Christmas time brings its own brand of beauty with its sparkling lights, warm nights by the fire, festive decorated trees and a host of fun holiday traditions. Travelers and immigrants from around the world brought their unique customs to the US and as a result, we have a myriad of fun ways to decorate and bring joy to the season.

candle close upOne of my favorite Christmas traditions that I remember from my childhood is the creating of the “Adventkranz”, or advent wreath. My dad and I would sneak into the forest to cut some fresh pine tree branches to bring home to my mom. She would then secret herself into the kitchen and design and built an advent wreath for each of us children and a big one for the dining room. I always loved their simplistic beauty and the way their warmth and pine scent filled the room. Traditionally, the “Adventkranz” has four candles and one would be lit each Sunday in preparation for Christmas eve, where all candles would shine bright and merry.

Here is a nice tutorial on the meaning behind the advent wreath

This year, I set out to create my own advent wreath and I love the way it adds to my festive decoration. So, I decided to share the way I constructed and assembled my piece in hopes to inspire others to do the same.


STEP 1 -  Materials

Pine tree branches

First it is time to gather the needed materials. Because I live in sunny California, I get my pine tree branches from the local Christmas tree lot. They usually have a pile of discarded branches stacked in a corner and anybody can grab as many as they want for free.

wreath materials

Next, I bought a foam ring, 4 candles, pretty red ribbon, some jewels and a lot of glue sticks, because they will be your best friends in this project.


STEP 2 – Working with the foam ring


The reason that I opted for a sturdy ring is that I chose votive candles and they tend to be a little heavier. First, I notched 4 grooves into the foam in order to secure the votive candles at a later time. After that, I started to cover as much of the ring as possible with a layer of small and pliable branches. I simply hot-glued the cuttings to the ring.


STEP 3- Tying the ribbon and be-jeweling the candles


I decided to suspend my wreath from the ceiling, so I tied pretty red ribbon with a bit of a sparkle to 4 spaces on the ring. I just measure the halfway point between the notches for the candles. I left a little tail hanging on each of ribbon sections.


I also love sparkles, so I added a fun little crystal design to my votive candles for extra pizzazz.


STEP 4 – Attaching branches around and around


After I secured the binding, I used longer branches and wrapped them around and around the ring. I covered everything from the inside to the bottom.


After two layers of pine branches, I inserted the votive candles and hot glued them into place. After that, I added an additional layer of pines, and carefully arranged and draped them around the be-jeweled votives so they would appear to be nestled into the branches.


STEP 4- Adding berries and hulls


I now hung the wreath into place, as it has gained quiet a lot of weight and girth and it has become cumbersome to manage. It is time to be creative and fashion your look of the piece. I always gravitate to the red berries, so I added the small ones around the exterior and some larger ones on top. I found the big, round, red fruits on a shrub in front of the Target store. With my ever handy garden shears, I sniped a few cuttings and incorporated them into my design. I loved the result.


I topped off  the creation by adding a few interesting looking hulls that I found on my walk. Every twig, berry and hull was attached using the hot glue gun.


STEP 5 – Suspending ornaments


I found these cute heart ornaments at the 99cents store and I was looking for a way to enhance the wreath with some Christmas sparkle.


Finally, I decided to suspend the ornaments on a thin gold tinsel string and they appear to be floating around on a sparkling thread. At the end, I also added the big, orbit like ornament to counter balance the design above.


STEP 6- Enjoy

IMG_2555      IMG_2545

Here is my final creation and I now have two candles lit. I cannot wait for Christmas to see it in all its glory and sparkle. To keep the branches fresh, I spritz them every day with a little bit of water and I just love its pine scent mixed in with the warm, winter-berry aroma of the candles.





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