Preparing for Winter Festivals

Winter candles on a grey background

It’s Winter Festival time!

At least it is right around the corner. Though life seems to speed up this time of year, it also transitions into a magical phase of gathering and giving.


The First Festival is Advent which starts Sunday Nov. 29 this year (2015)
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or
the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. When Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it is the last, or fourth Sunday of Advent.

We make our Advent Wreath fresh each year out of evergreen boughs, rosemary and an
assortment of other berries, leaves and herbs found throughout our yard. We add the recommended items each Sunday as we light a new candle. I like to read from Reg Down’s book “Festivals of the Stones”. There is a story that goes along with each week and the simple, sweet characters are favorites in my house.

The first light of Advent is the light of stones

The light that shines in crystals in seashells and in bones

The second light of Advent is the light of plants

Green plants that reach up to the light and in the breezes dance

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts

That shines in all creatures in greatest and in least

The fourth light of Advent is the human light

The light of hope and of thought, to know and do what’s right

One of my favorite festivals of the year is Winter Solstice. We create a winter spiral out of extra tree branches and trimmings in our yard.This in itself is such a mindful experience as we think about the previous year and where we will be next year. My girls love to do this! We use a large tree stump and place a candle on it in the center. Everyone gets an apple with a candle in it to light off the center candle.

The spiral of evergreens is a reminder of the earth’s life, prevalent even in the cold of winter.
We spiral inward, seeking the birth of light in the surrounding darkness, and we spiral outward,
carrying our light into the world.

We end our festivities with a dinner by candlelight and no lights can be turned on until
the littles are in bed. (Their favorite part!)

After, I sit enjoying the candles in a meditative way. It is truly reverent.

Waldorf teacher Anne Cleveland recorded an excellent workshop called “Winter Festivals”.

“Winter Festivals” includes a 65 minute audio and guidebook filled with crafts, songs & ideas.

The guidebook has a step-by-step tutorial with picture on how to make these
sweet fleece angels.

To read last year’s post and get an Audio Snippet of Anne’s
talk on Winter Festivals, click here:

Love and Blessings,


P.S. Need a homeschool check-up? Click here for info.


  1. Waldorf Connection Blog says

    Hi Holly,

    I don’t know of any special traditions, but in the book Festivals, Family and Food there are
    a few pages of sings and games that can be done. I think it is however you want to
    ring in the new year for your family.