Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advent Candles

I'm a little late, but I've gotten my Advent candles onto the dining room table!

First let's get a few things out of the way, shall we?

Mom is recovering beautifully. She had several days of significant pain in which she needed a lot of care, but Daria and I were able to manage with no problems at all. Man-Cub and I even took our school things over to her house for a few days (another great thing about homeschooling--it's so portable) so I could be in her room in a flash whenever she blew her whistle. But now she's out and about, feeling stronger each week and optimistic that the procedure was a success.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Dharma & Co came and spent five days with us, everyone else arrived for Thanksgiving Day, and we had to bring a card table up from the basement and set it as an extension next to the dining room table and we were still crammed in there! But what a nice problem to have!

Many hands did indeed make light work, we sat down on time and everyone agreed that each dish was the best it's ever been! And cleanup was a breeze as I had decided to make things a little easier on myself and use plastic plates, cups, and "silverware". I managed to find nicer things so it didn't look quite so much like a silly picnic and, boy, was I glad when there weren't stacks and stacks of dishes to wash after preparing a feast like that!

I spent all of Black Friday sitting in our comfiest chair by the fire in my pajamas whiling time away with The Viking's laptop. Any time someone came in to ask me anything I simply replied, "I'm not here." It was the most relaxed I've been since August and it did me a world of good! The rest of the weekend we spent playing either Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit or Just Dance II. We'd wear ourselves out dancing in front of the TV and then collapse, huffing and puffing, and play a few rounds of Trivial Pursuit until we'd recovered enough to play another round of Just Dance. And every once in a while we'd take a pie or leftovers break. It was the best weekend ever.

But, as good things must, it all came to an end. The food was eaten and sisters had to go back home. And, lo! It was Advent! I made a few half-hearted attempts at being prepared for Advent before it actually started, but quickly realized I was going to have to allow myself to catch up. I simply needed a lot of recovery time and wasn't ready to switch gears that fast.

But it is now a new week, a new month and a new beginning of sorts. Mom is recovered, hockey season is over, Thanksgiving is gone and now we wait, expectantly, for Christmas. I'm not stressed about it. Two days before Thanksgiving I suddenly stopped caring so much. Not in a bad way, mind, just in a very sensible way. And I'm carrying that attitude into Advent and Christmas. Does it matter if I didn't light the first Advent candle until tonight, three days after the first Advent Sunday? Not really. Will it matter if I don't get the pantry cleaned out before Christmas dinner? Not at all. Will all the necessary tasks get done without me going insane? Yes they will.

So, I went to Michael's tonight to see if, by chance, they had anything I could use to hold Advent candles in a eye-catching manner of display. I'd been looking for wreaths and such for a few weeks and really liked this trinity knot one:

But I really wanted to be able to use five candles and incorporate some greenery so I kept looking.

In researching Advent customs in Sweden (The Viking's native land, albeit three generations ago) I came across several darling little items that I came very close to buying:

This one was the most dangerous.  I love it so much!
Apparently, in Sweden the Advent candles are white and the color red is very prominent.  I was enamored with the whole thing and rather mindful of how well any of these would fit into my red and white dining room.  But I waited, thinking I just might be able to make one of these on my own.

It was the Swedish candleholders that convinced me I wanted a more linear display than an actual wreath.  I also knew I wanted five candles instead of four.  I don't know why, I just do.  So off to Michael's I went with Daria in tow to see what I could see.

In the clearance aisle, I found this!  Can you see the crosses on it?  It's silvery metal, it has spaces for five candles and it was half price, marked down to $9 instead of $18!

It came with these votive cups, which Man-Cub so thoughtfully arranged for the photo shoot.

But I wasn't sure if I was going to use votives or tapers so I grabbed these taper holders as well, which at $1.99 each were the most expensive part of this project!

A thorough search of the sprays, picks, garlands and wreaths unearthed this garland with glittery berries and soft, velvety leaves, also half price at $3.50.

I just wrapped the garland around the thing in quite a haphazard kind of way.

And, despite looking in at least three different stores, I could not find the right color tapers anywhere so I dug out the votives I used last year and popped them into the votive cups.  I'm really not sure why the one on the end is shaped so strangely and differently from its neighbors...

And although it's a Wednesday night and the first Sunday in Advent was three days ago, I lit the first candle as well as the tapers at either end of the table.  And then I just sat there at the table, with my chin resting on my hands, gazing at the flame and being quiet.

I still intend to hit a few more places that may have candles (though I'm not sure I will revisit the one where the workers yelled, "We're CLOSED!" at me the moment I walked through the door they were too lazy to lock) to see if I can find appropriately-colored tapers but for now this is working very well (and for less than $25)!

It's beginning to look a lot like Advent!

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