Amy’s Free Ideas

“Is it Christmas yet?”  You have probably heard that question many, many times, but probably not as often as a pastor in Germany who invented the advent wreath to answer that question. Every day the children at his orphanage would ask him this question. So he hit upon a solution: He took a wagon wheel and put one red candle for each day till Christmas, but for each Sunday, he put a large white candle. Each day he would light another candle, so it was easy for the children to see how many days were left till Christmas. But that is a LOT of candles! So over the next hundred years, as other people began to adopt the idea, the daily candles have been dropped, and only the 4 Sunday candles remain today, nearly 200 years after it was invented. (See Wikipedia, advent wreath.)

There are many ways to make an advent wreath. Here is one of the easiest and cheapest ways!

View how to use the advent wreath

View six more ways to make an advent wreath

Start with a red plate. This one is a plastic disposable plate.

Buy 4 votive candles, or pillar candles. Stand them on the plate, evenly spread out. You can use this as an advent wreath just as is, or add green leaves.

If you have bushes or trees in your yard, you can put water in the plate and fill in between the candles with real leaves. Some leaves will turn brown, so keep trying till you find some that will stay green.

Instead of real leaves, you can cut green leaves out of thin plastic and glue them onto the red plate with a glue gun. The green container shown above had mushrooms in it. So I recycled two containers to make the wreath shown at the top of the page. A green plastic plate would work just as well.

Don’t be afraid of the curves on a container or the plate. Leaves are not flat, so a bit of a curve will make them look more realistic. You can use different sized spoons as patterns. Optional: fold the leaves in half to give them a vein down the middle.

You can simply cut oval leaves. This is the quickest way to make leaves. But if you really want them to look like holly leaves, cut round “scoops” out the edges of the leaf, as if a mouse had taken bites out of it. You can use the tip of a small spoon to draw the “scoops.” You will need a minimum of 12 leaves, but more would be better.

Arrange 3 leaves between two candles. Glue them in place with a glue gun.

Keep the leaves near the candles low, to reduce the fire hazard. The leaves in the middle of each section could stand up a bit higher, since they would be away from the candles.

If you have enough leaves, fill in with more leaves to give the wreath a full look.

If you use fresh leaves, it doesn’t really matter what kind of leaves you use. Fill in each section between candles. If a sections looks skimpy, put another small branch of leaves on top to fill it out. Pour a bit of water into the tray and make sure it doesn’t dry out. Some branches turn brown even if there is enough water, so if this happens to yours, throw them out and try different kinds of leaves. Some branches stay nice and green for a long time, even without water. Fir branches cut from the bottom of a Christmas tree are perfect for this. They have the added bonus of smelling WONDERFUL!! Some varieties of holly leaves will last as well, and these have the added advantage of having red berries. Just keep them out of reach if you have toddlers who might put them in their mouths. You can add bows and floral picks to dress it up a bit, if you wish.

Optional: If you can buy oasis, green foam for arranging flowers, you can poke the branches of leaves or needles into the water soaked oasis, and it can make the arrangement a little easier to make, and a little more stable. It also gives a base to poke taper candles into it.

Some people add a fifth candle to be lit on Christmas Day.

View how to use an advent wreath.

Continue gluing leaves between the candles until the whole wreath is filled in. If you want to move the plate, do so very carefully because the candles are heavy, and if they topple over, they could break off some of the leaves. Or, you can simply take the candles off before moving the plate to a new location.

Use Fresh Natural Leaves