Blessed Childhood, especially at Christmastime, included Advent Wreaths and Calendars. Happily Married with children later, it was easy to carry on such glowing customs and fill the house with all the good things in preparation for the Winter Holiday !
The Advent Wreath is perfect for homes with young children, and if candles are a safety issue, you can get non-flaming ones, but I simply stay alert - they are lit, honored and then extinguished, always with adults present. And soon the children are old enough and can even help light them - adding the appreciation of the children's growth to the event - it is all symbols!
Advent, itself is a commemoration of the ages and ages that mankind was urged to wait in darkness, and worked hard finding bits of the light to prepare for the Coming of the Messaiah - at Christmas, through our sharing of Him in Communion , to the Parousia, or Second Coming , yet to be !
The Advent Wreath as we know it today was the creation of a Priest in 1839, to help deal with wiggly little ones, enthusiastic for the coming of Christmas.
At our home for over 40 years now, this wonderful permanent brass wreath is brought out and shined, and sometimes we add some evergreen boughs around it. Our home in those years was a true Holly House, surrounded by the shrubs - since we'd begun our married life with a Christmas Wedding - and this one has bells for berries, and one of the leaves snuffs the candles afterward. It supports the Four candles lit at the four Sundays of Advent, in certain order and at every suppertime with prayer.
The Stag at the center holds the CHRISTMAS CANDLE, and both are symbols of the Christ. The Candle is always large enough to be lit each day thru the Christmas holidays until the Epiphany on January 6th. It is always white and the wick always "virgin" - never lit before Christmas. The Stag is also a Jesus symbol, especially among Irish since the stag will route the Irish archenemy, snakes - along with the Irish icon, Saint Patrick; "the Deers's Cry" his famous Lorica, calls to the symbol of the Christ - the stag.
The Irish French and Polish American culture is ours and so we chose the style to suit it. So think and have fun choosing ones that symbolize YOUR family's way.
Next, after some prayer for guidance for a moment, look online for a nice presentation of Advent Wreath Prayers and Liturgy. This one is from Loyala Press
Gather your family at some regular time - before , during or after the evening meal, and at the first week of Advent, light only one of the purple candles....second week two purple candles, third week is Gaudete Sunday and so the two purple candles are now joined by lighting the pink or rose one...then finally at the Fourth Week of Advent all four candles - three purple and one rose are lit, and each evening the candles and prayer are offered to prepare for Christmas. JUBILANT - the four candles are now taken away and the one large White candle in the center Reigns - The Savior Christ is Born and we celebrate in prayer and song and gifts and treats and fun social events and fine foods and more....until January 6th when the candle is put away and we thank God for one more Lovely Winter Holiday and its bounty of the spirit to warm us till Spring!
There is the feeling of immersion in the spirit of the Birth of the Messiah and a beautiful sense of family spirit growth and faith formation...no matter the faith. Such traditions help us to develop a very special sense of the spirit, of personhood and quality of life.
The Candle set is found at churches and at Amazon for very little cash - the large white one I always buy specially - this one is beeswax and elegant, but any good white candle is fine - also the large broad pillar candles that stand alone - all that is important is that it be white and never lit before. So you will want to use it up at special moments thru the year, so it is all gone by next Advent season.
p.s. the pedestal is mine and unique - not required; you can probably do a search for wizard pedestal and find some like it...... but to me it is a holyman and passionately supportive spirit - like Gandalf, Tim Cook from Apple and all Wizards who uphold the best.
I bought it on impulse and am not silly, so I looked at it , wondering what I was going to do with it and it has been busy ever since. Not always lit...but....When Advent is done the Christmas Tree takes its place. My apartment sized tree is a dazzler and takes tending and delights me and never dies from house heat before the holiday is done ! But the pedestal then gets set to one side till the next holiday - soon displaying a fancy Valentine, then the Easter Egg display and later flags and pumpkins. LIFE - it's about life - and please enjoy my wish for a Happy Holiday to you.