Do you feel like you are already on the quickly spinning hamster wheel?

For many of us, the holidays are so busy we hardly have time to breathe.

I don’t think that is how Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be.  Do you?


Observing Advent :: Advent Candles - Hespe



Have you ever thought about observing Advent?

I’m not talking about the little calendar where you open the door each day in December as you countdown to Christmas. or even the very fun games and gifts and random acts of kindness that families can do together for Advent.

No, I’m thinking about observing Advent in a more quiet way.

Deciding right now to carve time out of the schedule to reset ourselves each day.

To contemplate the true meaning of Christmas.

To be in awe of God’s wonderful Gift to us and Whom we are celebrating.


Observing Advent :: White Candles & Eucalyptus - Herz-Allerliebst


Advent begins on Sunday, December 1 and concludes on Tuesday, December 24.

Now is the time to get everything ready for observing Advent.

(If you are reading this well after December 1st….just jump in and enjoy the blessing of observing Advent…even if only for a week.)


Observing Advent :: Advent Candles in Box - Kaleidoscope of Colors

Kaleidoscope of Colors


You know I love pretty decor and creating little moments in my home.

Setting up an Advent “wreath” is a wonderful way to have a spot for quietly observing Advent.

This is something you can do individually or as a family.

I confess that I am smitten with the nontraditional Advent Wreaths.

Actually, many of the ones here are not even wreaths, but a collection of four candles.  A single candle is to be lit each day of the first week of advent and then on the second Sunday, we light the second candle and then each daylight the first and second candle, adding in the third and the fourth on each of the following Sundays.

Some people use all white candles.  Red are more popular in the Scandinavian countries.  That is the tradition I knew growing up.  In observing Advent many people choose a set of three purple candles and pink candle for the symbolism.  Choose whichever is most meaningful to you.  Sometimes a fifth candle is added and lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  There is additional symbolism for having candles in a round wreath and using evergreens for the decoration.  If you find the symbolism helpful that is great, if not, don’t be constrained by it.

I encourage you to make your own arrangement of candles for observing Advent.  Or if you’re not inclined to make one, order a Fresh Balsam Advent Wreath with Candles here from Amazon.


Observing Advent :: Advent Candles in pretty bowls - Herz-Allerliebst


Now that you have an Advent wreath or a grouping of candles, what are you going to do?

If you like doing things digitally, go to Bible Gateway and sign up for one of their Christmas or Advent devotionals that will be delivered for FREE to your e-mail box beginning December 1.  If you sign up later…no problem….you should get your e-mail the next day for the appropriate day.

Edited:  I found another brief devotional that I am enjoying, you might like it too: Good News of Great Joy*

If you prefer to go through a special devotional book, might want order Ann Voskamp’s new book, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. It’s available in both hardcover and Kindle versions.  And there’s even a link to her website for readers who have purchased the book to download 25 beautiful ornaments to be used to make your own Jesse Tree, also.

This devotional with daily scriptures and prayers, Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen is especially good for contemplation.

Max Lucado is a popular modern storyteller.  His brief Celebrating Christmas with Jesus: An Advent Devotional is also available in paperback or Kindle form.

Amazon has many good resources for observing advent with children.  We all love the fairy tale of Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or Sinterklaas and have so much fun with that Christmas story, and many families love doing the Elf on the Shelf.   Why not do something different this year.  Something that will give a deeper meaning to Christmas and draw kids’ thoughts away from themselves and the gifts under the tree to the best gift ever given, Jesus.

I am an Amazon affiliate and I will be paid a small percentage for any of your purchases
through these links at Amazon. Thank you!


Observing Advent :: Advent Candles on Upturned Mugs - White as Linen

White as Linen

If you wish to “Pin” any of the images above, please be sure to click on the image first
so you can “Pin” at the source.  Thank you.


Maybe this sounds like one more thing to do.  

That’s certainly not my intent.

Instead, I believe that when we set aside time for quietly observing Advent we somehow gain more time in our days and more peace in our hearts.  Will you join me in it?


Observing Advent :: Ideas :: Taking Time to Breathe ::

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Do you and/or your family have a tradition of observing Advent?
I’d love to hear about it.


Thank you for stopping by today.
I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.


Wishing you an Extraordinary Christmas Season!


I’d be delighted if you’d share the goodness here with your friends.

To receive FREE bits of inspiration like this
in your inbox or reader, subscribe now.

*Good News of Great Joy  © Desiring God. Website:


  1. Gwen says

    I always have four Sundays of Advent and then the Christ Candle for Christmas Day. I did not grow up doing this tradition but in the ’80’s our church met for a Sunday night with wooden forms and glue guns and staple guns and bags of greenery from our yards and families made our wreaths together. We were told to use the pink and purple tapers then easy to find. So when Pinterest came and blogs and I found out I could be liberal and use other candles I felt so silly!! I’ve continued doing a family advent reading all my children’s lives and til they left home, long before I knew about candles. Now I use various ideas for our advent candles. I bought white in a tall jar but these were scented and had a gold edge. Ill use my fancy Christ Candle in the middle. I bought my book suggested by our pastor. Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room. By Nancy Guthrie plus I have one of verses too. Oh how I love Jesus.

    • Diane says

      Gwen, I love that you’ve been enjoying a Advent tradition for so long. The best thing about it is there is no ONE way…it can change as we do…especially since the One we celebrate never changes. [hugs]

  2. Debbi Saunders says

    Hi Diane, I will be joining you and what a wonderful way to observe the real meaning of Christmas by the ritual of lighting the candles daily and spending that quiet time just “being” with the Lord!!!

    • Diane says

      Oh Debbie…I’m so glad you’ll be doing this too. I really do believe that it will make this time richer and more meaningful and quiet. I look forward to hearing how you’re blessed. [hugs]

  3. Such a lovely idea. I’ve been pinning non-traditional advent wreaths this year as I’d like to try something new. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Diane says

      I guess we were on the same pipeline, Julie! 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Julie! I guess we’re both on the same wavelength. 🙂
      May you find time of quiet and joy in your observation of Advent.

  4. Mel says

    I just love the simplicity of the first and third candle arrangements. I might have to borrow the concept with the tin numbers.
    We don’t observe Advent in our home but the deep rooted traditions and symbolism are something that would connect my heart to the purpose. There’s something about rituals/traditions that grounds me.

    • Diane says

      I really like the old box with the mason jars…so easy to do…and safe. [wink] I’m wondering how to make my own tin tags…we’ll see.
      There is really something about traditions. From my college years on I was pretty non traditional. As time has gone on I’ve found them to be helpful. It’s interesting how they are critical in our lives and as you say, root or ground us.

  5. I love these ideas! I’m pinning for sure! I had some advent candles in my Amazon cart right now because I couldn’t find the colored candles in the store, but after seeing this…why? I can just use any color and still have the same concept. Thanks!

    • Diane says

      Yay!! How fun is it that you ran across my post. Glad I could help! [wink]
      Wishing you a blessed season of Advent, Erin!

  6. Sandy says

    Love the simplicity, wonderful ideal.

    • Diane says

      Life is complicated enough during the holidays….we so need simplicity and peace, don’t we Sandy?
      Thanks for your kind thoughts.
      May your new week be Extraordinary!

  7. Thanks for sharing with us on Marvelous Monday today! I’m pinning to my MM board.

    • Diane says

      Awww…Deb…you just put the biggest smile on my face. Thanks!! 😀

  8. Linda says

    Beautiful job with Advent – love the photos!

    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Linda! Isn’t it wonderful to be able to celebrate the reason for the season?
      May your Advent be full of anticipation. 🙂

  9. Nice post! I agree that taking some moments to observe Advent brings some peace to the holiday season. I just posted an Advent prayer tip that works even when you’re crazy-busy; I hope you’ll check it out!

    We have an Advent wreath on our dining table. This year, the rest of the family just recently told me how they don’t like me to read while they’re at the table because they feel like I’m not paying attention to them, so I resolved to read only when I’m eating alone–just in time for the Advent wreath to remind me by making no space for a newspaper on the table. 😀

    We also “make a soft bed for baby Jesus” by writing kind things we did or saw other people do on strips of yellow paper. We set up the nativity scene on the table, except for the angel and Jesus who go up on the bookshelf, and the yellow paper “hay” creates the manger. On Christmas Eve we place Jesus on the hay.

    • Diane says

      Isn’t it interesting how the Advent wreath can “get in the way” of the paper? 😉 What a great reminder of keeping the perspective on what’s important.
      I love your idea for making a “soft bed for baby Jesus” with the kindnesses written down on yellow paper strips. Truly a gift to Jesus.
      Thanks for taking the time to pop over and leave your thoughtful remarks Becca!
      May you have an Extraordinary Advent.

  10. So many simple and beautiful ways to celebrate the season of Advent.

    – The Tablescaper

  11. What a lovely post and sentiment. I like the non-traditional candles as well. Time to change my Advent calendar for today!

    • Diane says

      You are so sweet, Jennie….thank you!!!
      Enjoy your observance of Advent, too!
      Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!

  12. Sandi says

    Hi Diane,
    I always helped my hubby with the Advent service in our church. It was an event I looked forward to every year. Here at home, I have celebrated it as well but not this year. I have been very busy getting my mother settled in her new Home. The pastor is celebrating it at our church however which is lovely. Thanks for sharing at my HOME.


    • Diane says

      Settling your mom in is a lot of work. But, I’m sure that you are blessing her even more than you know.

  13. (found you on thrifty thursday )
    I LOVE these simple ideas for Advent wreaths! We have a tradition one, but I think I like these better!

    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Mary!!
      Today, I finally posted the “wreath” that I just put together if you are interested.
      May your weekend be extraordinarily blessed!!

  14. I truly love that you are sticking with observing it and not just doing the countdown calender with all the fun things inside. Spending that time each day is so important, not only during advent, but everyday. Thank you for linking this up to Thrifty Thursday, I truly enjoyed reading it.

    • Diane says

      You have no idea how encouraging your words are to me today, Ruth. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and leave your thoughts.
      May your Advent be filled with joyful anticipation. 🙂

  15. Very nice! The holidays get so busy, we sometimes forget the true meaning.

    • Diane says

      Oh isn’t that too true. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stuff and forget the why.
      May your Advent be filled with wonder and expectation, Bethany. 🙂

  16. My family never lighted Advent candles but I like the way it can help us focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Thanks for linking to TTF!

    • Diane says

      Sometimes it’s the little rituals we create in our lives that help us pause.
      Thanks for your thoughts, Linda. May your Advent be filled with moments of joyful anticipation.

  17. Diane, these are beautiful Advent ideas. I also love and do Advent each year. At some point I realized that it didn’t have to be what I thought of as perfect. And so I change it up every year. What it represents and we get out of it is the most important part. thank you for sharing with us at TTF.

    • Diane says

      Sometimes we try too hard, don’t we. At least I am so guilty of that. 😉
      I’m glad you have found a way to observe Advent that works for you. Doing it is really what’s important in the end. 😉
      Thanks for your thoughtful remarks, Diann.

  18. tammy says

    Stopping by to let you know you have been featured over at One More Time Events… Party is up… hope to see you again this week…Thank you for sharing!… Hugs, Tammy

    • Diane says

      I am so grateful for the props Tammy!
      May your Advent be Extraordinary!

  19. Cindy says

    We used to do this when the kids were young. Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    • Diane says

      What lovely memories you created, for sure!

  20. Kathy says

    I like this idea – beautiful! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  21. A beautiful post, Diane! Thanks for the wealth of ideas and for the encouragement to stop and savor the Advent season. Even though we’re halfway through December, I’m featuring your post at today’s Grace at Home party. Never too late to start! 🙂

    • Diane says

      Oh Richella…you are so right…it is not too late to start. The closer we get the richer the moments are.
      Thank you so much for the feature. I am so honored and blessed.

  22. Janet says

    I’ve never been to your site before, you may just have yourself a new follower. Advent is a special time and I love the different candle arrangements you’ve shared. Thank you. And have a very Merry Christmas.

    • Diane says

      Welcome Janet! I’m thrilled to have you stop by and introduce yourself.
      Thank you for your kind remarks. 🙂
      May you and yours have the most Extraordinary Christmas as well.

  23. Gwen says

    Creating an advent activity for families in our Kids Ministry at church. Love the way you’ve written this and the photos you’ve provided. Will be sharing and giving your credit. Families with little ones feel the stress of “one more thing” and it’s my hope to make this a manageable way to celebrate and anticipate.

    • Gwen, you totally made my day!! My husband was a children’s pastor for 12 years and each year I organized/created all the things related to observing Advent for our elementary kids and families. To think that this post is helpful to you and your ministry and your families mean so much to me. Families don’t need ‘one more thing’ but they do so badly need to add meaning and purpose to the season that resonates with their heart and lifestyle (and hopefully can become a grounding tradition). God bless you in your important ministry!


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