Here's the recipe we used to make the ornaments. It's a good project to do with your children. One year we invited another family with small children over to make them with us, which was a lot of fun. That link has lots of lovely ideas for using the ornaments as gifts, and as decorations all year.
This doesn't look like much . . .
. . . but when I add fresh greenery and candles it'll be our Advent wreath.
Here's what it looked like a few years ago:
A year or two after we moved here a friend gave me a set of candles in the traditional colors -- three purple and one rose -- and I used that color for three or four years, but since white was our family's traditional color, some of the children were upset at this innovation (you know what rigid traditionalists children are!) and we've reverted to white the last few years. But yesterday one of the children asked for the purple and rose candles, so I ordered a set from Cokesbury.
And here's a great idea I found in the course of my research -- on Christmas Eve you can take out all the Advent-colored candles and put in white ones instead, then burn those for the twelve days of Christmas.
I don't know why I never thought of that myself. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?
Here's an earlier incarnation of our Advent wreath. It's a styrofoam wreath form with artificial greenery poked into it. I didn't use candle holders, I just worked the candles into the styrofoam. This wreath lasted about five years before it started falling apart.
I'm also working on a missal for us to use when lighting the candles during Evening Prayers on Sunday nights. The Advent wreath is a German tradition and as far as I can tell there isn't any particularly Anglican tradition surrounding it so each year I use the Daily Office in the Prayer Book for Scripture readings, but I also search the internet for ideas.
Much, much easier is putting together a missal for Thanksgiving since it's just Morning Prayers with the Litany of Thanksgiving. I made a Scribd document in 2011 that you can download and print if you're looking for something to use with your family.
If you'd like to know more about Advent, this article by Dennis Bracher was the most helpful to me when I first started learning about myself. The article concludes with a long list of Advent hymns, so be sure to check it out.
What about y'all? Are you planning anything special for Advent? Do you have any resources you'd like to share?