How to Decorate Altars

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Decorating an altar can mean different things to different people. It can mean decorating your church altar for Christmas, Easter or just everyday. It can mean setting up an altar in your home for private devotion. There are only a few rules regarding church altars. There are no rules for home altars except for making it a place where you feel comfortable and are able to use it for the purpose that you intended.

Ask the priest or minister what they want. For a church altar, normally a linen covering is used much in the way a tablecloth is used at home. The priest or minister will be able to give you guidance. Traditionally, nothing is on the altar itself save for the linen covering. This is sacred space and is thus reserved. Around the base of the altar, flowers are often placed, as are large candlesticks.

Set up a table in a quiet location. For setting up a home altar, choose a quiet place in your home. Set up a table or bench. You may wish to cover it with a linen cloth. Make certain that the table you choose is large enough to hold everything you wish to place on it, but not so large that guests wonder if you have started your own church.

Place objects of importance and adoration on your altar. You may wish to place flowers on your altar at various times. Perhaps a few candles. Most people start simply with a cross or crucifix. Perhaps a few small statues of favorite saints would be appreciated. It's important that you place on this altar what works for you and what makes you feel closer to God.

Add prayer books and devotionals. Of course you will probably want to have a Bible on your altar, but consider a favorite prayer book or devotional book. Often, people keep a prayer list handy so that they can refer to it when necessary.

Alexandra Romanov is a writer in southern Illinois. Her articles appear online and in print media, including "Spirit Seeker" magazine and "USA Today." A professional writer for more than 15 years, Romanov frequently covers technology, gadgets and computer-related issues. Her degrees include an M.A. in journalism.