I remember waiting for the mail when I was in my late teens. I had a boyfriend in Canada and we wrote to each other for 2 years. Our hand written letters would take about two weeks each way. They would be several pages long and I’d read his over and over while I waited for the next letter to arrive.
These days, the idea of having to wait for anything is most unsavoury. No one likes waiting for a train or in a queue for the check out. Hardly anyone waits at home for dough to rise or for clothes to dry on the line. Advertising is littered with words like ‘instant’, ‘fast track’, ‘express’, ‘tap’, ‘click’ and ’24/7′. Around the clock we have immediate access to movies, books, music, food, messages, news and money.
But is waiting always bad for us?
“…isn’t waiting itself and longing a wonder, being played on by wind, sun, and shade?”Annie Dillard Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
As Annie suggests, perhaps there is something special about anticipation.
The season before Christmas is called Advent and for me Christmas isn’t completely Christmas without it. The word Advent comes from a Latin word which means ‘approaching’. It is a time of looking forward; of preparing for the celebration to come. It is also a time to reflect and remember.
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and we mark it by decorating our home with a Christmas Tree and an Advent Wreath. Each of the four Sundays focuses on a theme starting with Hope, then Peace, then Joy, then Love. Every Sunday a candle in the Advent Wreath is lit for each theme and we take time to reflect on what the words mean to us.
Our Advent Wreath was bought from Ebony and Ivy in Glenbrook a few years ago, but you could easily make your own. You can use any pliable branches or greenery from the garden and place them in a circle on a large round tray or platter. In the middle of the wreath place four red candles (Hope, Peace, Joy and Love) and then a white candle in the centre. The white candle is called the Christ candle and is lit on Christmas day along with the other four. The Advent Wreath makes a beautiful centrepiece for any table.
We also have a homemade Advent calendar of little cardboard boxes that count down the 24 days until Christmas. I write messages for each day and leave treats as well. My children are getting older but they still enjoy it.
We like having a Christmas tree and this year we found the loveliest tree made of woven vines and branches. Local artisan Branching Out Designs makes them here in the Blue Mountains and also runs workshops to show people how to make their own.
Here are some other options for eco-friendly Christmas Trees:
- A couple of large bare tree branches in a pot can look very chic and minimalist.
- Stack some of your favourite books in a tree formation.
- Make a tree shaped wall-hanging with branches and string.
- You could also buy a real potted tree each year and then find somewhere suitable to plant it. Getting a tree native to your area would be ideal.
- Also check out #ecochristmastree on Instagram for more ideas.
We had such fun decorating our tree today. Keeping decorations simple, spending less and being eco-friendly is important to me and thankfully my children are catching on. Here are some ideas:
- Instead of tinsel, make paper chains or bunting.
- Make your own wreath or garland from items in your garden.
- Make origami stars to hang on the tree or string some together.
- Felt is also an easy material for making tree ornaments.
- When buying ornaments or decorations look for those made from wood, ceramic, fabric, metal or paper.
- Buy local and fair trade!
One of the best decorations at Christmas is music. It sets the mood and reminds us about the Christmas stories and themes. There are many beautiful songs and compositions inspired by the Christmas season. Making a Christmas playlist is a great family activity.
Follow this link to listen to our Christmas compilation for 2019. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4V0PSEpncXPQyUcV7Jj6tB
Today is the first Sunday of Advent and the theme is Hope. I have been listening to this beautiful song about Hope sung by Katie Noonan:
What does Hope mean to you and what do you hope for?