My friend Daniela, whose baby girl was born four days after Rafael, invited me over to her farmhouse for a get together to make advent wreaths. She lives with her husband and daughter in an old farmhouse at the end of a dirt road outside of town. It's so rural that no snow plows go out there, and her husband has to clear the way with a tractor when it snows.
Us women gathered around a huge old table, our babies and children piled on the couch and crawling on the floor, while the men headed out to cut evergreen branches, rose hips, and berries.
Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, you light one candle. An additional candle is lit during each subsequent week until, by the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are lit.
That familiar spicy fragrance of cut evergreens filled the room when the men carried in arm loads of branches; the smell of the Christmas season.
We chatted, wound branches with wire around straw rings, breastfed our babies, played with toddlers, ate cookies, drank tea, and decorated our wreaths with nuts, berries, pine cones and candles.
Certainly, one of the most wonderful parts of holidays are the preparations!
Rafael napped and then played with some other babies (meaning he lay next to them and sucked on his hand). He was so peaceful and content. I can't help but feel very proud of him every time I look at his sweet face.
I chose to use the classic colors of the holiday: red, white, and green, with some browns mixed in for a touch of rustic country charm.
I love how it turned out and hope Daniela will hold this gathering again next year. There's just something about a group of women, sharing conversation and using their hands to make things together, that feels very right to me.