This year I volunteered to make advent wreaths for a local parish's RCIA candidates and catechumens. I passed a pleasant weekend putting together simple pine wreaths to hold small votive candles, each adorned with purple or pink ribbon, holding a gilt-edge tag that declared the week’s message. Hope, faith, joy, and peace—how delightful it was to fill our kitchen table with these beautiful tags. (Of course there are no pictures, because I didn't think to stop and take photos along the way!)
I created a cut file for the tags for my Silhouette machine, as I am not a very good close cutter by hand. I also designed a little “cheat sheet” for each candle’s prayers, which prints four to a page (perfect for sharing with friends and family, or colleagues at work!). Feel free to use these printables if you still have an Advent wreath to craft! (Scroll down for files!)
Other than our wreath, for decorations this year we are also using a Jesse tree that I found on Etsy. It has small, child-sized magnets and came on a cookie sheet, so the Bambino can play with them while D. does the readings. In just a few days, I am already loving this tradition and how even the shortest reading from the Bible feels like such balm on my heart.
Over the past few years I have tried out a few Advent devotionals, including the ever popular Father—now Bishop—Barron’s email devotional. This year I am using an email devotional that is short, sweet, and perfect for my life this year. It’s from Traditional Catholic Living, and you can sign up by cruising on over to their site.
I'm sure our decorations and our devotional practices will grow. But for this year, it's where we are. And it's good.