Advent is fast approaching and it is a big deal here in Germany. I’ve written about it before in relation to food. But decor-wise, too, there is a difference between Advent and Christmas. I love that. A Christmas tree up before the 15th December is, to me, up much too early. Christmas decorations should be put up very shortly before Christmas or they lose their charm.
Advent decoration is different. It is more about counting down and setting the tone, lighting a candle and enoying a little bit of peace. In most German households you’ll find an Advent wreath, something I only knew from churches in Ireland before moving here, and Advent calendars. Both the calendars and the four candles, one for each of the Sundays of Advent, are often little works of art, lovingly homemade with attention to detail.
Here’s a selection of some of my favourite variations on the Advent wreath. I make a differnet one every year, but usually decide at the last minute what kind of style I want. On the Saturday evening before the first Sunday of Advent you can usually find me pottering away at the kitchen table with candles, ribbons, jars, pine cones and whatever else comes to hand, creating a display for the coffee table.
This year though, there is one element to my Advent decor that I have already decided on – a vintage window shutter. Isn’t it gorgeous? OK, so imagine it without the cobwebs, dead leaves, ivy and the thick layer of dust. It certainly has potential. Regular readers will know that there are few activities I love more than salvaging furniture. When I saw four of these shutters left out for the bin men last week, I couldn’t just leave them there. Heavy though they were, I lugged two into the boot of the car and took them home.
Number Three and I had a quick go at cleaning them off and they are in pretty good condition considering they have spent their lives outdoors. The paint is quite flaky in places, but that just adds to the shabby chic look. No need to sand or blister anything. No need to get the chalk paint and wax out. This pair are true vintage and I love them.
My mind has been brimming over with ideas for how to use them. Initially I was thinking about using them in the garden. The more I looked at the shutters, the more I had visions of them with holly and fairy lights. A bit of a browse on Pinterest settled my mind to the idea of using one the shutters as the basis for my Advent decoration. You can view my pins here:
I am so excited about the next few days – finishing cleaning one shutter and finding a suitable spot for it. Then, depending on where I like the look of it best, choosing the look to go for. I am leaning towards something sleek, perhaps green with silver or glass. And candles of course. Four of them.