central candle holder, because the Christmas candle is going to be displayed separately.

Once the sides and centre are covered, I start using all the more decorative pieces I have brought. These include holly, ivy, skimmia, snowberry (they don’t last long, so I usually remove them after a couple of Sundays) sedum, rosemary and lavender.

It looks very colourful after they have all been added.

Finally, the candles are placed in the holder. A purple one will be lit on the first, second and fourth Sundays of Advent. The rose-coloured one is lit on Gaudete Sunday, which is the third. A white candle, which is sometimes placed in the centre of the wreath, is first lit at Midnight Mass, and then again at each Mass on Christmas Day.

I shall spray it and water the foam blocks a couple of times a week. I replace any greenery that is wilted but the church is pretty cool during the week, and the wreath usually lasts very well.

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How clever, good choice of materials too, really nice.
I agree it too soon......another three months at least!

27 Nov, 2014


What a lovely story told in your wreath. Not being a Catholic I had to look up Gaudete Sunday. It was a wise decision to give encouragement to stick to the preparation in the run up to the celebration of Christ's birth. Your wreath is lovely.

27 Nov, 2014



For anyone interested in the symbolism behind the contents of an Advent wreath, you may like to take a look at my blog of 3rd Dec 2012. My mother was a horticulturist, florist and professor of Ikebana, with a great interest and knowledge of the symbolism of plants and flowers.

27 Nov, 2014


That's really beautiful, well done!

27 Nov, 2014


I remember last year's Mel .
This is so lovely ; I'm temped to have a go , but I'm not sure that I have the necessary to womble together .
Stand by .

27 Nov, 2014


That is absolutely lovely Susanne - and thank you for showing us how it is done (not that I could ever make something so attractive!). Do you protect your fingers in any way from the prickly holly?! It is so effective though - I really admire your talent.

27 Nov, 2014


Thanks Suzanne, that's very informative. I'm also very pleased to hear that your church is 'pretty cool' ;)) I saw some snow berries the other day and thought about using them in a wreath, but if they don't last well I Shan't.

27 Nov, 2014


Thank you everyone for your lovely comments.

Thank you, Steragram, I'm glad you like it.

I started doing the Church wreath when the regular flower person was ill. I offered to buy a wreath from a GC, and the (then) parish priest said "I'd rather have a home-made one." (!). So, having been in the habit of making a small one at home, I said I'd have a go. That was longer ago than I care to remember. It's actually much simpler than you would think. You just have to keep going! It does help to have a variety of greenery at your disposal, but a suitable basis, like fir, juniper or leylandii is easily jazzed up with some berries and ivy, or evergreen herbs. Or you may just prefer a plain one.

I did realise that my description of "pretty cool" might imply more than I originally intended, Karen ... Then I decided to leave it as an inspired choice of words. I'm sure Fr Philip would be delighted!

Snow berries are lovely when fresh, but they tend to go mushy and black rather quickly. Such a pity!

Go for it, Driad! My daughter has just made her first one. It looks lovely, and she is thrilled to bits with it.

I only gave a few small bits of holly, Sheila - I just put up with the occasional scratches! It would be impossible to make a holly wreath without gloves, though. It can be quite vicious.

I love Gaudete Sunday, Scotsgran. I always decorate the Christmas tree that afternoon.

Oh is the quintessential Christmas nut, Pamg : it never comes round too soon for him!

I'm now off to have a look at your blog, Digginfit.

27 Nov, 2014


I'm glad you left disrespect intended by me! I've been in some pretty cool churches myself in my time ;)

27 Nov, 2014


Would you believe our new neighbours put their Christmas tree up last weekend.

28 Nov, 2014


Very pretty. Good job, Melchisedec.

28 Nov, 2014


It never even occurred to me, Karen!

"Cool" is an interesting adjective as used colloquially. "Coolness" is entirely personal to the speaker. (One man's cool is another man's ???) ☺️

I would believe it, Scotsgran, but find it a bit depressing and not at all Christmassy. There are fresh - cut - trees on sale at Asda. What will they be like by Twelfth Night, I wonder?

Thank you, Klahanie!

28 Nov, 2014


Hardly anybody still has a tree up by 12th night now.
Christmas has gone pear shaped. Tesco's tree has been up for weeks.

28 Nov, 2014


It looks very lovely indeed and I loved seeing how it took shape step by step.
Perhaps you could help me with this little problem......I am on the rota to do Church altar flowers over Christmas.
What colour scheme would you go for? I am still very unsure!

28 Nov, 2014


Thank you, Wildrose.

I don't do the flowers normally, just the wreath. I don't think you can beat red, green and white at Christmas, but I'm an old traditionalist! Our flowers are beautiful at Christmas and are usually red and gold, but I think a bit of white lifts it, otherwise it can look rather heavy.

28 Nov, 2014


It's great to be creative. Your wreath is very pretty :)

28 Nov, 2014


Sorry, Stera - missed your comment.

Our decorations have always stayed up to the 6th January. They don't all come down at once, because there are so many but the Christmas lights are not put on again, and from the outside all is plain! Liturgically, Christmastide continues until the feast of the Presentation on 2nd February. Not practical for families! Taking everything down by Twelfth Night is from another tradition, much more family-friendly...

Thank you very much, Hywel. I really enjoy making the wreath. We are away this weekend, but when we come back on Monday, I shall make a smaller one at home.

28 Nov, 2014


Thank you for your help. I agree with you about including white, if I choose the right flowers I shall be half way there!

29 Nov, 2014


I agree you can't beat red green and white - especially if you can add a touch of gold, like those spiral shaped gold sprayed little canes/grasses to pop in amongst.

30 Nov, 2014


O.K. Mel , you got me started .... mine is nowhere as good as yours , give me a few years !
Anyway , I've made one , and I can see that it is something that you fiddle with and don't leave alone .

30 Nov, 2014


I'm sure they will look beautiful, Wildrose, whatever you decide.

Great, Driad! I've been at it for years, and always look forward to making one. I'm sure if mine wasn't away in the church, I'd be fiddling with it till Christmas! I shall be constructing my smaller domestic one tomorrow. We have been in London this weekend (in fact we're at Euston as I write). The decorations are up everywhere, but I wasn't in Oxford Street - not a shopping trip, so I don't know what they're like there. I am a Londoner originally; I must be getting old - I didn't find any of the lights particularly thrilling. But London is still lovely in my eyes!

1 Dec, 2014


I lived in Hackney during the sixties , when London was a bit younger ......( and me ).
We usually go up in August every year now , although our son and daughter-in-law have a flat in Victoria , they are always so busy that we don't stay there , we let them come to us .
Anyway , I hope that you had a pleasant weekend , Mel .
I'm thinking my "creation" needs some red in it .

1 Dec, 2014


Red candles Driad.

1 Dec, 2014


We had a lovely weekend, thank you, Driad. We were both students in London in the 60s (not quite as wild as some people would like to pretend) but find a little goes quite a long way these days! Our son is currently living in Wandsworth, so we were staying nearby, but were up in Marylebone on Sunday. Lovely, but good to be home again!

Red candles would be good, and perhaps some artificial poinsettia leaves or berries if you don't mind a
bit of "faux" !

1 Dec, 2014


Thank you, Homebird. I should love to make one for the door one year, but I have an artificial one for that. I do make fairly minimalist ivy ones for the doors in the hall. Wreath-making classes sound like fun!

5 Dec, 2014


I've got some blue candles , but I thought I had to have purple , and a pink one . I'll add a bit of faux , I think , Mel .
I have got some red ones , Stera .

6 Dec, 2014


Driad often its the high church Anglicans and Catholics who have the purple and the pink. Many low or free churches being less into symbolism are happy with white or red. Then there is a white one in the middle to be lit on Christmas day.If the wreath is just for you at home I guess you can have whatever colour you like. We have red ones in our chapel.

6 Dec, 2014


I think you can have whatever colour candles / foliage / ribbons you want. It's your wreath, and it means whatever you want it to. I'm all for personal symbolism!

6 Dec, 2014

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