Getting together with friends and neighbours in the run up to Christmas is now a festive ritual for Faye Smith.
There’s a purpose to their evening, though; they mark the season of advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, by making Advent crowns, a traditional festive table decoration.
“For over a decade now I gather greenery and invite everyone round for mulled wine, mince pies and carols. We make our wreaths to the same poems and readings each year, which brings a sense of serenity and tradition to our busy lives and we start by discussing the things we are looking forward to most and least about Christmas,” says Faye, who runs Keep Your Fork, Sheffield-based marketing and PR training consultancy.
How to make Faye’s advent crown:
Cost: under £5
1 circle of oasis foam (available at florists)
4 candles (red or white are traditional)
16 wooden toothpicks
Wet your oasis through (the circle shape represents God’s eternal love). To secure each candle in place (they represent the prophets, the Bible, Mary and Jesus) you will need to take a small strip of sticky tape about 8cm long and place four of the wooden cocktail sticks on the middle of it at 1 cm intervals. Now wrap the tape around the base of the candle with about 2cm of the toothpicks protruding so you can stick the candles into the oasis.
Now comes the fun part. Cut some greenery such as fir, yew, holly and ivy from your garden or local woods into manageable pieces and fix them into the oasis until it is completely covered. Important: don’t let the foliage go too far up the candles; as the greenery dries out, it can catch light.
Your crown makes a stunning table centrepiece that can last a full month (to keep the greenery fresh, water it regularly in the sink). Light one candle each Sunday and on Christmas Day, stand a white candle in the centre of the crown.
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