Live Materials Only
Creating an advent wreath that will last through five worship services over several weeks can be a challenge. Typically, the wreath materials beyond the altar rail must be only live greenery and flowers or dried, live material. Advent wreaths can be purchased with an oasis ring for foliage, but they are expensive and the ring is often small and dries out quickly. Here is a solution for an advent wreath that can go the distance.
Use an artificial wreath with fairly long greenery stem wire and fits the display pedestal or table. Use cleaned and prepared pine cones along the base of the wreath, wrapping the wire greenery stems around each cone to secure it to the wreath. If the stems are wrapped tightly, they will not be visible under the scales of each cone. The wreath in the picture has three tiers of cones that hang over the brass pedestal, and the top tier rises above the oasis to hide it from view. Bend any remaining stems at the top of the wreath flat to form a platform for oasis. The artificial wreath acts as the structural base and attachments for the oasis and live plant material.
I used black plastic bag pieces to line the platform before adding the oasis, to keep any additional water from leaking through the wreath onto the ground. The advent wreath will need to be refreshed with water every five to seven days to keep the greenery alive. Even so, you will probably need to remove some spent foliage and add a few fresh stems every two weeks.
Pull two of the wreath stems up from the platform area at equal intervals along the top of the wreath, and use them to tie down and secure, wet oasis blocks. Oasis is heavy when it is wet. The wreath in the photo used blocks sliced in half around the rim. Half-blocks are more substantial than purchased advent wreath oasis rings. Full blocks would require a very sturdy wreath pedestal! The wire stems can be joined and twisted around the oasis. Any wire stem excess will be hidden by the foliage.
If you don’t have a special pedestal or table to hold the candles, you can secure candle-holders to the structure with spare wire stems from the artificial wreath. An advent wreath typically has a single, white candle in the center, taller than the other four. The other four candles can be blue or purple. Many churches use a pink candle for the third Sunday in advent. Keeping the candle upright, secure, and plumb is important for maintaining the beauty of the wreath.
By having a substantial amount of wet oasis around the top, maintaining the wreath over several weeks is quick and trouble-free. Once built, it’s easy to add bows, greenery, and even fresh flowers to the wreath structure. The oasis along the top ring allows you to edit or change the greenery each week during waterings, for additional interest. It’s important to use only healthy, fresh greenery. Grooming each floral stem and maintaining live foliage in an advent wreath is a way to respect the symbolism behind the season.