Observe Advent (the period of four weeks before Christmas) with the help of an Advent wreath:
- Make an Advent wreath. If you do not own an Advent wreath, make your own as a family. You’ll find instructions for making all sorts of Advent wreaths online; see below for links.
- Bless your Advent wreath, nativity scene, and Christmas tree. The U.S. Catholic bishops provide blessings for Advent wreaths, nativity scenes (mangers), and Christmas trees at their website and in Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers (USCCB Publishing).
- Sing Advent songs. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is an ancient hymn traditionally sung during Advent. (Consider explaining the meaning of the words to your children as you teach them this song.) Look through your parish’s hymnal or see the links below for other Advent hymns.
- Chant or read the O Antiphons. The O Antiphons are short, chanted prayers that are traditionally prayed in the evening during the last seven days of Advent (from December 17 through 23). You can find the O Antiphons in Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers and at the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- Use Advent prayer resources. Catholic parishes typically offer a wealth of Advent prayer resources for free or a small fee. You can find additional resources at most major Catholic publishers and the USCCB Advent website.
Talk: What’s an Advent wreath, anyway?
Advent wreaths usually consist of four candles, three violet and one rose, set in a circular wreath (usually made of evergreen branches). One candle is lit for each Sunday of Advent, with the rose candle being lit on the third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for “rejoice”). The violet (or purple) candles represent the penance and sacrifice we undertake to help us prepare for the Lord’s coming at Christmas; the rose candle represents the rejoicing of the faithful at the mid-point of Advent.
- Catechism 524
- Advent family resources from AmericanCatholic.org
A wealth of information and resources for Advent.
- USCCB Advent website
An online Advent calendar, ideas for celebrating Advent, blessings, and more.
Celebrate: Make your own Advent wreath
Here are some links to external websites that offer creative Advent wreath instructions:
How to Make Your Own Wreath
Complete instructions for several different types of wreaths from CatholicCulture.com.
Loyola Press: Advent wreath instructions and printable handouts
Here you’ll not only find instructions for making an Advent wreath, but printable handouts containing a short history of the Advent wreath and blessings and prayers for the Advent wreath.
Journey To Bethlehem Advent Candleholder
Advent wreath is crafted of resin with a gold wash finish and brass candle cups. Includes four – 10″ x 3/4″ candles (Three purple, one pink) and an Advent pamphlet. 10 1/2″ diam. X 2 1/2″ high.