Light up your Advent days

Store-bought or homemade, add an Advent wreath to anticipate the birth of Jesus to help your family focus on the reason for the season. Use the same wreath year after year, or make a new one together each time. Just keep in mind these five elements:

The Base — This should be a circle, the symbol of eternity. Use a pre-made form or make your own using florist’s foam, Styrofoam, a wire or wood frame.

Candleholders — Use something to secure the candles down into the wreath like florist plastic green holders, nails or narrow spikes from underneath, florist wire or even glass votives to sit among the greenery.

Greens — Use evergreens, a symbol of life. Use either live or artificial evergreens or garland. If you have a live Christmas tree, use greens left over from trimming.

Candles — This light in the darkness will represent the four weeks of Advent. Size, shape and price don’t matter, but color does. Use three purple candles and one pink. (Purple represents penitence; pink, joy.) Some people also include a white candle in the center, added on Christmas day for Jesus.

Ribbons and Decorations — Keep it simple and sparse. Although there is joy in Jesus’ coming, there is also anticipation. There’s a difference between Advent and Christmas. If you decorate, encourage children to use pine cones, seed pods, etc., or even a few purple ribbons.