The History of Advent
Advent is upon us! We in Sparkle Land are big fans of the Advent season. Although the season of Advent has its origins in Christianity, families of any faith tradition can incorporate the meaning of this time of year into their traditions and rituals. During Advent, when the days are getting darker and darker, we make time to intentionally spread the light of holiday cheer and goodwill. This often includes traditions and honored pastimes, such as creating and walking a winter spiral or organizing a lantern walk. At the core, Advent is about creating a sense of peace and preparation, and spreading light into the darkness.
Even if you are not connected to its Christian roots, the "waiting" component of counting the days leading up to Christmas can help slow the season down and inspire presence and connection to the small things. Cultivating a spirit of Advent can help us to ground in gratitude and appreciation for the loved ones and community around us. This is especially important during the holiday season, which can often seem full of non-stop activity and provide plenty of opportunities for burnout and stress. Whether you are already accustomed to traditional Advent celebrations or are interested in incorporating these elements into your own seasonal traditions, it can help to focus on a few simple preparations and anchors to help bring the celebration into your family’s days and weeks around holiday time.
Stories for Advent: Audio Advent Calendars
Here at Sparkle, we believe that Advent is also a time for inspiration, for helping others, and for community. Our Advent collections and Christmas stories are a great way to lean into these intentions. Each one tells a tale of Advent inspiration and helping others, of going beyond our own wants, and of a desire to bring joy to others. The Advent calendars include 25 stories — one for each day of Advent. You can explore the individual calendar collections here. Keep scrolling to read more about how to incorporate them into your days!
Waldorf-Inspired Advent Crafts and Projects
There’s nothing quite like hand-made crafts and projects to help get us set the tone and atmosphere as we move into holiday celebrations. The spirit of Advent provides the perfect foundation and opportunity for us to take a little time and some sweet moments to cultivate our intention for the season. You can explore them all! Read on to explore five of our favorite Waldorf-inspired crafts to support simple celebrations.
And if you find yourself or your littles itching for some more hands-on projects, we’ve got you covered! Each of our five Audio Advent Calendars also includes an entire 25-days of activities, recipes, or prompts to go along with the stories (link to).
Candy Cane Ornament Sewing Activity
This darling activity, created by our friend Nicole of Frontier Dreams, is a perfect opportunity to cultivate that sense of waiting and patience. It allows little ones to take part in handwork while creating something fun and festive. The natural materials and hand-stitching help little ones to connect to the natural world and also support fine motor development. Simple sewing projects are also a great way to help build confidence through play. This helps to enhance and provide a solid foundation for emotional and mental well-being.
And finally, age-appropriate sewing activities help teach kids patience and dedication while also tapping into creativity and imagination.
Stitched Snowflakes Cranberry Garlands
This craft hearkens back to the nostalgic tradition of stringing popcorn garlands. In America, this tradition caught on in the mid- to late-19th century as German immigrants and German Americans began to string garland during the season. They would dye the kernels and string in fruit and other edible pieces.
Part of what makes this tradition so charming is the use of natural and simple materials — and that’s what we’ve incorporated into the stitched snowflake and cranberry garland project! This craft also uses natural materials and provides little ones a moment to slow down and engage their senses (and support fine motor development) .
Winter Advent Nature Table
A winter or Advent nature table is a great way to bring nature-inspired learning right into your home. This can help children learn about and interact with the natural world in their everyday rhythms. Bringing a bit of nature inside is also a great way to bring an awareness and connection of the changing season too. You can also include nature-based crafts into your seasonal table.
Winter Advent Spiral
If you're near or involved with a Waldorf school, you can almost guarantee there will be a Winter Spiral or Advent Spiral in late November or early December. This "spiraling" represents going inward during the darkest days of the year and kindling your own inner light. For us, where the winter is dark and long, it's a significant act.
You can bring to yours whatever feels significant to you in this time of year — whether that be a celebration of the winter solstice, or an acknowledgement of the coming of Christmas, or simply the joy of walking through life's journey with family and friends.
We hope you enjoy trying some of these Waldorf-inspired Advent celebration ideas! We’d love to see your own moments of family celebration, so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
About the Author
Jessica is a content creator, writer, strategist, and vintage pyrex collector. She has a passion for facilitating authentic connection, whether that's through her work at Sparkle Stories or her songwriting.