Advent is the customary Christian celebration of the coming of Christ, traditionally counted down with a calendar, set of candles, or both. Technically, it's meant to be observed from the fourth Sunday before Christmas up until Christmas Eve, but many choose to begin their preparations as early as mid-November. Today there’s an abundance of wonderful seasonal décor ideas that you can implement in your home for the Advent season. With so many details to consider, creating that perfect winter aesthetic is an art form in itself –that’s why we've put together a little guide to ushering in the festive period in style.
Get the purple look
Begin by choosing a palette that will complement your property and general décor: Three colours should be enough. Reds and greens may be the quintessential Christmas colours, but purple is the official liturgical colour of Advent. This deep, rich shade can be contrasted beautifully with winter silvers, greys and whites to create a modern, sophisticated look.
Naturally inspired advent ideas can work to give a room understated warmth and old-fashioned charm. Fill apothecary jars with cranberries or silver beads, display a simple garland of dried orange slices, or lay an evergreen branch on the fireplace. These small details will add a Christmastime feel to a room without overpowering it. If you reside in a hot country, you may wish to take inspiration from the many Indian homes that swap firs for banana or mango trees and adorn their homes with candles and poinsettias.
Light is a key feature in any winter decorating scheme, so make full use of all the creative options available. The traditional Advent display of four candles can be used as an elegant centrepiece on a festive dining table, surrounding the candles with crimson berries or green pine needles. In China, colourful paper lanterns form a central part of the annual display, either in spherical or rectangular shapes. You can create a similar effect by replacing your electric outdoor lights with elegant lanterns, strategically placed around the edges of a patio.
When it comes to Advent calendars, seize the chance to put your own spin on the tradition. Numbered envelopes pinned onto a board can be filled with personalised small treats and gifts for your family. Alternatively, you could hang small fabric bags or wrapped parcels – one for each day of advent – from decorative branches to create your own charming Advent tree.
Variations of wreaths
The wreath, that most iconic of all holiday decorations, is also open to creative interpretation. Historically, these were made of evergreen branches like yew, fir or laurel and adorned with four candles, one for each week of Advent. Willow wreaths can be an elegant modern choice, while truly minimalist homes may wish to use a circular metal candleholder instead. Three purple candles and one pink represent penitence and rejoicing respectively, making them an ideal way to educate children about the historical meaning and importance of Advent.