Advent is the four weeks before Christmas when Christians anticipate the birth of Jesus. In an Advent wreath there are four or five candles on a horizontal wreath, one being lit each week until Christmas where the fifth one is lit on Christmas Eve after sunset. Purple is the color of Advent symbolizing royalty and penitence to welcome the king. The third candle changed to pink to represent joy and put less emphasize on penitence. The white one is always in the middle and represents Jesus. Traditionally, before Christianity, the wreath was evergreen branches tied into a wreath symbolizing life in mid winter. Lutherans adopted the practice in Germany during the 16th century and in the 19th century it became the modern Advent wreath to count the days until Christmas. Today there are many styles of Advent wreaths which are not evergreens or even plants. There are metal, glass and a ceramic Advent wreath that can be used year after year.
There is a ceramic Advent wreath that is a circular shallow well where water can be put for added leaves and flowers to make a beautiful fresh wreath every week. There are holders for four or five candles. Another ceramic design is a bridge with the nativity figures on it and place for the four Advent candles. There are porcelain nativity figures that fit together to make an Advent wreath. The figures are white with gold accents.
A ceramic Advent wreath has the advantage of being fire resistant. There is no chance of accidentally burning the pine boughs if a child wants to help light the four candles. There are other wreaths that are fire resistant including pewter Celtic designs and fire-proof artificial flowers but the ceramic wreaths are much more intricate and fun and make great heirlooms to be brought out every December and handed down for generations. There is a large selection online, each different and special.
Some of these intricate designs are various nativity scenes, some look like natural people and some like carved Italian marble. They are especially made to attract children and illustrate the nativity. There is even one with children of the world in a ring around the candles. A ceramic Advent wreath combines the best of the Christmas ritual and decoration. There even Advent wreaths for children that light electrically, so no fire is needed.
Another ceramic Advent wreath is glazed and comes in four pieces which form a circle. The tallest part is five inches and is an angel with a trumpet. There are shepherds with a donkey, Jesus, Mary and Joseph as well as the three wise men. There is also a beautiful porcelain wreath with Mary holding the baby Jesus and Joseph standing near in the center and the candles are lit on a ring around them. It is also white with gold highlights and detailed faces. Children use clay and make bowls as presents for their parents at Christmas. You could give your child the idea to make an Advent wreath out of clay with small cups for the candles. This would truly be a treasure to keep forever.