This post is late in coming, but not too late for Holy Week. (Or next year...)
My mother is the Queen of Seasonal Decor. I have many fond memories of helping her decorate the house over and over, each season, each year. Years ago, on a quest for appropriate, simple, somber Lenten decorations, she made a lovely Lenten Wreath.
A quick Google search for "Lent Wreath" or "Lenten Wreath" brings up some Advent-like rings. Advent and Lent are two very different seasons. While there is a strong and beautiful connection between the two, I firmly believe they should be celebrated very differently. -I'd love to start a discussion if any of you differ in opinion or would like to add to that.
With a little more digging, you'll find this wreath made by Michelle at Dei Gratia.
It's an excellent project for children. There is a lot of meaning and symbolism in the wreath's elements - great for teaching children about the Passion.
I also asked my mother to share some pictures of her wreath, but she declined claiming that the wreath wasn't that great and is currently too old and beat-up. (I don't really believe any of that. I think she's just being shy.)
I gathered together a grape vine wreath, some wheat, black and purple ribbon, a bunch of faux-grapes, and florist wire:
I started by wrapping the ribbon. The ribbon-wrapped wreath (say that three times) is nice enough to stand alone - and if you're looking for something "for the exterior doors of the church to attract some interest without too much merriment," as Cathy wrote, this could work. Or you can continue on...
I briefly soaked the wheat because it was very brittle. Once it was supple enough I bent the stalks in a few places intending to curve the wheat along the shape of the wreath.
As you can see I abandoned that idea. Instead I cut the stalks shorter than they came:
There you have it: suitable for church, home or school. Not overly decorated or garish, but still something. ...and not quite as good as my mother's. But you get the point. Please send us pictures of your Lenten Wreaths!
Of course shape and color the grapevine wreath recalls the crown of thorns, as well as Christ's vine imagery in the Gospel of John. The wheat and grapes point to the Eucharist, the Passion and Sacrifice of Our Lord.
What suggestions do you have for Lenten decorations?
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does He prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in Me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without Me you can do nothing. - John 15:1-5