A large part of simplifying Christmas for me is making it all about homemade. Homemade decorations and homemade gifts I am a great believer in that the simpler things are, the more effective they are.
One of the main ways we start the festive season is by making our advent crown or wreath. This is one of the many things I remember doing as a child, however, I remember the Blue Peter version of wire coat hangers, tinsel and open flames!!
What I have tried to do here is design one that all the family can join in making and can be burnt at the dinner table each Sunday with supervision.
Circle of card/I have used a cake tray under it as it is solid
Cookie cutter in a star shape
4 tea light or votive holders and candles (my holders were 89p for four from Ikea) and the candles (£1.99 for 12 from Ikea)
Gold spray (£1.00 at Poundworld)
Make a batch of salt dough
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of warm water
I also add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make the final decoration harder.
Mix the flour, salt and lemon juice adding water until you get a firm dough. Then knead the dough. The more you kneed the more pliable the dough will become.
We roll out the dough and cut out our decorations with a cookie cutter. You can keep any the remaining dough in a bag in the fridge to make Christmas Decorations.
Using some cookie cutter in star shapes cut out a some and bake, we used two different sizes. I bake our dough at the lowest oven temperature for 3 hours, then leave overnight before we paint and decorate them.
When completely dry paint them gold and cover one side in glitter.
Paint the base dark green and allow to dry – I used cardboard glued to a cake board
I also covered the card in PVA glue once the pain had dried.
Stick your stars to the base allow room for your 4 tea light or votive holders.
I used three purple and one pink candle, but you could always paint your votive holders or alternatively use coloured ribbon round the outside.
Place your candle holders on the base and add some greenery around it. I put mine on a cake stand on the table.
You can also add a white candle in the centre on Christmas Day. I have just added a couple of pine cones sprayed lightly in gold spray from the poundshop and added any left over salt dough stars we had.
I use the time making the wreath to discuss with the minimads the significance of an advent crown.
A advent wreath is traditionally made of evergreen material to signify eternal life and of renewal.
The circle is to remind us of God, of his endless mercy and eternity with no beginning or no end.
The candles signify the light of God coming in to the world through his son Jesus Christ.
I want advent to be a time of reflection and preparation for the arrival of Jesus on Christmas Day.
When I was growing up my dad always told me we were allowed four gifts, one you want, one you need, one to eat and one to read, which is a really great strategy and one that we follow with the boys, even though they seem to want everything they see on the television. So when Oxfam asked me to help publize their oxfam unwrapped gift, I was overjoyed to help.
Looking at things that would appeal to the boys I was drawn to the fertiliser, which only costs £5.00.
It is Amazing what you can do with a load of old manure. Add in some worms and a bit of food waste and you’ve got the perfect recipe for crop-boosting fertiliser – helping communities to grow loads more fruit and veg to eat and sell. Mighty-fine muck.
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