Advent Sticks and Strings - a natural, non-commercial advent tradition.
You might like to open the parcel at a set time every day, perhaps with a ritual or song leading up to the opening of the parcel.
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, so in 2020 begin opening your advent stick/string parcels on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH.
Your stick/string consists of 25 parcels (one each day from November 29 until December 24). You begin opening them from the red end and move systematically to the purple end. Make sure you are opening them in order as it is easy to skip one, especially on the strings. They should be laid out facing opposite directions in order so if you opened a parcel on the left hand side one day the next day’s parcel should be on the right hand side.
Some of your treasures are very fragile so don’t let your children feel them to try to guess what is inside the parcel. It is best to hang your advent stick/string somewhere where your children can see but not touch it. It is important that an adult removes the parcel from the stick/string then passes it to the child whose turn it is to open the parcel. DO NOT LET THE CHILDREN REMOVE THE PARCEL FROM THE STICK. Whether you cut or tear the parcel from the stick, please be careful not to break the surprise inside. Some surprises may inadvertently have been tied under the string that holds the parcel to the stick. If this happens you must very carefully remove it. DO NOT CUT THE STRING.
To open the parcels:
You will find that each parcel of tissue paper is tied onto the stick/string at the centre with an open end at one side and a wrapped parcel at the other side.
The idea is to remove the parcel end and leave the open end for decoration.
The golden string that ties the parcels to the stick is one continuous piece so if you cut or untie it all of your parcels will fall off. The strings (as opposed to the sticks) can be untied if you want a more dramatic indication of Christmas getting closer by removing both the parcel with the decorative end. If you choose to do this please be careful to ensure that the next knot is tight after you remove one parcel as the knots are not double knots.
To remove the parcel each day either cut or tear the parcel close to the string that holds the parcel to the stick/string.
Be careful not to damage the surprise inside as some are quite fragile.
In the first week you will find that the items you discover inside the parcels represent the earth and are made from materials we get from the earth, such as glass, metal, and clay. In the second week you will find items that represent the plant world, such as seed pods, flowers, and bark. In the third week you will discover representations of animals or items made from materials we get from animals, such as bees wax and fleece. In the final week you will find representations of humans.
Here is a list of the contents of the parcels, in case you need to do some arranging of whose turn it is to open the parcel:
Day One – Coloured Glass Stone
Day Two – Clay Bead (make it into a necklace or bracelet if you like)
Day Three – Special Stone (put it in water and rub it, turning it beautiful)
Day Four – Wishing Stone
Day Five – Metal Bell (hang it on your Christmas tree if you like)
Day Six – Pet Rock (make it a matchbox bed to sleep in)
Day Seven – Glass Marble
Day Eight – Seed Pod (do you know what tree it is from?)
Day Nine – Dried Flower (make a book mark with clear sticky tape)
Day Ten – Wooden Heart
Day Eleven – Witch’s Fingernail (or a gnome’s hat)
Day Twelve – Paper Bark
Day Thirteen – God’s Eye (made of wood and cotton)
Day Fourteen – Star of Anise (make aniseed tea if you like)
Day Fifteen – Shell
Day Sixteen – Bees Wax Candle
Day Seventeen – Bee
Day Eighteen – Origami Hopping Frog (make it jump by sliding your finger down off the back of its back)
Day Nineteen – Butterfly
Day Twenty – Coloured Feather
Day Twenty-One – Ball of Wool (ready for finger knitting or plaiting)
Day Twenty-Two – Corn Dolly
Day Twenty-Three – Fleece Lady
Day Twenty-Four – Mirror (see the person inside the mirror)
Day Twenty-Five - Pipe Cleaner Person