"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Monday, 28 November 2011


This year I decided to do a different type of Advents kranz.  A kranz is a wreath in German - and at this time of year is obviously a Christmas wreath.

It is, for me, symbolical of both the circle of life which begins with birth of a baby and the Crown of Thorns that was placed on Christ's head at his crucifixion.  It is an evergreen wreath and to which four candles are added.  One of the candles are lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas, with all four candles being lit on the night of Christmas Eve - which, due to RMan's family roots, is when we celebrate Christmas.  (But MKid, as did our two, has a special Father Christmas gift under the tree on Christmas morning.  We did that in order to combine my English roots and heritage, with RMan's German roots and heritage.  It also allowed the children to participate in the "guess what I found under the tree" conversations with their peers / friends, and helped to prevent their feeling left out when their friends talked about Christmas morning.) 

Last year I made an indigenous wreath in a florist circle...
... and, as happy as I was with it, I found that moving / filling the base with water was a hassle - and messy LOL  And the candles kept falling over...

So this year I decided to make something different.

A square wreath!?

Most importantly,  it is one which I can easily transport to the farm for MKid's sake - we may be in an out of ordinary location for this our first Christmas on the farm, but that doesn't mean we can't have the normal trappings and traditional decorations.

This year, for RMan's sake and in memory of his late father who recently passed away, I have kept the conifer / evergreen theme.  But. I also like a bit of colour, so a couple of geranium flowers provided just what I needed.  Then a whimsical hint of Angel's Hair and I'm done.

We lit it last night, being the first Sunday in Advent.  And I like the wreath.  I also like being able to adapt each year to suit my whim.

Which one do you prefer?

But, for me, like so many others, Christmas is completely about celebrating birth, family time and continuing traditions.  It wouldn't be the same without them.  So, if I am able to maintain this particular tradition, whilst giving it a tweak now and then, what's the harm?  :)


Leigh said...

I'm a great lover of traditions as a way to help a family grow closer together over the years. After all, when we think back on our childhoods, it's usually the things we did every year as a family that we remember.

I love the Advent wreath tradition (we do it too) but I think it's having a wreath and it's symbolism that are important. It can be a tradition to have a different wreath every year! I like your wreaths equally. :)

John said...

I think the wreath is a neat thing. Christmas traditions seem to have been lost over the years. The true meaning of Christmas has been lost to commercialism. We try to keep our Christmas as simple as possible. Some years we make all of our gifts. This year we visited a craft show and was able to get most everything there. None of it is made in China! It is what is in your heart that counts.

Dani said...

Leigh - Thank you. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas for me without the traditions :) It's not the gifts - it's the whole atmosphere, excitement, planning and anticipation.

John - Exactly - Christmas is of and from the heart :)

Jane said...

I like them all. I think Christmas has become to 'predictable' in some of the decorations and I like to see that people still think a little outside the norm. That is what makes it special.

frann said...

Very nice! I need to get busy and make one!

Elephant's Eye said...

We used to battle to attach candles to an evergreen Swiss wreath, unless we wimped out and bought a shop one. I do love my glass Advent wreath. Solves the wobbly candle problem.

Mrs. Mac said...

This is such a wonderful tradition. Years ago, when I homeschooled my kids, we would celebrate a different heritage at Christmas (German, English,Irish & Danish) each year. I do think the Advent wreath ties them in beautifully. Once we learned about Hanukkah, made a menorah, played games on a dreidel and cooked latkes (potato pancakes), etc.
I miss those days.

Dani said...

Jane - Thanks. Have to say that I'd love a wander along the European streets for a full on dose of Christmas decorations.

Here they just put up a couple of lights.

I remember in England the whole atmosphere of the cold weather, warm lights shining out from the shops and the shop window displays creating such an wonderful run up to Christmas :)

Frann - Thanks

Diana - Yup, been there, done that LOL Your Advent wreath is beautiful - I don't have any roses in my garden

Mrs Mac - How wonderful that your kids were exposed to all those different heritages. I'm sure they have wonderful memories. I wonder which one sticks out most / was the favourite...?

Mrs. Mac said...

I'm not sure which one was the favorite .. but I also remember a Swedish family arriving at our doorstep at 5:00 AM with their little girl dressed up as St. Lucia .. (battery) candle wreath and all ablaze in her hair .. white dress and a lovely tray of saffron buns & coffee. What a treat!

Dani said...

Mrs Mac - That sounds delightful, The little one must've been a wonderful sight :)

Deb said...

Love the wreath idea. We are starting a few new traditions this year that put more of the focus on Jesus. We are also dropping some that dont mean as much to us so we can avoid some of the business and stress of the season. One of the ones we are staring is a candle wreath. I think it is just beautiful.

Dani said...

Deb - Thank you. I am finding that the simpler the more appealing.

And leaving the serious decoration / colour for the Christmas Tree :)