One of the traditional symbols of Advent is the Advent wreath. An Advent wreath is superficially similar to the kind of wreath you might hang on your door this time of year, in that it consists largely off pine boughs arranged in a circle, but instead of hanging vertically, it lies horizontally. The other things that set an Advent wreath apart from a regular Christmas wreaths are candles. Four of them, rising from the wreath. In the Presbyterian churches I've attended, there are three purple candles and one rose. Other denominations use all purple, or just plain white. Some churches, including mine, add a fifth candle, a white one, in the center of the wreath, representing Christ. On the first Sunday in Advent, one candle is lit; on the second, two; and so on. If one of the candles is rose, that one is lit on the third Sunday. The Christ candle, if there is one, is lit on Christmas Eve.
Anyway, the point of all this is that last night, my sister, my nephew, and I made an Advent wreath! Last Sunday, which is to say two Sundays ago, my sister came to my church to hear me make my debut as part of the Christ Presbyterian bell choir. There was an announcement in the bulletin about an Advent wreath-making event that would be held the following Sunday, i.e. yesterday. She's not normally a church-goer, but she thought it would be something my nephew would enjoy.
And, she was right! We pretty much gave him free rein to do whatever he liked with it, so he picked out the decorations, trimmed the pine boughs, and situated them where he wanted. (Rather than trying to bind large boughs together into a ring, which would have been difficult for the kids, we used those highly absorbent green foam blocks, and had the kids cut smaller branches of the large boughs and stick them into the foam. Plus, these will last longer than a "real" wreath, because they can be kept watered.) And this is what we ended up with:
I like it! It's perhaps a little taller and more mound-shaped than a traditional advent wreath, but that's a function of the size of the green foam block we used as a base. MJ wanted to hide as much it as possible. And see that bow, and the pine cones? I attached those. After being told where to put them, of course. Like I said, MJ was running the show. That being the case, it went home with him and my sister. Just as well; I probably would have forgotten to keep it watered.