No joke, y’all, I started seeing houses with their Christmas lights up just after Halloween. Is it any wonder that there will be Christmas trees lying on the curb by Christmas night, tossed out by people who have celebrated themselves out before the guest of honor even arrived?
But the reality is, that’s the world we live in, and being all sanctimonious about it (IT’s NOT EVEN ADVENT YET!!) isn’t going to help. We could shut ourselves away from the world and refuse to participate, but that’s not much fun, is it? The Christmas concerts and television specials, the tree lightings, the pageants and parades–they will all be over after Christmas Day.
So how to reconcile what the world teaches with what the Church teaches? How do we keep Advent when the world says it’s already Christmas? (And how do we celebrate Christmas when the world says it’s over? Perhaps I will post on that at the proper time!)
Our family participates in many treasured Christmas traditions in the community, even though they start in November. We can’t control how the rest of the world celebrates. But we can control HOW and WHAT our family celebrates this time of year. Here’s what we do:
- We remove the harvest/fall decorations, and leave the mantel bare except for candles.
- We wait much longer than everyone else to decorate for Christmas, putting up most of our decorations ten days or so before and the tree only a few days before.
- We play special Advent music.
- We attend our parish’s annual Advent Workshop.
- With varying degrees of success from year to year we have an Advent wreath, a Jesse Tree, and Advent Calendars.
If you are just getting started with the idea of keeping Advent, start small. Pick one activity and make sure you do it every day. Kicking yourself for not doing a better job of celebrating Advent is probably not productive. Last year was a rough one for me in this area, so I am resolving now to be more intentional about Advent this year, even as we continue to take part in the early Christmas revelry around us.
I love Advent, and have written a lot of posts on the topic. In addition to those I linked above, check out the links below for more:
This post is part of the the Siena Sisters Monthly Blog Hop. This month’s theme is Keeping Advent, Advent. You can read the rest of the entries here.
The more I read about what other families are doing, the more I’m considering adding a Jesse Tree to our meager list of “Keeping Advent, Advent” this year. It might be nice to allow my son to decorate “his” tree, and then we as the adults can take longer to decorate the rest of the house.
We have a little “Advent tree”–not a Jesse Tree, but similar to an Advent calendar in that you add an ornament to it each day (if you remember, of course!).
Yes! That may have given me my initial thought… thank you!!
I love Advent, and am looking forward to getting out our Advent wreath! When I was a girl, sometimes we didn’t even put up the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve.
We did that once, but it was NOT on purpose! (And then the tree FELL DOWN and we all stood around it and cried.) That’s cutting it just a bit too close for my stress levels!
Ha, yes, I agree! We usually put up our own tree a couple of weeks before Christmas now!