Today is the first Sunday in Advent, a tradition from my own childhood which I have continued with is the Advent ring. It has four candles, so each Sunday we light one extra candle. I think it makes a nice build up to Christmas.
When my kids were little we would sing carols and read Christmas stories when we lit it each Sunday evening, of course there was the year when Helen was not impressed with the name Jesus, ‘…but |I want to call him Rachel!’ and she did for the rest of Christmas. The vicar did look a little perplexed!
A couple of years ago I spotted this lovely candelabra on Otley market for £10, a bargain! It’s perfect for my advent ring as I can also put the advent candle in the centre. I have to trim an oasis wreath a little but it sits nicely on the arms. As you can see I’ve used this oasis a few times before, this will probably be the last year. Most florists will tell you they can’t be reused as they don’t hold the water the same, they don’t, but I find they hold enough, they are too expensive to just use once.
The foliage is mainly from my garden, I’ve quite a few evergreen shrubs which are big enough now to take snips off. I like to have a good variety of foliage. I’ve learnt over the years which shrubs work well and which to avoid. Choisya is definitely one to avoid, it looks very pretty (I’ve got the sundance one) but it stinks of catpee!! Ceanothus doesn’t last long enough, viburnum doesn’t last brilliantly but it’s worth it for the tiny buds and the metallic blue berries. Osmanthus is great as it looks like holly but it cuts into short sprigs better than holly. I like adding rosemary for the scent if I happen to have some around.
This year I’ve used osmanthus, box, juniper, korean fir, eunonymous, hebe, rhodedenron (lovely red leaves) ivy, eucalyptus and a couple of other I can’t remenmber the names of!
The lights are a length of 20 battery operated LED’s, I used to try and hide the box inside the ring, but it invariably fell off, so now I just rest it on the windowsill behind and hope it’s not too obvious! I switch them on most evenings, I love seeing the lights through our stained glass window.
The candles are some I had in a cupboard, I’ll try and buy some taller ones this week as they look a bit short compared to the advent candle and more importantly, the first couple won’t last long enough to get through the four Sundays in Advent.