Advent Wreath on a Budget
In congregations that have tight budgets, making Advent wreaths with families may be out of reach. While making wreaths is a wonderful parish life event, buying the foam inserts, ring trays, five candles and four stakes can add up to a hefty sum. At our church, The Falls Church Episcopal, we developed an alternative solution that is gentle on our budgets and impactful on our children’s formation.
“The 99¢ Advent Wreath” connects children with Christian tradition through everyday, familiar materials from their lives. Unlike a family Advent wreath, this wreath is personal and child palm-sized – just right for a bedside table or desk. In 2015, we created wreath-making kits and gave one to each child in the congregation to make and use at home.
While parental supervision is required with the flames, our Advent wreaths are designed to truly be a child’s own creation and personal contemplative practice for the entire the Advent season.
All elements of the wreath kits are available at craft stores or on Amazon. Here are the pieces:
- Mini purple bag: reminiscent of a birthday party favor bag
- 2″ x 2″ square piece of felt: use as the base of the wreath
- White votive candle: serves as the Christ candle in the center
- Green modeling clay (2 oz.): wraps around the Christ candle
- Purple birthday candles (3) and pink birthday candle (1): serve as the Advent candles
- Small bag of glitter: a touch of joyous whimsy to decorate the green clay ring
- Prayer scroll: simple, child-friendly prayers of supplication and gratitude to guide the child through the Advent season
Text for the Prayer Scroll
Here is what we printed on each scroll, and included with each wreath set:
Advent is our purple season when we prepare for the arrival of Jesus! An Advent wreath can help you get ready. Build a wreath with your kit and follow along below:
First Sunday – Advent I: Light the first purple candle and pray
Loving God, thank you for the light. Help us help the light grow. Amen
Blow it out!
Second Sunday – Advent II: Light the first and second purple candles and pray
Faithful God, thank you for faith. Help us make our faith grow. Amen
Blow them out!
Third Sunday – Advent III: Light the first and second purple candles and the pink candle, and pray
Joyful God, thank you for joy. Help us make joy grow. Amen
Blow them out!
Fourth Sunday – Advent IV: Light all purple and pink candles, and pray
Peaceful God, thank you for peace. Help us help peace grow. Amen
Blow them out!
Dec 24th Christmas Eve: Light all purple and pink candles and the white Christ candle, and pray
Living God, thank you for coming to us as a baby. Help us to live with light, faith, joy, and peace. Amen
Blow them out and shout MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Dana Hale, at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Oak Hill, VA, provides prayers on a single sheet that can be folded to fit into the bag and then left next to the wreath, for easy reading.
Nina Bacas is the Associate for Parish Life and Families at The Falls Church Episcopal in Falls Church, Virginia, and a 5th/6th grade religion teacher at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. She earned her M.A. in Christian Formation from Virginia Theological Seminary in 2015. In her free time, Nina likes to play with her dogs (and kids) and loves to cook for large crowds.
The Rev. Kelly Moughty is the Associate Rector and Youth Minister at The Falls Church Episcopal in Falls Church, Virginia. She earned her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School in 2012. In her free time, Kelly also likes to play with her new dog, and watch Netflix while her husband does most of the cooking.
Originally published by Building Faith: A ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary November 9, 2016.