poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Advent

getting ready for Christmas #3 – a countdown to Christmas

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In our house, we usually do a countdown to Christmas.  Ours is a countdown through Advent, beginning on the first Sunday in Advent and marking off the days, one at a time.

Most years, I have a Jesse tree, a tradition in some Christian homes.  This celebrates the long genealogy of Jesus who was of the house of Jesse, the father of David.  When my son was little, we had bread-dough ornaments each illustrating Biblical events.  When he grew older, and as the ornaments started to show their age, I put red and green ribbons on our Jesse tree.  The Jesse tree itself is a two to three foot tall branch from a birch tree.  A memory I have through the years is of ironing those ribbons to remove the wrinkles of the year gone by.


We also have a fabric Advent calendar with pockets for small treats.  Most years we put mint sticks in each pocket.  This year we couldn’t find our usual mint sticks, so we wrapped sticks of chocolate, one for each day in the calendar.



This year, I decided to create something new to use for our countdown.  On Pinterest, I have seen several examples of countdown ornaments created from tags embellished with various trinkets.  So I made twenty-five of these, since this year Advent and December both began on December 1st.




I printed tags with the numbers spelled out and fixed a small memento to each one.  Most of these are trinkets I have kept in odd drawers over the years – mismatched earrings, buttons, acorns, feathers, shells, Christmas pins and so on.  I threaded a ribbon through a hole punched in the tag.  Each day since December 1, I have hung a new ornament, tying them to the bar of a drying rack we have in the living room.




The ornaments are pretty and remind me of the days ahead and the days that have come and gone.




Do you count down the days until Christmas????


Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

December 16, 2013 at 7:37 am

in the circle of the evergreen wreath

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Every year, during Advent, I either purchase or make a wreath of evergreens to celebrate the coming of Christmas.  Last year, making the wreath, I had a little help.  Zoë decided the perfect place to perch herself was within the circle of the wreath.

Our wreath materials were all obtained on our lake property.  The species we used for our wreath were:

  • White Pine (Pinus Strobus L.)
  • White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.)  also known as Arbor Vitae
  • Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.)
  • Common Juniper (Juniperus communis L.)  -the variety we used was too prickly and I won’t use it again.


At this time of Advent, we wait in the darkest days of the year for Christmas.  The wreath is one of the most endearing symbols of this wait.  Made of evergreens, it speaks to the concept of everlasting love.  To count down the Sundays before Christmas, we light purple and pink candles to symbolize ideas of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.   The lighted candles also represent bringing light into the world.

The wreath is another of those symbols borrowed from pagan times, when the circle represented the ever-changing seasons and the circle of life.  The evergreen stood for the part of life that survives the winter season and  candles symbolized light shining through darkness.



gathering green


in the space between solstice

and the whisper of stars

in a herded sky

daylight shrinks, always one hour

short of rested


in the thicket we gather

armloads, garlands of green

fragrances of cedar and pine

red dogwood twigs

stems of red berry, alder cones

curved boughs of fir


flexible as mattress coils, piled on ground

to rest, await brief

overlap, longest night

and feathering of angel down


watch, through the trees

the struggle

planet light

and pagan fire



© Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

December 5, 2012 at 7:05 am

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