by Maria Konecsny
Advent time is one of my favourite times of the year, even in summery Australia. This special period leading up to Christmas is full of traditions.
Here are some tips on how you can bring these traditions into your homes to enrich the lead-up to Christmas.
Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas, beginning on the fourth Sunday before December 24 and is rooted in Christian faith. Each Sunday, various Christmas preparations are carried out in the home.
Growing up in Germany, Advent was always a time we looked forward to immensely as it meant Christmas was not far away. Sundays were spent at home baking and crafting, going out with dad to pick a Christmas tree in the snow-covered forest, or sitting around the fire eating cookies and drinking Advent Christmas Tea with friends and family.
This is usually filled either with chocolates or small gifts, but my favourite version is one in which the family write little notes expressing gratitude for what we have in our lives.
An Advent wreath is absolutely essential for me to feel like Christmas is on its way. Like an Advent calendar, it allows us to count down to Christmas, but it does this only on Sundays. The wreath holds four candles, which are lit, one by one, on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. I like this because it gives a focus for our family to remember that Sundays in December are for family time, for slowing down, for baking. It also brings that vibrant pine green into the house and a lovely pine forest smell. See below on how to craft your own wreath.
Baking Christmas cookies is almost a German birthright, which most families still do uncompromisingly on the Sundays leading up to Christmas. Baking together with Christmas music playing in the background is still one of my favourite things to do. If you don't have a lineup of your favourite Christmas cookies here are some great recipes to get you started.
Decorating the house with Christmas ornaments like candle arches and spinning pyramid makes everything feel like Christmas. The day we get out all the Christmas decorations is a day my son looks forward to all year. We really take our time with this and play Christmas music as we decorate our space.
A Christmas tree is something most people are familiar with and bring into their houses every Christmas. Instead of a real tree (I still can't bring myself to cut down a tree!), we have a fake one as well as the real wreath. Our tree hack is to weave real branches through the fake ones, so that the fake tree serves more as a skeleton for pine tree branches. Everyone wins!
Light the first candle on the first advent (4th Sunday before Christmas).
Light the first and second candles on the second advent (3rd Sunday before Christmas)
Light the first, second and third candles on the third advent (2nd Sunday before Christmas).
And then lastly, light the first, second, third and fourth candles on the fourth advent (one Sunday before Christmas) as well as on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.