Black Forest Traditional: Advent Wreath

by Marita
(Germany)

Our Advent wreath on the first Sunday of Advent

Our Advent wreath on the first Sunday of Advent

Our Advent wreath on the first Sunday of Advent
Advent table set for Sunday lunch
Making a wreath around a straw core
Almost done, just tucking the last bits in!

Every year, about five weeks before Christmas, the women in my small village at the foot of the Black Forest come together to make Advent wreaths and garlands.


This group has been in existence for 30 years, and some of the most senior members would like to hand over to a new generation.

But many young women have demanding jobs and no spare time, and so the group is slowly getting smaller.

The most experienced women are incredibly quick at wreath making. Their hands just fly. In the time it takes me to create one Advent wreath, they easily finish two or three!





Some of the wreaths are made of fir sprigs, others contain many different kinds of evergreens. Sometimes they are decorated with natural ornaments like ivy flowers, rose hips, crab apples or pine cones. Some of the wreaths are finished off with 4 Advent candles.




It's a great challenge - and a great joy - to be part of this event!

On the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent we hold a bazaar with coffee and cake. And we sell all the wreaths, garlands and swags. There is never a single one left over. Part of the proceeds are donated to a humanitarian project, and the other part goes to the local parish.

And next year, I hope that most of the women will be back ...


› Black Forest Traditional: Advent Wreath


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Beautiful ...
by: Stella

... I really like the Old-World look of this.

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How to decorate an Advent wreath (Ellen)
by: Marita

You can twist thin wire around the bottom end of a pine cone, and then thread it into the wreath. You can also make little bundles of things (like crab apple 'bouquets') and then tack the end into the core with a large staple.

Hot-melt guns are very popular for gluing small elements in/onto the wreath. I don't like the glue pistol that much, I prefer to thread everything and then tie it into the wreath.

When I was younger, we used to wind red ribbon around the wreath for decoration. In that case, you could fix any additional decoration to the ribbon.

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How can I spruce up a simple green wreath?
by: Ellen

I'm thinking of buying a simple evergreen wreath to decorate it myself. But how do I fix natural pine cones and crab apples into place? (They don't come pre-wired.)

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Finishing a wreath (Liz)
by: Marita

Yes, it is quite fiddly. There are two ways:

1. You coax the last sprigs under and between the first ones until everything holds together and you can't see the beginning any more. Use a few metal staples to hold unruly twigs down.

2. You prepare a bushel and tie it together with wire, so you can push it under the first twigs at the end. Then you start the wreath by tying the wire around the very back ends of the first twigs so that there is a lot of room under them. At the end you insert the prepared bushel into that space and tie it down as well as you can.

In any case it is tricky and requires a lot of experience (or, in my case, luck).

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How do you finish a wreath?
by: Liz

I've always wondered how you get a wreath to look nice and finished. It must be fiddly. How do you do it?

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Tablecloth
by: Marita

Thank you! The red and white fabric is a runner (on top of a white tablecloth). It's pure linen and not really antique, maybe 1920s or 30s. It belonged to my mother-in-law and had never been used. You can probably find similar runners on flea markets in Germany, France, Switzerland or Italy.

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Lovely story & photos!
by: Renate

Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and background story, Marita! I also love your 'purist' table decoration, it really brings out the simple beauty of the wreath and the antique-looking tablecloth. (Is it actually antique? Where can people get something like this?)

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