Here’s an easy Waldorf-inspired DIY advent spiral that only takes minutes to put together on a table, shelf or mantle.
Make an advent spiral calendar with stones to count down to the winter solstice, Christmas, 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–without the need for small gifts or sugary treats–this homemade 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. It’s lovely to taste the sweetness of life found in chocolate, but this advent calendar gifts children (and adults) the opportunity to see the sweetness that resides within the light of their hearts. Alternatively, you can make a stone advent calendar with a homemade popsicle stick Nativity Stable to countdown to Christmas in 2021.
What is an Advent Spiral?
Advent spirals are an integral part of winter solstice festivals across the globe. The word advent means “arrival” or “coming.” As we go into the deepest of the long dark days of winter, an advent spiral can create a way to prepare for the return of the sunlight. And, thus creates space to “spiral within” to honor the light within each of us–a reflection of the universe itself.
It is a ritual that honors the light’s return and symbolizes the light that burns brightly within us, even during the darkest days of the year. As such, the advent spiral defines our path as we spiral inward and back out to find our spirit’s inner light. And this makes this simple Waldorf-inspired stone advent spiral a simple, fun, and festive way to celebrate the “return of the light.”
Related: Waldorf Window Stars
What is A Winter Advent Spiral Walk?
An advent spiral walk is a spiral-shaped labyrinth with a lit candle that is walked “caring light” into its center–and out again. A simple tradition to honor nature’s seasonal rhythms and the light within. As mentioned above, they are often a part of winter festivals on or near the winter solstice.
Advent spirals are usually made with natural materials, such as stones, that symbolize the abundance of life on this planet. Evergreen boughs, apples, and other items from nature’s bounty are arranged in a spiral to create a spiraling path to be walked 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. When 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
Because health mandates continue to shift, and some advent spiral festivals are canceled, 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 backyard or living room. 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 can 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 in nature, and you can find it reflected everywhere. In shells, flowers, pinecones, galaxies, and even human fingertips!
Related: Fingerprint Lights Christmas Tree Cards
A Waldorf Advent Spiral can inspire children to carry their 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.
DIY Advent Spiral Craft Supplies
- Stones, rocks, pebbles, acorns, shells, flat-backed marbles, nuts, or other objects to place into a spiral around another central object. (If you start your countdown later than the first of December, count the remaining days, and collect the correct number of stones or other objects to match that number.)
- A special stone, crystal quartz geode, star-painted rock, star centerpiece, or another unique item or ornament of choice. (A homemade angel ornament or walnut with Baby Jesus would also be perfect for the center of the spiral.)
- Beeswax tealights with a reindeer candle holder, beeswax tea light candles with reusable steel candle holders, and a larger beeswax candle to light on Christmas Day.
- Fresh evergreen boughs (optional).
How to Make an Advent Spiral
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!
1. Place a stone, object, or ornament in the center to begin the spiral.
- Select a unique stone, crystal, or another object or ornament for the centerpiece of the spiral.
- We used yellow and white paint pens to paint a rock with a simple star.
- A few excellent alternatives to a rock or stone is a unique candle that remains unlit until Christmas, a handmade angel or Baby Jesus ornament, or a crystal cluster. Choose something meaningful for you and your family, and you can’t go wrong.
2. Place the number of stones REPRESENTING THE NUMBER OF DAYS LEFT TO COUNT DOWN (or other objects) in a Spiral around the central stone or object.
- Several items or objects can work to create or build an advent spiral. Stones, rocks, shells, acorns, walnuts, beans, pasta, beeswax tealight candles, and chocolate gold coins are just a few excellent choices!
- You can start the countdown any day before Christmas, winter solstice, or another holiday or date. Count the remaining days, and add the number of stones needed to countdown to that date. (For example, if you start your countdown on December 1 and are counting down to Christmas, you will need 24 stones and one unique center stone or object.)
- Once you have selected the perfect stone, star, crystal, or another unique object or ornament for the spiral’s center, place the remaining stones or objects around it in a spiral shape.
3. Add evergreen trimmings and other seasonal decorations (optional).
- Place natural objects, evergreen boughs, wooden angel ornaments, reindeer candleholders (as a symbol of the deer mother), or other symbols of light 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 is that this Christmas advent calendar is easy to make and 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 or another holiday or date. Please remember that these are merely suggestions, feel free to do it your way.
- Take away one stone just before or after sunset on December 1 or any day after that. (If you begin later than December first, add the correct number of stones to start.)
- Place a beeswax tealight candle (feel free to put it in a reindeer candle holder) in the space where the stone or rock was, and light the candle in its place. A beeswax candle is a symbol that light and love are eternally present. (Or, you can take the stone away without lighting a candle, and instead, light one candle on the night of the winter solstice or Christmas Day, depending on what holiday you are counting down to.)
- Remove another rock or stone, and light a beeswax candle each night until the final stone or piece remains on Christmas Day (or another winter holiday). As mentioned above, 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 on the winter solstice or Christmas Day.
Countdown to Christmas 2022
Celebrate the sun’s rebirth with this simple DIY stone advent spiral calendar. Countdown to Christmas or use it to count down to the winter solstice or another holiday. You can even make one to make it easy to count down to a birthday or another special event, such as a wedding or a weaning date. Alternatively, you can make a stone advent calendar with popsicle sticks and a Nativity Stable.
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. So, 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!
For more Christmas ideas, pop over to look at this list of Christmas Traditions and Fun Things to do on Christmas Day. Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE.
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