Most of us are familiar with Advent calendars-the tradition of Advent actually goes well beyond calendars, and ultimately signals a time of preparation and peace-making in preparation for Christmas, or whichever Winter time holiday your family celebrates. Advent actually means "that which is coming", and is recognized within the Waldorf tradition as a period of stillness; of waiting in anticipation for the inevitable excitement of late December.
Ever a proponent of taking the opportunity to slow down, turn inward, and cultivate peace, I have wonderfully sweet memories of celebrating Advent when my children were in Waldorf school and felt warmly nostalgic as I set out to recreate one of those traditions this week--the Advent Spiral.
Walking a candlelit spiral is a common Yuletide practice, traditionally done during the first week of Advent (which begins on November 30th) but also associated with the Winter Solstice, as the ritual symbolizes welcoming the light back amidst the time of the year when the days are the shortest and the light is the thinnest.
Making an Advent Spiral is a wonderfully magical tradition that I encourage you to introduce to your family and friends this year. I find that during the chaos of Holiday time, prioritizing rituals that encourage celebration while also fostering mindfulness, peace, and simplicity really help to ground little ones and return to a sense of natural rhythm.
An Advent Spiral is also such an easy ritual to set up--all you need to do is gather greenery from nature, and if you invite guests, ask them to bring their own candles! We laid out our Spiral indoors, with evergreen sprigs, tree logs, and apples for candle holders. Space and weather permitting, you could also make an Advent Spiral outside! Walking the spiral on their own on a chilly winter night, candle in hand, can be a very exciting and adventurous experience for young children! You don't have to restrict yourself to leaves or branches either--I've seen some beautiful spirals made by arranging stones on a snow-covered ground. You could even stay indoors with a spiral made of playsilks, if you're not feeling too excited about laying evergreen all over your living room floor!
I'd love to see which traditions your family is honoring these first few days of December! As always, please share in the comments or on Instagram with #sarahssilks