This Waldorf-inspired advent spiral is a simple yet lovely way to countdown to Christmas or another winter holiday.
Make an advent spiral calendar with stones to countdown to Christmas, the winter solstice, or another winter holiday. Advent calendars provide a way for everyone to celebrate the rebirth of the light, regardless of religious beliefs and traditions. If you are looking for a simple countdown calendar filled with symbolism and meaning but without the need for small gifts or sugary treats, this homemade Waldorf-inspired spiral advent calendar made of stones offers the perfect solution.
A countdown calendar like this offers a nature-based way to celebrate the season and welcome back the light. Unlike most Christmas countdown calendars, the rewards of this advent calendar are intrinsic. Although it’s nice to taste the sweetness of life found in chocolate, this advent calendar gifts children with the opportunity to find the sweetness that resides within the light of their own hearts. Alternatively, you can make a stone advent calendar with a homemade popsicle stick Nativity Stable to countdown to Christmas in 2020.
What is an Advent Spiral?
An advent spiral provides a lovely way to pay homage to the light and is an important part of winter solstice festivals worldwide. It is a ritual that honors the light’s return and a symbol of the light that burns brightly within each one of us, even during the darkest days of the year. As such, the advent spiral defines the path that we must take as we spiral inward and back out again to find the spirit’s inner light.
Related: Waldorf Window Stars
Winter Advent Spiral Walk
An Advent spiral walk is a spiral labyrinth with a lit candle in the center. It is often included as a part of winter festivals on, or near, the winter solstice. It is a worldwide tradition that honors the natures seasonal rhythms and the light within.
Because the advent spiral reflects nature’s cycles, it is usually made with natural materials that symbolize the abundance of life on this planet. Evergreen boughs, apples, and other items from nature’s bounty are placed to create a spiral path that can be walked through in the same way that one would walk a labyrinth.
At a Waldorf advent spiral walk, each child or adult takes a turn walking into the spiral with an unlit candle in an inwardly peaceful and contemplative state. Once the spiral center is reached, the child lights their candle with the candle in the center and walks slowly back out of the spiral.
The journey each child takes through the spiral also represents an inner journey to find his or her own “light” within. In the very center of ourselves, we discover our own beauty, strength, insight, and gifts that we offer the world. We then turn from this discovery within and carry our gifts of radiance back out into the world.Syringa Mountain School
Unfortunately, COVID has put an end to many advent spiral festivals, so we wanted to offer another way to spiral inwards to celebrate the return of the light. We created this simple advent spiral with stones to make it possible to honor this sacred tradition in a slightly different way.
Another option is to create an advent spiral walk in your own backyard or living room. Head over to Rooted Childhood to learn some of her wonderful suggestions. Or, scroll down to learn how to make an advent spiral out of stones or other natural materials to use as a winter solstice or Christmas countdown calendar.
Waldorf Advent Spiral Meaning
The Waldorf spiral advent festival is designed to help children and families celebrate the light that comes from within as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer until the longest night of the year is reached on the Winter Solstice.
A spiral is a symbol used to represent nature, the cycles of the seasons, life, rebirth, and the spirit’s inward and outward breath. It is one of the many natural patterns that exist in nature. The spiral can be found in shells, flowers, pinecones, galaxies, and even human fingertips!
A Waldorf Advent Spiral is thus designed to inspire children to carry the light into the darkness. As the nights grow longer, this Waldorf-inspired advent spiral made of stones can help families bring light into the darkest days of the year as they countdown to Christmas or the winter solstice.
Stone Advent Spiral Supplies
- Stones, rocks, pebbles, or any of the other suggestions listed in Step 2 of “How to Make an Advent Spiral” below.
- 1 special stone, raw crystal quartz, star painted rock, star centerpiece, or another item of choice. (Or, make a Baby Jesus in a walnut shell for the center of the spiral.)
- Beeswax tea light candles with reuseable steel candle holders and a larger beeswax candle to light on Christmas Day
- Fresh evergreen boughs (optional)
How to Make an Advent Spiral with Stones
Follow the simple step-by-step instructions below to learn how to make an advent spiral with stones or other items. This advent calendar makes a great Christmas countdown calendar. Use it to countdown to Christmas, or any other winter holiday!
Step 1 – Place a star stone or another special object or ornament in the center to begin the spiral.
Select a special object for the centerpiece of the spiral. We used yellow and white paint pens to paint a rock with a simple star on it. A special candle that remains unlit until Christmas, a handmade Baby Jesus Ornament, or a raw crystal are also excellent options. Choose something that is meaningful for you and your family and you can’t go wrong.
Step 2 – Place 24 stones (or other objects) in the Shape of a Spiral around the central star stone or ornament.
Once you have selected the perfect stone or another object for the spiral’s center, place the remaining 24 stones around it in a spiral shape. You can start the spiral any number of days before Christmas. Starting your countdown later than the first of December? Count the number of days that remain, and add the correct number of stones.
Several other items can also work to create or build an advent spiral. Shells, acorns, beans, pasta, beeswax tea light candles, and chocolate gold coins are a few other options that make excellent choices!
Step 3 – Add evergreen trimmings and other seasonal decorations.
Place natural objects, evergreen boughs, wooden angel ornaments, and other light symbols around the stone advent spiral to decorate it.
How to use an Advent Spiral as a Countdown Calendar
Making an advent spiral with stones is so simple, I can’t think of a single excuse not to make one. As mentioned in Step 2, many other items also work great. The best news of all is that a Christmas advent calendar this easy can be made in minutes. It can be used any number of days before Christmas that you like.
Once your advent spiral is complete, follow these step by step instructions to countdown to Christmas. Please remember that these are merely suggestions, feel free to do it your own way.
- At or after sunset on December 1, 2020, take away one stone. (If you begin later than the first, add the correct number of stones to start.)
- Place a beeswax candle in the space where the stone or rock was, and light a candle in its place. A beeswax candle is a symbol that light and love are eternally present. (Another option is to take the stone away without lighting a candle. Instead, light one special candle on the night of the winter solstice, or Christmas, depending on what you are counting down to.)
- Remove another rock or stone, and light a beeswax candle each night until the final piece remains on Christmas Day (or another winter holiday). There are two primary ways to do this. Either remove a stone and light one candle each night or light the same number of candles as rocks that have been removed to create a spiral of light.
- Light a final candle to celebrate the rebirth of the sun on Christmas Day.
Countdown to Christmas 2020
Follow these simple instructions to countdown to Christmas in 2020 with your own stone advent spiral calendar. Or, use it to count down to the winter solstice or another holiday. Alternatively, you can make a stone advent calendar with a homemade popsicle stick Nativity Stable to countdown to Christmas in 2020.
We will be adding a few more pictures to this post as we move through Advent to share how it continues to look bathed in candlelight as the spiral grows smaller and the nights darker. Please bookmark this page and come back to see how it looks with a candle burning brightly behind the final stone, or check our Instagram Page!